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Australian woman's murderer loses appeal against 30-year sentence

Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

A Frenchman of Brazilian origin on Thursday lost his appeal against a 30-year prison sentence for the murder of an Australian woman near Paris on New Year’s Eve12 years ago. Adriano Araujo Da Silva, 37, was found guilty in January last year of the murder of 28-year-old Jeannette O'Keefe.

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O-Keefe’s body was found rolled up in a sleeping bag in a parking lot in Les Mureaux, outside Paris, on 2 January 2001, three days after a series of events left her alone and without a bed for the night on New Year's Eve.

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She had been hit over the head and strangled.

Although he had twice confessed to the murder, Araujo Da Silva insisted that he was innocent during the appeal, claiming that police pressure had persuaded him to admit to the crime.

O’Keefe’s two sisters and two brothers were in court for the appeal.

"We feel sick to the stomach to have to go through this again but we do it for Jeanette," her sister Denise, 43, told the AFP news agency. "Even after he killed my sister, he still has lied. I think he'll make up any story that he thinks will get him out of jail."

Araujo Da Silva has five days to decide whether to take his appeal to a higher court.

He was arrested eight years after the crime after his DNA was identified as the same as traces found under O’Keefe’s fingernails, when his genetic profile was entered into a database following and arrest for petty theft.

When he confessed Araujo Da Silva said he met the victim on the Champs Elysées on New Year’s Eve, took her home and had sex with her, knocking her unconscious and then strangling her when she refused to have sex with him a second time and threatened to call the police.

An autopsy found she had been struck by at least 13 blows before being strangled to death.

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