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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Caroline killer's appeal rejected
Francisco Arce Montes
Francisco Arce Montes: Further appeal would fail say lawyers
A French court of appeal has upheld the 30-year sentence imposed on Francisco Arce Montes for the rape and murder of Caroline Dickinson.

Montes, 55, was sentenced last June for the attack on the Cornish schoolgirl at a Brittany youth hostel in July 1996.

The Spanish drifter admitted he suffocated the 13-year-old while raping her, but claimed at the retrial that he did not intend to murder her.

After a week of evidence, the St Brieuc jury took an hour to reach its verdict.

Dickinson family
Montes' exploitation of the French judicial system... has required us again to suffer the pain of listening and thus reliving the events of 18 July 1996
John Dickinson

Caroline's father John spoke outside the court of the "pain of reliving the events" for his family and the friends of Caroline's who gave further evidence at the retrial of Montes.

He said: "We hope our search for justice for Caroline is at last complete and that she can be allowed to rest in peace.

"We did not want to be here, but Montes' exploitation of the French judicial system and our determination to seek justice for Caroline has required us again to suffer the pain of listening and thus reliving the events of 18 July 1996."

He called Montes an "evil man" who had no grounds for appeal.

Caroline Dickinson
Caroline Dickinson: Family hope search for justice is complete
"It seems that the offender's rights have overshadowed those of the victims," he said.

Montes technically has the right to appeal again on procedural irregularities, but the Dickinsons' lawyer Herve Rouzad Le Boeuf said a request to the French Supreme Court would fail.

He said: "After nine years this is the end of the matter and rightly so because it has been too long for the Dickinson family."

Before the verdict Montes, from Gijon, apologised in court once more to Caroline's parents, John and Sue, and her sister Jenny, 20, who have attended the hearing at the Court d'Assises in St Brieuc every day.

I am sorry and I regret my actions but I didn't intend to kill your daughter
Francisco Arce Montes
Standing in the dock, he turned to the family sitting just yards away and said: "What I did was awful. It was horrendous. I cannot be pardoned.

"I am sorry and I regret my actions but I didn't intend to kill your daughter."

Caroline, from Launceston, was killed during a school trip.

His defence team say Montes needs long-term treatment from a psychiatrist.

At the end of the week-long appeal hearing, the prosecutor recommended that Montes serve at least 25 years.

In last June's trial Montes, who has a long string of convictions for sexual offences, was given 30 years in jail for smothering the 13-year-old to death.

The judge said he should serve at least 20 years.

Montes insisted on appealing despite warnings from his legal team that it could lead to an even longer sentence.

John Dickinson gives his reaction to the decision

Parents' long fight for justice
28 Jun 05 |  Europe
Timeline: Dickinson inquiry
28 Jun 05 |  Europe
Caroline's killer is 'deranged'
24 Jun 05 |  Cornwall
Witness 'heard Caroline call mum'
23 Jun 05 |  Cornwall
Family hears of Caroline's death
22 Jun 05 |  Cornwall
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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