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Jaycee couple 'confess to kidnap'

A couple charged with kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and holding her captive for 18 years have made full confessions, a defence lawyer said.

The revelation came as prosecutors and defence lawyers opened negotiations on a possible plea deal that would avert the need for a trial.

Stephen Tapson, who represents defendant Nancy Garrido, told reporters outside the court in Placerville that he was there when she and her husband Phillip were reinterviewed by detectives during the past month.

They acknowledged snatching Jaycee Dugard from a South Lake Tahoe street then answered dozens of questions about the years they spent with her and her two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido, Mr Tapson said.

"Essentially they confessed to kidnapping and told where all the bodies are buried," he said, characterising the disclosures as "full confessions".

Nancy Garrido, 55, denies 18 felony counts that include false imprisonment, rape and child pornography. Her husband had been due to enter a plea on Monday, but his lawyer, deputy public defender Susan Gellman, asked to postpone the arraignment until March 17.

Mr Tapson said the defendants had not worked out a plea deal, but prosecutors have proposed sentencing Phillip Garrido to 440 years in prison and his wife to more than 241 years.

The lawyer said Ms Dugard was present during one of Nancy Garrido's interviews, apparently the first time the women had been face-to-face since the couple were arrested in 2009.

Officers believe Ms Dugard was kept in a concealed area behind Garrido's house in Antioch, California, near San Francisco, for 18 years.

Garrido, who had a long history of abuse towards women, received a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation in 1976 in which he was diagnosed as a "sexual deviant and chronic drug abuser".

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