Caroline Dickinson killer's appeal set for June

9th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

RENNES, France, Jan 6 (AFP) - Francisco Arce Montes, the Spaniard sentenced to 30 years in jail for the 1996 rape and murder of British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson, will have his appeal against conviction heard in June, his lawyer said Saturday.

RENNES, France, Jan 6 (AFP) - Francisco Arce Montes, the Spaniard sentenced to 30 years in jail for the 1996 rape and murder of British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson, will have his appeal against conviction heard in June, his lawyer said Saturday.

The retrial will begin on June 21, just over a year since he was found guilty of smothering the 13-year-old to death as he sexually assaulted her in a Brittany youth hostel in July 1966, Patrick Elghozi said.

Elghozi was appointed by the court to represent Arce Montes, whose legal team at his trial was not informed of his decision to appeal and expressed surprise at it. Following standard practice, the state prosecution responded by filing its own appeal to demand a tougher sentence.

At the trial, the state had asked for life in jail for Arce Montes, a 54-year old drifter with a long history of sexual misconduct. The court ordered that he serve at least 20 years before being offered the chance of parole.

Caroline's parents John and Sue issued a statement last year saying they were "angry and very upset to learn of the appeal that has been lodged and that our wish to begin the process of rebuilding our lives is now, again, on hold."

The verdict brought to a close one of France's most notorious murder cases.

Dogged initially by accusations of incompetence, the investigation led eventually to major innovations in the conduct of French enquiries such as the use of mass DNA tests.

Arce Montes was not detected until 2001, when he was arrested for a sexual assault in a hostel in Miami. By chance an American customs officer on holiday in London read a newspaper article on the Dickinson case which mentioned his name as one of several suspects, and DNA tests proved the link.

In the week-long trial, Arce Montes admitted the facts in the case but denied intention to kill.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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