French court to hear Dickinson murder appeal

20th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

RENNES, France, June 19 (AFP) - Francisco Arce Montes, a 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 a French court on Tuesday.

RENNES, France, June 19 (AFP) - Francisco Arce Montes, a 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 a French court on Tuesday.  

The appeal comes a year after Arce Montes, a 55-year-old drifter with a long history of sexual misconduct, was found guilty of smothering the 13-year-old to death as he sexually assaulted her in a Brittany youth hostel in July 1996.  

A verdict is expected June 29.  

The Spaniard lodged his appeal independently of the legal team that defended him in his trial, and has a court-appointed lawyer to represent him.  

Following standard practice, the state prosecution responded by filing its own appeal to demand a tougher sentence.  

Under the trial sentencing, Arce Montes was ordered to serve at least 20 years in prison before being offered the chance of parole.  

His challenge to that term has angered Dickinson's parents, who have said that their hopes of rebuilding their lives were being put on hold pending the appeal's outcome. They have said they will be present for the appeal.  

The assault and murder of Dickinson was one of France's most notorious recent criminal 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 asexual assault in a hostel in Miami. By chance a US 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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