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French serial killer expert admits his career is based on lies — and that he made up his wife

An online investigation has exposed French author Stéphane Bourgoin, whose books about serial killers have sold millions of copies in France, as a liar.
An online investigation has exposed French author Stéphane Bourgoin, whose books about serial killers have sold millions of copies in France, as a liar. Getty Images

Turns out a famous French serial killer expert has been outed as a serial liar.

Stéphane Bourgoin, 67, has led a prestigious career and was considered one of the most knowledgeable experts on serial crime in France, the Independent says.

The true-crime book author claimed to have interviewed more than 70 killers since the 1970s, and alleged that his wife was raped and murdered by a serial killer in Los Angeles during that time.

His more than 75-book career was so revered that he was even involved in lecturing trainees at the French national judiciary police academy, CNN reports, and often toured the country to give talks on the subject.

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In January, however, an anonymous collective called 4e Oeil (4th Eye in English) accused Bourgoin of lying in a number of videos shared to Youtube. According to CNN, the videos were removed but remain live on the group’s website.

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Members of the collective told CNN that suspicions mounted when they realized certain dates didn’t match up from one book to another.

“His television interviews convinced us that he was truly making it all up,” they said.

Bourgoin has addressed the claims since he was outed, sharing his regret both on his since-deleted Instagram account and in the press.

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“I’m ashamed to have lied, to have hidden things,” he told Le Parisien earlier this week. “It is true that when I was in the public eye, I sometimes happened to embellish, to extrapolate, to exaggerate my importance because I always had the deep feeling of not really ‘being loved.'”

He also admitted, per the Guardian, that he never trained with the FBI, never interviewed Charles Manson, was never a professional soccer player and didn’t interview nearly as many killers as he claimed.

And as for his wife, she wasn’t real either.

In fact, the woman who was really killed by serial murderer Gerald Stano was named Susan Bickrest, a woman Bourgain met at a Florida bar before her death, the Guardian says.

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“It was bulls—t that I took on,” he told the French publication. “I didn’t want people to know the real identity of someone who was not my partner, but someone who I had met five or six times in Daytona Beach, and who I liked.”

Bourgain told Le Figaro that he’s in need of psychological counselling, adding that his lies were “ridiculous” and his actual work “was enough in itself.”

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca