Caroline's killer is granted a retrial

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The Independent Online

The killer of the Cornish schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson, who was raped and murdered in France nearly eight years ago, has lodged an appeal against his conviction.

The killer of the Cornish schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson, who was raped and murdered in France nearly eight years ago, has lodged an appeal against his conviction.

The Spanish waiter Francisco Arce Montes, 54, was jailed for 30 years at a court in Rennes, Brittany, last week for murdering the 13-year-old. He attacked her in July 1996, as she slept between classmates from Launceston community college, Cornwall, on the floor of a youth hostel dormitory in Pleine Fougères, Brittany .

Her mother Sue, 46, from Launceston, and her 48-year-old father John, from Bodmin, Cornwall, said they were angry but added: "Our commitment to ensure justice for Caroline remains steadfast and we intend to be present at any retrial when and wherever that may be." The French justice system allows everyone an automatic right to appeal. The retrial will probably be in eight to 12 months, police said, and involve 12 jurors and three judges. It is not yet known if witnesses will have to attend.

The Dickinson family's MP, Paul Tyler said: "This is a cruel and irrational decision, adding extra agony to the already eight-year terrible experience of Caroline's family and friends. It seems that the legal defence team for Montes may refuse to act for him because they clearly realise that the result could be an increase in the sentence."

He was "dismayed" that it may take as much as eight months to arrange a retrial.