Schoolgirl's killer refuses to look at photos of body

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The Independent Online

The killer of the British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson refused to look at photographs of her body on the second day of his appeal in a French court against his murder conviction.

The killer of the British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson refused to look at photographs of her body on the second day of his appeal in a French court against his murder conviction.

Francisco Arce Montes was asked if he wished to look at the pictures taken of the 13-year-old by police after the attack at a youth hostel in Pleine Fougères, Brittany in 1996. He replied: "No, no it's horrible."

Judge Jean-Luc Buckel at La Cour d'Assises in St Brieuc rebuked Montes, 55, a former drifter from Gijon in Spain, using a French colloquialism that translates as: "So now Mr Montes you're acting like a scared virgin?"

Montes's lawyer, Patrick Elghozi, said: "That's not funny." The judge replied: "I'm not trying to be funny."

Montes was jailed for 30 years last June at a court in Rennes for the rape and murder of Caroline. She had been on a school trip with 40 pupils from Launceston Community College in Cornwall. Her family returned to Brittany this week for Montes's appeal. He admits that he caused her death but denies that he had meant to kill her.

Montes was accused of being a liar by Judge Buckel after he claimed he had bought cotton used to smother Caroline in London, where he was living at the time. He had earlier told another story. Judge Buckel said: "The problem with you, Mr Montes, is to know when you are telling the truth."

Montes said: "The first time when I was in Rennes I was just coming out of a psychiatric hospital and I was unwell. Now I am better." He also blamed problems with interpreters for his changed account.

Earlier, the Dickinsons had to listen to detail of the last agonising moments of Caroline's life but it proved too much for her mother, Sue, 47, and sister, Jenny, 20, from Launceston, who removed their translation headsets. Caroline's father John, 49, sat ashen-faced as he listened.

The case continues.