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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Family hears of Caroline's death
Caroline Dickinson
Caroline suffered a "brutal and violent" attack, the court heard
The family of schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson has had to again hear in court an account of how she was killed on the floor of a dormitory in France.

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

Francisco Arce Montes is appealing against his conviction for her murder.

Her mother, Sue, and sister, Jennny, removed headsets translating what was told to the court. Her father, John, listened to the entire testimony.

'Brutal and violent'

The Dickinsons had hoped they could begin rebuilding their lives last June after 55-year-old Spanish drifter Montes was jailed for 30 years for Caroline's murder at a court in Rennes.

But the family has had to make the journey to Brittany once more for Montes' appeal against conviction.

Under French law, every citizen has the right to appeal, which takes the form of a retrial before a new judge and jury. The entire case is being reheard at a court in St Brieuc.

Speaking on the second day of the appeal at La Cour d'Assises on Wednesday, Professor Helene Jouan, from the Faculty of Medicine in Rennes, said Caroline was raped before she was asphyxiated.

She said Caroline died within one or two minutes in a "brutal and violent" attack.

Francisco Arce Montes
Montes refused to look at photographs of Caroline's body
The details of the attack proved too much for her mother and 20-year-old sister who had to remove their translation headsets as forensic experts described what happened.

Caroline's father John, 49, from Bodmin, Cornwall, sat ashen-faced as he listened to the entire account of how his daughter was killed in a shared hostel dormitory.

Later, former waiter Montes refused to look at photographs of Caroline's dead body which were being circulated in court.

Asked by Judge Jean-Luc Buckel if he wanted to see the images, Montes replied: "Caroline? No, no, it's horrible."

He rebuked Montes by using a French colloquialism that translates as "So now you're acting like a scared virgin?" ["Vous jouez la vierge effarouche?"]

Montes' lawyer, Patrick Elghozi, said: "That's not funny."

The judge replied: "I'm not trying to be funny."

Changed story

Montes was later accused of being a liar by the judge after giving a different story of where he got a cotton wad from that was used to smother Caroline.

The 55-year-old replied that at his first trial he was just coming out of a psychiatric hospital and was unwell. He also blamed problems with interpreters for his changed account.

Caroline was on her first trip away from home with 40 students from Launceston Community College when she was killed.

Montes, who declined to give evidence at the first trial, told the court that he had attacked Caroline but had not meant to kill her and when he left her room he did not think she was dead.

The case continues.


SEE ALSO:
Waiter admits Caroline's killing
21 Jun 05 |  Cornwall
June retrial for Caroline killer
17 Jan 05 |  Cornwall
Caroline's killer in retrial bid
23 Jun 04 |  In Depth


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