Patrice Alègre (born June 20, 1968, in Toulouse) is a French serial killer who was sentenced to life imprisonment on February 21, 2002, with a minimum term of 22 years for five murders, attempted murder and six rapes. He subsequently obtained dismissal in four cases on July 3, 2008.
The Alègre case, properly asking, began in May 2003, after the reopening of several cold cases by the gendarmes of Homicide Cell 31 (the cell was ordered to investigate for possible victims of Alègre from 2000 to 2003 by Michel Roussel).
Patrice Alègre was born on June 20, 1968, in Toulouse to father Roland Alègre, a police officer (he became a part of the CRS when Patrice was six years old), who was often violent and described as violent, and mother Michelle, a hairdresser who often cheated on her husband, sometimes right in front of Patrice's eyes. He grew up in Saint-Geniès-Bellevue as an unwanted child, his mother being 17 at the time of his birth, unlike his brother who was born seven years later. His parents were always in perpetual conflict, with Patrice disgusted with his father, but idolized and adored his mother, despite sometimes being beaten by her. He had a difficult schooling and was dismissed from three secondary schools, before enrolling in the field of general mechanics. He was then entrusted to his grandmother for 14 years in the Izards district of Toulouse.
In this neighbourhood, he left school after the fourth grade and fell into delinquency, theft and drug trafficking, finding himself on the street at the age of 13. He would later tell his psychiatrists that he had been sexually assaulted at the time. His father repeatedly tried to erase his offenses. Patrice committed his first sexual assault at age 16.
Employed as a barman in the police station cafeteria, then at the buffet of the Gare de Toulouse-Matabiau, he found his prey in the station's district. His first victim, Valerie Tariote, a waitress in the same cafe, was murdered on February 21, 1989. This "urban predator" appraised and seduced women, but when they did not give him attention, he violated, strangled and undressed them, leaving them only their socks on.
In January 1988 he met Cécile Chambert, an official of bourgeois origin, with whom he had a daughter named Anaïs, born on July 23, 1989. For seven years, they lived in a heated relationship that were alike the scandals Patrice's parents had. Despite his relatively stability of his love life, he was increasingly immersed in crime. On February 16, 1995, after a new marriage dispute, Patrice "broke everything in the room" and "threw the girl against the wall". Cécile got the police involved and they left the apartament. Patrice then moved to his mistress Sylvie Prouilhac, manager of the discothèque Planète Rock in Toulouse, where he was hired as a bouncer, but was soon let off for causing fights that scared away customers.
On June 14, 1997, during a mechoui held in Foix, het met Mireille Normand, a 35-year-old woman living alone in a chalet in Verdun. Calling himself Franck, he offered her his services as a handyman in exchange for lodging. On June 19, he killed her. Three weeks later, Mireille's brother, Alain, worried due to not hearing anything from her in a long time, went to the cottage, discovering that it was ransacked. The search undertaken by the gendarmes allowed to find the body of Mireille buried in the garden. The autopsy showed that she had been strangled and raped. Patrice was soon identified by witnesses as the handyman of the cottage. From then on, the hunt for the serial killer began: he went on holidays in Spain, Germany and Belgium, before returning to Paris where he was accommodated by Isabelle Chicherie, a SNCF employee with whom he sympathized during his holiday in Spain. He raped, strangled and burned her body on September 4, 1997. The gendarmes then wiretapped Alègre's relatives, and convinced one of his friends to collaborate with the investigators, telling Patrice to meet at a drop-off point in Châtenay-Malabry, where he was arrested on September 5, 1997. His arrest remained relatively unnoticed since Princess Diana had died a few days earlier.
Chronology of the Alègre case
- September 5, 1997: Arrest of Patrice Alègre, suspected of murder between February 1989 and September 1997. He admitted to five murders, one attempted murder and six rapes, but was also indicted for four other murders..
- February 21, 2002: Patrice Alègre is sentenced to life imprisonment with a twenty-year lock-in period. Psychiatrists Michel Dubec and Daniel Zagury evoked the hypothesis of "displaced matricide" to explain Alègre's murders, whom they described as "an organized serial killer", "a psychopath", "a narcissistic pervert" having undergone disorganization traumas related to "maternal sexual abuse".
