Caroline Dickinson's murderer lodges new appeal

1st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

RENNES, France, July 1 (AFP) - A Spanish drifter convicted of the rape and murder of a British schoolgirl in France nine years ago has lodged a new appeal after losing a bid to reduce a 30-year prison sentence against him, his lawyer said on Friday.

RENNES, France, July 1 (AFP) - A Spanish drifter convicted of the rape and murder of a British schoolgirl in France nine years ago has lodged a new appeal after losing a bid to reduce a 30-year prison sentence against him, his lawyer said on Friday.

Francisco Arce Montes, 55, wants France's highest appeals court, the Cour de Cassation, to review his case following the verdict on Tuesday by a lower appeals court maintaining the conviction and prison sentence against him for the July 1996 killing of Caroline Dickinson.

Arce Montes has admitted to sexually assaulting 13-year-old Dickinson, who was staying in a youth hostel on a school trip to Brittany, but maintains that his smothering her to death was an accident and not deliberate.

"At my age (a long term in jail) is a death sentence.... I want to be cured," he said as he apologised in court to Dickinson's parents just before the last verdict was handed down on Tuesday.

"I want an ordinary life like you. Don't sentence me to destruction," he pleaded.

The Cour de Cassation has to rule whether it will accept the case or reject it on the basis of whether the law was correctly applied in the Spaniard's trial and first appeal.

In France, anyone convicted of a crime has the right to an appeal, which takes the form of a re-trial with a new judge and jury.

Dickinson's father, John Dickinson, expressed anger after the last appeal, saying: "It has seemed as if the offender's rights have overshadowed those of the victims.... It may be that the automatic right to appeal which Montes exercised is something that should be reviewed."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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