Francis Heaulme (born February 25, 1959 at
Metz) is a French serial killer dubbed the "Criminal Backpacker." He
has Klinefelter's syndrome (a supplemental X chromosome).
Heaulme's father brutalized him until the age of 17.
He became an alcoholic and attempted suicide. However, he had a good
relationship with his younger sister and held a boundless adoration of
his mother, who died of cancer when he was 23 years old.
At the age of 20, he suddenly picked up a passion for
cycling. Eight years later, he left home to travel erratically around
France on foot, by hitchhiking, and via train (often without a ticket),
staying in Emmaüs shelters, psychiatric institutions, and detoxification
centers. He occasionally found odd jobs as a mason or metal worker, and
spent his meager earnings on drinking, sometimes mixing alcohol and
As he suffers from Klinefelter's syndrome, Heaulme is
not capable of committing sexual assaults. However, in at least two
instances he was accompanied by other men (one a distant cousin), who
violated the victim themselves while Heaulme killed them. He confessed
the murders to medical personnel who did not reveal the information
because false confession are often given to them in France, or because
of medical confidentiality. In many police stations, he did in fact
recount false assaults.
He was arrested on January 7, 1992 at Bischwiller.
The law enforcement agencies (police and gendarmerie) had great
difficulty proving their cases because the acts were done without
apparent reason or motive by a person who was highly mobile, and had
alibis due to negligence. The shortcomings and poor coordination of the
police organizations were also contributing factors.
Despite the lack of support from his superiors,
gendarme Jean-François Abgrall quickly understood the basic rule about
who he is responsible for tracking down: "It's when you ask him nothing
that he says the most."
Francis Heaulme recounted murder scenes with
incredible precision. For example, he showed officers how to kill a
sentry by having a firm grip on the back of his head with one hand and
stabbing him in the carotid artery with the other, draw, and then
retract. According to Abgrall, "He doesn't lie. He never makes anything
up. But he deliberately covers his tracks by mixing the crimes, dates
The cases in which he is suspected, accused or convicted are many.
There are reportedly dozens in 87 departments in France. Among them:
The murder of 8-year-old Jorris Viville in Port-Grimaud. There is
no doubt that Heaulme had an accomplice (the body had been moved more
than 20 kilometres by car, which Heaulme is incapable of because he
suffers from Klinefelter's syndrom). When confronted with five
possible suspects at the trial, he successively indicated each as his
accomplice, before declaring he didn't want to be a "scapegoat." He
alone was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The murder of 44-year-old Aline Peres in Brest, for which he
sentenced to 20 years in prison. The crime occurred on a public beach
in broad daylight, surrounded by people who saw nothing. This murder
put gendarme Abgrall, then assigned to the Brigade de Recherche in
Rennes, on his trail. It was this murder for which he was arrested
four years later in Bischwiller.
The murder of a retired legionnaire from Courtezon, in Vaucluse,
for which he received a dismissal. Although Heaulme had confessed to
Abgrall, his presence at the crime scene was never proven. Moreover,
his confession seemed completely fanciful, in the light of findings
made by the police on the crime scene.
The murder of Laurence Guillaume, a 14-year-old girl, around Metz,
for which he was sentenced to life in prison. For this murder, Heaulme
was accompanied by the cousin of the victim, whom he had met less than
an hour earlier at the fair in Metz. His accomplice was convicted of
rape and complicity in the murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The murder of Laurent Bureau, a young military conscript, for
which he was acquitted by the Assize Court of Dordogne. During the
murder, Heaulme was accompanied by Didier Gentil, who at the time of
the trial was already sentenced to life in prison for the rape and
murder of a young girl named Celine in Motte-du-Cairo in 1989. The
court, unable to determine which of the two murderers had actually
killed Laurent Bureau, acquitted them both.
The Sept. 29, 1986, murder of two children, Cyril Beining and
Alexander Beckrich, found dead along the railroad tracks in Montigny-lès-Metz.
A man named Patrick Dils was convicted of the crime, and served 15
years in prison before being exonerated in 2002.
In May 1997, for several murders, the Assize Court
of Var sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 22
On 16 December 2004, he was sentenced to an
additional thirty years in prison with no chance of parole for 20
years for three murders committed in the region of the Marne in 1988
Chief Warrant Officer Gendarmerie, Jean-François
Abgrall, the Research Section of the gendarmerie in Rennes, is the
specialist for cases in which Francis Heaulme was convicted, accused or
suspect. He arrested Heaulme on January 7, 1992 at Bischwiller in Alsace.
Behind the face of a madman hides a manipulative and
calculating mind. His morbid game consists of releasing bits of
information to police to make it clear that he had "hit a snag", a term
he uses to describe his murders. This occurred in each new case, and is
evident throughout the course of his dialogs.
According to one of his successive string of lawyers,
Gonzalez de Pierre Gaspard, Heaulme is not to be confronted with an
authority, whether a policeman, a police officer or a judge, because he
feels like they can make him say whatever they want.
Jean-François Abgrall wrote Inside the Mind of a
Killer, published by Profile Books Ltd, in which he recounts, step-by-step,
his investigation of Heaulme, the so-called "Criminal Backpacker."
The television channel TF1 introduced in March 2005
a television drama with Thierry Frémont in the role of Heaulme and
Bernard Giraudeau in the role of policeman Abgrall.
The channel aired a 90-minute documentary titled "The
Bloody Road - On the Trail of Francis Heaulme," on November 13, 2005.
