Like Golden State Killer, France's Le Grele Turns Out to Be Ex-Cop, Exposed by DNA

A notorious French serial killer who haunted the streets of Paris in the 1980s and '90s admitted to a series of rapes and murders before committing suicide this week—and it was revealed that a number of his crimes were conducted while he was serving as a military police officer.

François Vérove, also known as Le Grêlé ("the pockmarked man") is said to have used his police identity card and handcuffs to abduct and restrain his victims, according to Sky News. His tactic has since drawn comparisons to Joseph DeAngelo—dubbed the Golden State Killer—a former police officer who was behind serial rapes and murders across California in the 1970s and 1980s.

On Wednesday, Vérove, 59, confessed to his crimes in a note before he died by suicide. Prior to his death, he was one of 750 gendarmes—a French paramilitary police officer—who had been called in for questioning last month after authorities suspected the killer worked in the security service.

After his body was found, Vérove's DNA was linked to samples taken from several crime scenes. The 59-year-old has since been accused of numerous counts of rape, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping between 1986 and 1994.

French Police, "Le Grele" Killer
A former French military police officer was revealed to be a notorious serial killer in Paris in the 1980s and 90s. Here, French gendarmes and police officers listen to a speech at the police academy of Roubaix in northern France, on September 14, 2021. LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

One of the most infamous cases linked to Vérove is the rape and murder of 11-year-old Cecile Bloch, who disappeared after she left her Paris apartment building in May 1986. Bloch's body was later found in the basement of the building, and it was determined that she had been raped, strangled, and stabbed in the chest.

Vérove's nickname "the pockmarked man" came after Bloch's brother remembered seeing a man with an acne-scarred face in their apartment building on the day of the crime.

Vérove was deemed responsible for the murders of 38-year-old Gilles Politi and his 21-year-old au pair, Irmgard Mueller, both of whom were tortured. In rapes committed against a 26-year-old German woman and two girls, aged 14 and 11, Vérove reportedly identified himself as a police officer as a method to lure in his victims.

"We had this conviction that he was either an officer or a gendarme, both from the violence he used against his victims and the tactics he adopted," the lawyer representing the victims said, according to the BBC.

Like Vérove, a number of rapes and murders committed by DeAngelo in California were reported while he was still an active police officer. DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 for his crimes, decades after they took place. He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder two years later and is considered responsible for nearly 50 rapes.

More recently, a cop-turned-killer case shook the U.K. after a London police officer was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering a woman. On Thursday, 48-year-old Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Sarah Everard, whom he lured into his car for a false arrest as she walked home from visiting a friend in south London on March 3.

The most recent case sparked public outcry across the U.K. and raised questions as to whether or not police officers are properly vetted for their jobs.