Caroline accused 'knew' youth hostel

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

RENNES, France, June 9 (AFP) - A Spanish drifter on trial in France for the 1996 rape and murder of a British schoolgirl must have spent time getting to know the youth hostel where the crimes took place, one of the top investigators in the case said Wednesday.

RENNES, France, June 9 (AFP) - A Spanish drifter on trial in France for the 1996 rape and murder of a British schoolgirl must have spent time getting to know the youth hostel where the crimes took place, one of the top investigators in the case said Wednesday.

"It's impossible to get to this spot without knowing it, especially at night. The hostel is not sign-posted, it's very hard to find it," former gendarme major Jean-Pierre Michel told the court in the western city of Rennes.

Francisco Arce Montes, 54, has admitted to sexually assaulting 13-year-old Caroline Dickinson but denied that he intended to kill her. "I am not a murderer. I just wanted to caress her," he told the court Tuesday.

The Spaniard, who was extradited from the United States in 2001 after being recognised by a US customs officer who had visited France on vacation, also claims he had not acted in a premeditated way the night Dickinson was attacked as she slept in a hostel dormitory.

He said he stumbled upon the youth hostel in the village of Pleine-Fougeres and did not remember how he got inside.

Michel, relying on witness accounts and on another attempted sexual assault in the region the same night also pinned on Arce Montes, said the defendant arrived at the hostel just after midnight then left for the other one nearby.

After being discovered trying to press himself on a young girl in that hostel, he fled and returned hours later to Pleine-Fougeres, Michel said.

Dickinson was found smothered to death on her mattress in the room she shared with four school-friends on their trip to northwest France. Her genitalia had suffered severe trauma, and there was semen on her thigh and on her pyjama shorts which had been removed.

Arce Montes faces life in prison if convicted of voluntary homicide accompanied by rape. His trial, which began on Monday, is expected to run to the end of the week.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article