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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Waiter admits Caroline's killing
Caroline Dickinson
Caroline was raped in a hostel
A Spanish waiter has admitted killing British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson in a hostel in northern France.

Francisco Arce Montes told a French appeal hearing that he had attacked Caroline but had not meant to kill her.

Caroline, 13, was on a school trip from Cornwall in 1996 when she was raped and killed in Pleine Fougeres, Brittany.

Last year Montes, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for her murder, but he appealed and the entire case is being reheard at a court in St Brieuc.

Asked by Judge Jean-Luc Buckel whether he accepted that he had raped Caroline the night she died, Montes replied "Yes".

Francisco Arce Montes
I didn't cover her mouth to kill her
Francisco Arce Montes

But he said he never had any intention of killing her and when he left her room he did not think she was dead.

Montes, who declined to give evidence at the first trial, said: "I killed her but I had no intention of killing her. It was an accident, a misfortune.

"It was the result of the rape. I didn't go into her room to kill her.

"I didn't cover her mouth to kill her."

Montes told the court he had first gone into a youth hostel at St Lunaire where he had tried to have sex with another English girl.

Thwarted in his attempt by the sound of other girls woken by the attack, he instead went to the hostel at Pleine Fougeres where the attack on Caroline took place in July 1996.

Caroline Dickinson family
Sue Dickinson with John and Jenny: "The life we had stopped"
The court heard that he had also preyed on children in youth hostels in Britain, Holland, France and Spain.

Caroline's family made a series of moving testimonies to the court.

Her mother, Sue, from Launceston, said: "The life that we had with Caroline within the family unit stopped the day she died.

"It wasn't the same and I had to rebuild a different life without her."

Caroline's father, John, told the court: "Life has stuck at the same page for nine years and I have not been able to start afresh."

Caroline's younger sister, Jenny, 20, who has never before spoken about what she went through, said she had been unable to talk to even her close friends about what had happened for about six years.

The case continues on Wednesday.

Caroline's family arrive for Montes' appeal hearing

June retrial for Caroline killer
17 Jan 05 |  Cornwall
Caroline's killer in retrial bid
23 Jun 04 |  In Depth

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