Caroline suspect admits sex assault

The man accused of murdering Cornish schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson has admitted that he sexually assaulted her but denied he was a killer.

Spanish waiter Francisco Arce Montes told a court in Rennes, in Brittany, that he was drunk, sexually aroused and had taken pills when he broke into Dickinson's youth hostel room in Pleine-Fougeres in the early hours of July 18 1996.

Finding Caroline asleep, he lay next to her, caressed her and masturbated, keeping his hand over her mouth the whole time.

Montes told a stunned courtroom that he committed the offence after being interrupted while attempting another sexual assault earlier that day.

Speaking slowly and monotonously in Spanish, he said: "I was aroused. I wanted to do what I had done before so I placed my hand over her mouth.

"I lifted up the covers and I wanted to stroke her. Then I masturbated and after masturbating I was still aroused. I think I started stroking her again and then I left to go to Cherbourg."

Caroline's parents John and Sue and their daughter Jenny, 19, watched as Montes added: "I'd like to say I am not a murderer.

"I didn't have any intention at all of killing Caroline. I didn't want to kill her. I am incapable of killing anyone. I am not a murderer. I just wanted to make a sexual assault."

Earlier Montes told the court he had been intending to leave France on the day of Caroline's murder but had been forced to stay an extra day due to boat delays.

He said he had spent the day drinking whisky and taking pills.

Caroline's mother described the last time she spoke to her daughter. Taking the witness box, Sue Dickinson said: "She phoned to say France was great but the hostel's 'crappy'. That was the last I heard of her."

Mrs Dickinson, 46, paid tribute to her daughter, saying she was "just a normal 13-year-old girl".

Caroline was a happy, musical girl who loved school, she said.

Mrs Dickinson said she was concerned before sending Caroline on the school trip to Brittany because she was a shy girl.

"I was a bit worried because though she knew all the other girls, she didn't have a real good friend so I had asked the teacher to keep an eye on her as she was a bit shy."

Speaking in a very composed manner, Mrs Dickinson said: "Caroline was a happy child who loved music and played the clarinet. Her best friend was her sister."

Caroline had been a member of the school orchestra, a Brownie and had also taken ballet lessons, her mother said.

"She adored school, she absolutely loved it and got good school reports."

Mrs Dickinson was asked about her daughter's relationship with her father John, 45. The couple had divorced several years before Caroline's death.

She said: "We never had any problems with the children. They saw John regularly. There were never any difficulties."

Mrs Dickinson said photographs of Caroline circulating in the media made her look a lot older than she was.

"They were taken for a school fashion show," she said.

"The family were a bit shocked when they saw them.

"She was a slim girl, with long skinny legs. She was not a good eater."

John Dickinson and Caroline's sister Jenny, 19, were asked if they wanted to add anything but they declined to speak to the court at this stage.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

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
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions