Serial killer dies before facing trial for killing Gloucestershire woman

Watch Ken Goodwin's report

It will be exactly thirty one years on Monday since a Gloucestershire student was brutally killed in France.

Joanna Parrish, from Newnham on Severn is believed to have died at the hands of a serial killer.

But just as he was about to face trial after confessing to killing her, the 79-year-old died in prison. Her mother and father had spent years fighting for justice.

Joanna was raped and then murdered, her body dumped in a river, near Auxerre in France, where she had been studying for her languages degree.

Michel Fourniret was one of France's most notorious serial killers

Michel Fourniret, a serial killer of seven women, was the prime suspect. He had confessed to her murder while in prison.

But he died in jail before court proceedings - which were delayed by Covid and legal procedure - had even started.

Joanna was studying in France when she was killed

For Joanna's mother, Pauline Murrell, there are mixed emotions.

"Pleased, in a way, hoping that he had suffered. Which sounds horrendous but then, disappointed because there won't be any justice now so I don't know," she says, "I just keep thinking different thoughts - I don't know at the moment."

"We knew that he'd been in hospital earlier this year and it didn't surprise us really and we discussed this before," adds her father, Roger Parrish, "So although we have our own feelings about it, it was no great surprise."

Joanna's parents have fought for justice for 30 years Credit: ITV News

Fourniret's wife, who was jailed as his accomplice for other crimes, is said to have confessed she was with him when he killed Joanna.

"Clearly there won't be any trial for Fourniret now, but there will be a trial for his former wife Monique Olivier but we don't really know when that will be," says Roger, "and I think the question will be for examining magistrate to to work out what charges they will be put to her, so will obviously have to wait for that"

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