- The Homicide Cell 31 of the gendarmes, created in June 2000 to carry out investigations, sought after other possible victims of Alègre on request from the prosecutor. One such case, concerning the 1992 Toulouse murder of the prostitute Line Galbardi, leading them to two former Toulouse prostitutes who knew about the disappearance: Christèle 'Patricia' Bourre and Florence 'Fanny' Khelifi.
- On April 1, 2003, the daily La Dépêche du Midi launched a press campaign, revealing statements from the two women and putting pressure on the justice for the showing more judicial information. Paris newspapers followed suit and the rumour swell, fed mainly by two local journalists.
- On April 15, 2003, the Toulouse prosecutor opened a judicial investigation against Alègre and others guilty of procuring organized gangs, rapes, aggravated rapes, accompanied by acts of torture and barbarism, committed by people abusing the authority that conferred their function, following the statements of former prostitutes Fanny and Patricia.
- On May 12, 2003, the weekly Marianne presented the result of their investigations, in particular recent "revelations" made by one of the prostitutes. It involved police officers and a gendarme from Toulouse who "were aware of their actions and the corruption, but also organized parties in the presence of at least two Toulouse lawyers and other notables..", with the name of the Toulouse mayor even being quoted.
- On May 18, 2003, the former mayor of Toulouse, Dominique Baudis, today president of the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel, gave the maximum repercussions to the TF1 TV channel for quoting his name in the investigation and denounced a "frightening machination", which he said would be related to the "pornographic industry".
- On May 19, 2003, Baudis charged his lawyer with defamation.
- On May 22, 2003, two prostitutes confirmed their remarks before the judges and another, under the pseudonym "Djamel", said that there have been "dead".
- On May 27, 2003, Jean Volff, Attorney General of Toulouse, announced that his name was also cited in the case. He was replaced the following day.
- The same day, a new judicial investigation was opened against Djamel, Fanny and Patricia for denunciation of crimes and imaginary misdemeanors, false testimonies and complicity. Djamel was placed in custody, with Baudis, Volff and Marc Bourragué becoming civil parties in the case.
- On June 13, 2003, Baudis accused the head of La Dépêche du Midi, Jean-Michel Baylet, for plotting against him.
- On June 30, 2003, on the day of his installation in the court of cassation, Volff protested in Le Figaro against the way he was treated by Dominique Perben, Minister of Justice and media.
- On September 17, 2003, former prostitute Fanny retracted her rape charges made against Dominique Baudis.
- On September 20, 2003, Djamel was found dead in a room of a Toulouse clinic.
- On July 11, 2005, the investigating chamber of the Court of Appeals of Toulouse discussed the component of "rapes and organized pimping gangs" in which Baudis and others were implicated in.
- In December 2005, 32-year-old Fanny was indicted for slanderous denunciation against Baudis and Bourragué.
- In September 2006, Patricia was indicted for slanderous denunciation against Baudis.
- In 2006, Emillia Espès, the only survivor of Alègre's attacks, died.
- On March 27, 2008, the prosecution announced that the ex-prostitutes would be tried in correctional for "slanderous denunciation" towards Baudis and Volff. After returning to their statements they were found guilty and respectively sentenced to two and three years in prison, which were suspended by the Toulouse Criminal Court on March 26, 2009.
- On July 3, 2008, the investigating judges of Toulouse district, Serge Lemoine and Fabrice Rives, made an order of dismissal concerning three homicides and rape with a weapon connected with Patrice Alègre.
The Alègre affair is considered to be politically butchered. The murders were initially declared suicides before Alègre's arrest. Several witnesses claimed that the killer was protected for a long time by police officers and high magistrate Pierre Roche. Former gendarme Roussel noted that there were 191 unsolved murders in the region. The organization Stop to Forget brought together the victims' families, who continue to demand the truth from the case, referring to these disappearances as "camoflauged as suicides and covered by truncated, distorted and sloppy investigations".
Patrice Alègre was only able to be arrested thanks to the complaint of Emillie Espès, who fled after being raped by him on February 22, 1997, when she was 21 years old. The young woman, who was the only surviving victim of Alègre, has since committed suicide.