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French serial killer mystery over 35 years of former policeman’s suicide

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The man with the nickname “Le Gruelle” was wanted by the police since the 1980s (Representational)

Paris:

A former policeman suspected of being the serial killer behind some of France’s oldest unsolved cases was found dead after being arrested for 35 years, just as police were shutting down his identity.

Paris prosecutor and sources said François Verov, 59, committed suicide in his rented home in the south of France, after receiving a summons for questioning, confirming his identity with a “written statement” and DNA evidence. Died by doing

The man, nicknamed “Le Graale” (“Pockmark”), was wanted by police for the murder and rape of young girls since the 1980s, but was never caught.

Paris prosecutor Laure Becuau said in a statement late Thursday that the list of crimes allegedly committed in the 1980s and ’90s included rape, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping of minors.

“The DNA tests, ordered immediately by the investigating magistrate, established a match between the genetic profile found at several crime sites and the deceased person,” he said.

– Many murders –

A source close to the matter told AFP that Verov died by suicide in a rented apartment, except for a written confession.

In the most infamous case, he was suspected of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl named Cecil, who was found dead in the basement of the building where she lived at the 19th arrondissement of Paris.

Police believe he caught her when she came out of the building’s elevator on her way to school and dragged her into the basement.

He is believed to have strangled a couple to death in 1987 in the capital’s central Marais district.

Over the years, investigators became convinced that the suspect may have been part of the gendarmerie at the time of the crime – armed forces like the police for internal security – and established his DNA profile.

In recent months, an investigating magistrate has begun questioning about 750 lingas who were stationed in the Paris area at the time.

One of them was Verov, 59, living in the south of France, who was summoned on September 24 for questioning on September 29.

But he was reported missing by his wife on September 27 and was found dead two days later at Gru-du-Roi, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast, the Paris prosecutor said.

He was a former gendarme, who later became a police officer and then retired, he confirmed.

– ‘Took the secret with him’ –

Midi Libre newspaper said he had been living quietly in a residential area of ​​Grau-du-Roi for years.

According to local media, Verov referred to “past impulses” in a letter he left behind, which he had “brought under control”, and said he had not committed any crimes after 1997. There were no details in the confession of murder, he said.

In 1986, police published a police sketch based on witnesses’ statements showing a man of about 25 years old, six feet tall with light brown hair and acne scars on his face.

Didier Seban, a lawyer for Cecil’s family, thanked the police for their work, but also told AFP it was “saddened to learn that the criminal took his secrets with him”.

According to the Parisian newspaper, Verov is also a suspect in another murder of 19-year-old Carine Leroy near Paris in the city of Meaux in 1994.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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