The documentary was produced by Doc en Stock, and directed by Laurent
Guerin and Franck Doors, and retraced his route step by step.
A 70 minute BBC documentary in which Jean-François
Abgrall recounted his investigation of Heaulme, titled "Dance with a
Serial Killer", was aired on BBC 1 24 February 2008.
Francis Heaulme was born on February 25, 1959 in Metz.
It grew in the "radiant city" of the Corbusier district in Briey. He has
a sister, Christine, 6 years her junior, they are very close. His/her
mother, Nicole Houillon, meet at 18 years her father, Marcel Heaulme, an
Marcel Heaulme is rejected by the Houillon family, which calls it the "boche"
because of her Germanic accent. His/her father thinks only of the money,
the women, alcohol, the horse-races and the play. Nicole Heaulme is
regularly beaten, as the remainder of the family, but especially
Francis, until the 17 years age. The father of Francis Heaulme generally
lowers his son that it can it, by treating it of "Bastard", of "insane",
of "delayed" (because of its silhouette, Francis heaulme suffers from
the syndrome of Klinefeter, this genetic anomaly implies a sex of
reduced size, a sexuality deadened near to the impotence and tendency to
femininity, it will learn it only into 1994.).
His/her father, regularly, locks up it in the cellar, suspended with a
hook, the wrists blocked by wire, because it did not bring back its
alcohol bottle to him. Its schooling is a true failure. Already very
young person it gashes the arms, the legs and the chest with pieces of
broken bottle. His/her sister reports that he said "Instead of making
evil with somebody, I prefer to have evil with me...". What does not
prevent it from burying alive animals. At 20 years, Nicole, her sister,
the registered voter in a club of bicycle touring, it is the thunderbolt
and the bicycle becomes its passion. In 1982, the cancer of his/her
mother is declared. October 16, 1984, his/her mother dies, Francis is
killed by sorrow (it adored his mother).
The same day of the death of his/her mother, "small Grégory" disappears,
Francis Heaulme greedily collects all the articles of press reporting
the death of the little boy. At the time of the burial of his mother, it
is necessary to tear off Francis of the coffin of his mother. It said
later "I lay down on his coffin in the hole. I wanted to leave with it...
". A little later it tries several times to commit suicide, its family (especially
her father) said "it makes her circus". His/her father finds a new
partner and his/her sister flees the family Heaulme, it Marie.
Given up Francis, share in hitch-hiking through France, it crosses more
than 37 departments. It becomes alcoholic. Fabulator, it goes in
gendarmeries for imaginary aggressions and crimes. The psychiatric
internments follow one another, of the doctors diagnoses it "psychopathe".
In 1991, in Alsace, it meets Georgette, 5 years her elder, and lives
with her. She succeeds in making it detoxicate itself. But... Its
murders: Francis Heaulme was put in examination or simply suspecté in
more than 20 homicides. In here are some: - on September 5, 1984;
Lyonnelle Gineste, 17 years, apprentie pâtissière. Is killed by Francis
Heaulme and its accomplice Jose Molins.
The body of Lyonnelle Gineste is found naked in the forest of Puvenelle.
It was strangled and cut the throat of. Heaulme is condemned on November
28, 1999 to 30 years of criminal reclusion and Jose Molins (denounced by
Francis Heaulme in 1996), is condemned to him to 10 years of criminal
reclusion for complicity of murder. - on May 8, 1986; Laurent Office, 19
years, called quota in permission. Return from the weekend spent in his/her
parents. It goes to the gymnasium of Bertrand de Born Perigueux, where
it wanted to attend a sporting competition (which was cancelled). It
crosses there 5 or 6 marginal drinking. In the medium of the violent
disputes, there is Francis Heaulme and Didier Gentil (assassin and
rapist of the small Celine Jourdan).
Didier Gentil challenges Laurent Bureau for a history of debt (it knows
itself within the framework of the army) a violent argument takes place
between them two, of only one Laurent blow finds floor and receives
blows of the marginal ones. Nice and Heaulme take along of Laurent force
in the gymnasium, they attach the hands in the back to him. They oblige
it to make fellatios, while striking it. It is violated, strangled and
they crash to pieces to him cranium with blow of extinguisher. Francis
Heaulme is accused in December 1992 and Didier Gentil on April 1, 1997 (it
will be discharged fault of evidence...) - On May 7, 1991; Francis
Heaulme makes the knowledge of Michel Guillaume, 19 years, and of his/her
cousin Laurence Guillaume, 14 years.
After a rock festival, Heaulme and Michel follow Laurence (who is in
auto-cycle) with the car of Michel. They reverse it, put it in the car
and meadows of the small village of Rugy take along it. Whereas Michel
Guillaume strips Laurence, with the intention to rape his/her cousin,
Francis Heaulme the "spade" with the neck with its opinel to hold it in
respect. The following day a little boy of Rugy, discovers the body of
Laurence Guillaume stripped. Francis Heaulme is condemned in September
1995 to the criminal reclusion to perpetuity, together with 18 years of
safety Well of other victims are to be regretted; Georgette Manesse and
Ghislaine Ponsard, Jean Rémy, Jean-Baptist Clement, Joris Viville, Aline
Peres, Sylvie Rossi, Annick Maurice... excuse me if it misses some,
write to me to cure it.
Is Francis Heaulme a mental patient? According to justice, not. It is
said psychotic, but its plays of track with the famous gendarme Jean-François
Abgrall are complex. As well as the handling of its accomplices.