The father of missing French schoolgirl Estelle Mouzin, who vanished 17 years ago near Paris, has appealed to the media not to divulge "the cruellest details" following a breakthrough in the case.
In a press release on Monday, Éric Mouzin said criminals must not be allowed to "revel" in the story of their crimes, turning the public into "voyeurs".
Fresh evidence supports claims that Michel Fourniret, France’s most notorious living serial killer, raped and murdered the nine-year-old after abducting her in the town of Guermantes.
Fourniret was jailed for life in May 2008 for the murder of seven girls and women. Then, in 2018, he was convicted of the murder of a former cellmate.
Amid renewed interest in the case, Mouzin has asked the media respect ethical standards ensuring fair and complete information, while also respecting the memory of child victims.
While acknowledging the media had played an important role in stopping Estelle’s disappearance from ending up a “closed case", Mouzin said more restraint was needed after the recent reporting of “cruel" details.
For journalists, the disappearance of Estelle Mouzin is a "hot topic", but for relatives, "it is about the murder of our child”, the press release said.
Reading the circumstances under which crimes against children were perpetrated, not only adds to the “trauma of friends and family”, but also turns the public into spectators.
Mouzin said he hoped the leaks to the press would not derail the ongoing investigation.