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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
US soldier guilty of sex killing
A US soldier has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment in South Korea after killing a bar waitress who refused to have sex with him.

Christopher McCarthy, 22, beat Kim Sung-hi to death in the Itaewon shopping and entertainment district of the capital, Seoul on 19 February.


US soldiers patrol border
The US has 37,000 soldiers in Korea
He told the District Criminal Court in Seoul that he hit the 32-year-old woman because she refused to have sex with him after receiving money.

But the court was not convinced by his claims that he had not meant to kill Ms Kim.

"We find that hard to believe given your stout size and the small frame of the woman," the court said in its verdict.

Prosecutors had sought a 10-year sentence. But the court decided to pass a lighter term because McCarthy had tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on his victim after the attack.

Escape

McCarthy was first due to appear in court seven weeks ago, but he broke out of US military custody.

South Korean police captured him and handed him over to the US authorities.

McCarthy, a corporal based in Paju, Kyonggi Province, has a week to appeal to a higher court.

He will remain under US military custody until the appeals procedure is exhausted in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement between Seoul and Washington.

The US keeps 37,000 US troops in South Korea to deter attacks from the communist North.

But the McCarthy case has rekindled public opposition to the Status of Forces Agreement.

Activists have demanded a revision of the treaty to agive South Korea greater jurisdiction over US soldiers in criminal cases.

In 1995, three US servicemen based on the island of Okinawa raped a schoolgirl, seriously straining tensions between the two countries.

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See also:

16 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
US keeping troops in Korea
15 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Okinawa death strains US-Japan relations
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