A 59-year-old former French police officer used his suicide note this week to reveal his true identity as the infamous 'Grele' killer, according to local media.

The man, identified only by police with the name Francois V, overdosed on pills on Wednesday after being questioned in connection with a string of hideous rapes and murders in the '70s and '80s. One of the victims was just 11 years old.

French newspaper Le Parisien reports that he had been expected to attend a DNA test to prove the connection before he was found to have taken his own life at a seaside town near Montpellier, France.

Police are now performing tests on his body instead.

The so-called 'Grele' murderer, also known as the 'Pockmarked killer' in English, was given the name by French media from how witnesses described the distinctive marks on his face.

They were linked to some of the most shocking crimes to have hit the French capital in living memory, such as the rape and murder of Cécile Bloch, an 11-year-old girl from Fontainebleau, in 1986.

She had been reported missing by her mother Suzanne after not returning calls made to the family landline checking if she had got home safely. When she rang her school, they told Suzanne that she had not shown up for school that day

Cécile's body was found under a piece of carpet in a nearby basement.

Traces of semen found on her body confirmed to officers that she had been sexually assaulted, and DNA samples were used to connect the man to two other murders and six rapes.

Francois V. became a target of investigation when detectives uncovered new evidence that Grele was a member of the security forces who drove a white car.

In his final notes, the retired officer reportedly said he had committed the awful crimes while he was “not well in life”.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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