BRUSSELS (AFP) - Several Belgian teenagers have written to convicted paedophile and child-killer Marc Dutroux, seeking to become pen pals with the country's most notorious prisoner, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
Dutroux was jailed for life in 2004 for the kidnap and rape of six young and teenage girls - four of whom died - between June 1995 and August 1996.
He routinely gets large volumes of mail, ranging from insults to marriage proposals to stuffed animals to money, but has recently begun receiving a new kind of letter from intrigued teens, reported Le Soir.
"Hello, I'm a 15-year-old girl. I live in La Roche-en-Ardenne. You have always fascinated me. You're a famous person. When I see your handsome photos, I can't help but believe you are honest," wrote one whose letter was confiscated by prison officials.
"Would you like to correspond with me? If you want, I can send my picture," she added.
Dutroux's case traumatised Belgium in 1996, but the teens now sending him letters were not born then.
"In an immature adolescent's eyes he looks like a victim of the system," child psychiatrist Jean-Yves Hayez told the Belgian daily.
"They are rubbing shoulders with the forbidden, with danger, likening their behaviour to that of adults. They aren't aware of the risk they're running."
Dutroux, who is seeking parole but is almost certain to be rejected, has continued to make news from prison. In January, he sent a letter to the father of one of his victims repeating his statements that his former wife and accomplices were largely responsible for his crimes.
Dutroux's ex-wife Michelle Martin was convicted of helping him hold the girls captive and complicity in the killing of two found starved to death in a locked cellar. She was freed on parole in 2012 after 16 years in prison.