Court hears appeal by killer of British schoolgirl

21st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-BRIEUC, France, June 21 (AFP) - A French court on Tuesday began hearing an appeal by a Spanish man against his conviction for killing British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson nine years ago.

SAINT-BRIEUC, France, June 21 (AFP) - A French court on Tuesday began hearing an appeal by a Spanish man against his conviction for killing British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson nine years ago.

Francisco Arce Montes was sentenced to 30 years in prison last June for the rape and murder of the 13-year-old, who was found dead in July 1996 in the dormitory of a youth hostel in the western region of Brittany.

Appearing before the appeals court in the Brittany town of Saint-Brieuc, the 55 year-old from Asturias in northern Spain repeated his claim that the murder was accidental.

"I did not mean to kill Caroline Dickinson. I am going to speak because I know it is hard for the Dickinson family," he said.

Dickinson's parents and sister were in court.

At last year's trial Arce Montes was found to have smothered Caroline to death with a cotton pad as he sexually assaulted her on the floor of the room she was sharing with four schoolfriends in the village of Pleine-Fougeres.

His decision to appeal was made against the advice of his original legal team who warned that it could lead to a longer sentence. The prosecution asked for life in jail.

A verdict is due on June 29.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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