Caroline Dickinson murder trial set for June

20th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

RENNES, France, April 20 (AFP) - The trial of a Spaniard accused of raping and murdering a British girl on a school trip to France nearly eight years ago will begin on June 7, French officials said Tuesday.

RENNES, France, April 20 (AFP) - The trial of a Spaniard accused of raping and murdering a British girl on a school trip to France nearly eight years ago will begin on June 7, French officials said Tuesday.

Francisco Arce Montes, 52, is accused of assaulting and suffocating 13-year-old Caroline Dickinson in her dormitory at a youth hostel in the town of Pleine-Fougeres in the northwestern region of Brittany on July 18, 1996.

His trial, which was changed from its originally scheduled start date of June 2, is expected to last at least a week because of the multiple translations required and the state of health of Montes, currently in a prison psychiatric ward near Paris.

The case has attracted extensive media attention in Britain and France, and the investigation into Dickinson's murder was criticised for appearing to make little progress for several years.

The breakthrough came when a US police officer on holiday in Europe read an account of the Dickinson case and made the connection with the March 2001 arrest in Florida of Montes, a former waiter, for allegedly breaking into a woman's bedroom and committing a lewd act.

The French authorities asked for a DNA sample. When Montes refused, French investigators analyzed samples already taken by their US counterparts, and found a match with semen taken from Dickinson's body.

US authorities agreed to drop the Miami case against him in order to facilitate his extradition in November 2001 to France to answer to the more serious crime.

The trial is take place at a court in the northwestern French city of Rennes.

Originally from Gijon in Spain's northwestern Asturias region, Montes had no fixed abode and had been criss-crossing Europe since the beginning of the 1980s.

He was also wanted by officials in Spain and Switzerland in connection with sex crimes. He has twice been sentenced in Germany; once for exhibitionism and once for attempted rape.

© AFP

                                                               Subject: French news

 

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