Father hopes photofit will trap girl's killer

A PHOTOFIT picture of a man suspected of killing Caroline Dickinson, the teenager who was raped in a French hostel, was released yesterday in Brittany - 19 months after the murder.

Caroline's father, John, who has been highly critical of the police operation, said that he believed that his daughter's killer was still in the area.

Caroline, 13, was raped and murdered in a tiny shared hostel dormitory in Pleine Fougeres, Brittany, while on a trip with Launceston Community College from Cornwall.

The photo image was compiled with the help of some of Caroline's fellow pupils when French detectives visited Launceston earlier this month. The pupils and a teacher are believed to have spotted a man acting suspiciously around the French hostel.

Mr Dickinson, 41, from Bodmin, Cornwall, made his eighth trip to France to attend the police news conference, where the photofit was released.

He said he believed Caroline's killer was "still in the region and keeping low, because until now no one has known what he looked like, and he has felt able to relax himself".

"But he is going to be found out soon because people will recognise this photofit, I am very, very confident about it," Mr Dickinson added.

The photofit was "the sort of face that I am sure will have stuck in people's minds, even though he may have changed his looks from that time", he said.

Mr Dickinson made a personal appeal to the French public for information, and asked them to look "long and hard" at the photofit and come forward if they recognised the man. He dismissed "negative comments" that there was little chance of finding the culprit - even with a photofit.

"That is not my personal feeling. I think it is a very important new development, and I am sure people will have their memories jogged and come forward," he said.

"It could have been anybody's daughter," said Mr Dickinson, who felt the net was "drawing in" in the search for the killer.

The photofit will be distributed to police stations, petrol stations and post offices across France.

Earlier this week it emerged that the cotton wool gag used to smother Caroline came from another hostel 25 miles away - where another British schoolgirl from Salford, Greater Manchester,was attacked earlier that night in July 1996.

But the vital link was only made when the investigation was last year handed over to Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke, who replaced Gerard Zaug, the original investigating magistrate, after criticism from the Dickinson family.

The "intimate knowledge" of the two hostels and possible earlier intrusions at other hostels pointed to someone from the Brittany area being the culprit, said Mr Dickinson.

He claimed that the cotton wool was one factor linking the two attacks and the previous failure to establish that showed Mr Zaug to be "incompetent".

Meanwhile, Mr Dickenson's MP, Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat for North Cornwall, renewed a plea to the Foreign Office for both the British and the French authorities to learn the lessons of the murder.

Both he and the Dickinson family urged the need for Europe-wide standard security arrangements in all hostels for young people, and pointed out weaknesses in the translation arrangements, and the extra difficulties caused by the different police and judicial systems.

Delays, an information blackout, "casual incompetence and a cavalier attitude were the hallmark of the initial investigation," said Mr Tyler.

"Evidence which should have been pursued vigorously in the first 18 days has remained unchecked for 18 months," he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine