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Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 16:27 GMT
French murder suspect fights extradition

Isabel Peake's body was found near a railway line

A French murder suspect arrested over the killing of British student Isabel Peake and two other train passengers has told a Portuguese appeals court hearing he will not accept voluntary extradition.

Sid Ahmed Rezala was arrested in a joint operation between French and Portuguese police in Lisbon on Tuesday.

Police want to question him over the killing of Miss Peake, the sleeper train murder of mother-of-two Corrine Caillaux in Dijon, eastern France, and the death of student Emilie Bazin in Amiens.

Rezala: Arrested in Lisbon
Mr Rezala appeared before a judge in Lisbon on Thursday as an application for his extradition was submitted.

Following his refusal to co-operate, a judge ruled that he be detained while the court considered the request from French authorities.

The process could take several weeks as the judge considers written statements submitted by both sides.

French prosecutor Christian Ponsard said on Wednesday that Mr Rezala was the last person to see Miss Peake before she was either pushed or fell from a French train while travelling home to Barlaston, Staffordshire, in October last year.

Her badly injured body was found lying near the mainline Limoges-Paris track about 75 miles north of Limoges at Chabenet.

'Precise questions'

The Birmingham University french and law undergraduate's bags and personal items were found strewn up and down the line.

Mr Ponsard, speaking at a news conference in Chateauroux in central France, said he had precise questions to ask Mr Rezala, from Marseille, southern France.

The 20-year-old man, of Algerian descent, was arrested after fleeing France amid a nationwide manhunt.

Detectives said he had been planning to leave Portugal for the Canary Islands within 24 hours.

A reconstruction of Ms Peake's final journey is to be held on Saturday.

Prime suspect

Mr Ponsard, investigating judges and French and British police will board a train from Limoges to Paris, and when it arrives at Chabenet investigators will throw a crash test dummy on to the track.

Mr Ponsard said: "Isabel's body was found partially-clothed. This test will allow us to see if this was because of the wind or because she had been attacked."

Two Staffordshire Police detectives will join Jean Dematteis and Michel Bonnieu, the two judges heading the inquiry, for the reconstruction.

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11 Jan 00 |  UK
French rail murder suspect arrested

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