The widow of a French serial killer who sought out virgins to rape and murder will face trial from Tuesday over her role in three murders dating back several decades, including the killing of a British woman whose body was found in a river in 1990.

Monique Olivier was married to Michel Fourniret, who was charged with abduction, rape and murder in the cases but died in 2021, aged 79, before he could be brought to trial.

The crimes date back to 1988 in the case of Marie-Angele Domece, who disappeared aged 18 from Auxerre, and 1990 for 20-year-old British woman Joanna Parrish, whose naked body was found in the Yonne river that runs through the department of the same name in central France.

Olivier is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and murder of the girls.

Her third charge is for complicity in the 2003 disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin, whose body has never been found two decades on, despite intensive searches.

The body of Domece has also never been found.

All of Fourniret's victims - most of whom were raped - were shot, strangled or stabbed to death, the BBC reported. Most were killed in the Ardennes region of northern France and in Belgium.

Many of the witnesses set to be called in the three-week trial are investigators from France and Belgium, where Fourniret was arrested in 2003.

They are also set to include Sabine Kheris, the investigating magistrate who took Fourniret's confession.

She is now in charge of a recently created cold cases unit based in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. This case is the first of the unit's to come to trial.