Frenchman on trial for murder of Australian 11 years ago

3rd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

A 36-year-old Frenchman was to go on trial Tuesday accused of the murder 11 years ago of an Australian student who was strangled and dumped in a car park outside Paris.

Jeannette O'Keefe was 28 years old on January 2, 2001, when her corpse was found rolled up in a sleeping bag -- three days after a series of events left her alone and without a bed for the night on New Year's Eve.

Brazilian-born Adriano Araujo Da Silva has denied murder, but admits he took the victim home and had an argument with her, before handing her his sleeping bag and sending her on her way.

French investigators found male DNA under the victim's finger nails, but it was eight years before they found a match, when Da Silva's genetic profile was entered into a database after he was arrested for petty theft.

A lawyer acting for O'Keefe's family described her final hours.

"On December 31 she had handed back the keys to her flat, but was not due to fly home to Australia until January 2. She was due to meet a French friend who was an hour late," Caty Richard said.

"She called an Australian friend, but he was also an hour late, so she set off on a suburban train to head to her French friend's house, and met this young man, who must have sensed her vulnerability," she said.

The hearing was due to begin at 2.00pm (1300 GMT) and the trial to last four days before a verdict on Friday.

© 2012 AFP

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