Police look at new lead in Caroline murder

AN ANONYMOUS tip-off has given French police a new lead in the investigation of the murder in 1996 of the 13-year-old British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson. Judicial sources said they had received a letter last week saying that a man resembling the police sketch of the killer had worked on a building site close to the Breton youth hostel where Caroline was raped and smothered.

The region's daily newspaper, Ouest France, said yesterday that the information came from another building worker, who said that he recalled the man behaving suspiciously at the time.

He and his colleagues had considered approaching police soon after Caroline died during a school trip to the small town of Pleine Fougeres, near St Malo, in July 1996. They decided against coming forward at the time, but the suspicions of at least one of the builders were re-ignited when he saw the sketch of a man suspected of committing the crime.

Caroline's father, John Dickinson, travelled to France last night to discuss the new development in the case with the examining magistrate leading the inquiry, Renaud Van Ruymbeke. Before leaving Britain, Mr Dickinson, said: "I can confirm that the person they are looking for is somebody who was seen in Pleine Fougeres, near the youth hostel, who may or may not have been working on a building site or road improvement scheme at the time of the murder."

The 10 gendarmerie officers still working on the case were said to be taking the anonymous tip-off "very seriously." They were checking with a number of building companies who were carrying out work in the town at that time to try to match the artist's sketch with the name of an employee or former employee

Caroline was attacked while she slept in a dormitory with four other schoolgirls during a trip with the Launceston Community College in Cornwall.

The investigation, frequently criticised in the British press, has involved the pursuit of several false leads over the past three years. A drifter aged 39, who was arrested soon after the murder, and confessed under gendarmerie questioning, was cleared by DNA evidence. And the local magistrate in charge of the case was removed in response to complaints by the Caroline's family and the press.

Genetic tests were also carried out on all adult male inhabitants of Pleine Fougeres and all men on the school trip - 2,000 people in all. No matches were found.

A dozen people resembling the police image of the killer - assembled from witness accounts of a man seen near the scene - have been interviewed and cleared by DNA tests.

The police image is of a thick-set, white man in his early 30s, with a broad nose, black hair and prominent eyebrows and sideburns.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence