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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Montes: Portrait of a serial abuser
By Hugh Schofield
BBC correspondent In Rennes

Francisco Arce Montes is a psychologically troubled loner who for 25 years drifted around Europe, leaving a trail of convictions and arrests for abusing young girls.

Francisco Arce Montes
Montes travelled far and wide to find victims
His assault on Caroline Dickinson in Brittany in July 1996 conformed to a long-established pattern, in which he cased out youth hostels and similar establishments before sneaking in at night.

Evidence produced in the first trial last year - which would not have been admitted in Britain - showed that he was jailed for five years in Germany in the mid-1980s for armed rape.

He is also known to have committed other assaults in France, Spain and Holland - as well as the attack in Miami in 2001 that led to his extradition and trial.

Born in Gijon, northern Spain, in March 1950, Montes was the younger child of a middle-class couple who ran a corner grocery.

The ideal age for a woman was 11 or 12; after 20 he found them old
Eduardo Riesgo Suarez
In an interview with investigators which was read out at his trial, he said he had a miserable childhood.

"My mother hated me - unlike my father. Everyone accused me of things," he said.

Mental troubles began in his teens in the late 1960s, when he developed an obsession about hygiene, opening doors and switching on lights with a handkerchief and washing his food with mineral water.

Sex problems

At the age of 20, the first sexual problems appeared.

After exposing himself to a neighbour, he was sent to a psychiatrist who diagnosed depression and "progressive schizophrenia."

In the mid 1970s he left Spain for a rootless life across Europe, working occasionally as a waiter or driver but living mainly off money sent to him by his father.

Caroline Dickinson
Caroline Dickinson was attacked in her hostel room in Pleine-Fougeres
The only acquaintance to testify at the trial - fellow Asturian Eduardo Riesgo Suarez - said that Arce Montes "knew all the youth hostels in Europe and spent his time chasing girls .

"For him the ideal age for a woman was 11 or 12; after 20 he found them old."

Riesgo Suarez also said Montes had a ferocious temper, telling him in an argument once that he thought nothing about killing a person.

His first known sexual aggression resulted ironically in a brief relationship and the birth of a son.

In 1981 Montes broke into the room of a French girl - Christine Le Menes - at a hostel in the Netherlands.

I would rather have gone out and lived on a door-step than be with him
Arce Montes' mother
Now a teacher, Le Menes told the court that he touched her sexually against her wishes.

But later they met in Paris and had a consenting relationship, as a result of which she fell pregnant.

She left him shortly afterwards, complaining of physical violence.

In 1994 Montes was arrested after breaking into a hostel in central France where a group of Irish girls was staying; in 1996 he was caught at a hostel in Llanes, northern Spain; and in August 1997 he was arrested for an armed sex attack - again at Llanes.

Van carrying Francisco Arce Montes at court
Van carrying Francisco Arce Montes arrives at Rennes court
After the last attack he spent some months in prison, and following his release returned home to Gijon.

His mother, in a testimony read out in court, said: "I would rather have gone out and lived on a door-step than be with him. The simple act of going into his bedroom disgusted me."

At around this time, Montes' father died, leaving him money that paid for his fare to South America - far enough, he hoped, from the murder investigation that was underway in France.

In July 1996 Montes had been driving from Spain to London, where he had a job as a waiter.

He wanted to see his son, now living with Le Menes in the Brittany town of Vitre.

But Le Menes refused him access, so he took whisky and anti-depressants - and began to check out the local hostels.




SEE ALSO:
Caroline killer's appeal rejected
28 Jun 05 |  Cornwall
Parents' long fight for justice
28 Jun 05 |  Europe
Timeline: Dickinson inquiry
28 Jun 05 |  Europe


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