Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

home

last updates

MALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
   

FEMALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Ian Kevin HUNTLEY

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "The Soham Murderer"
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: His reasons for committing the murders may never be known. The police believe that Huntley killed the girls in a jealous rage
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: August 4, 2002
Date of arrest: 13 days after
Date of birth: January 31, 1974
Victims profile: Holly Marie Wells and Jessica Aimee Chapman, both 10
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: Soham, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on December 17, 2003. On September 29, 2005, High Court Judge Mr Justice Moses, who presided over Huntley's original trial, ruled that he should spend 40 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.
 
 

 
 
photo gallery
 
 

 
 
evidence
 
 

 
 

The Disappearance of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman

On August 4, 2002, best friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both 10, posed for a picture sporting their new red Manchester United football shirts before sitting down to dinner with family and friends. It was a festive occasion and the Wells family was having a barbecue. Shortly after dinner, Holly and Jessica stepped out of the house and went to a nearby sports center to buy some candy. They were never seen alive again.

Later that evening, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells were reported missing and a police search began at around midnight. The girls' parents were frantic, not knowing what could have become of them. Jessica had a mobile phone with her when the girls left, yet the family and investigators were unable to contact her.

The search, involving the police and hundreds of volunteers lasted well into the next day and the following weeks. Pictures of the girls were circulated throughout the community in the hopes that someone had seen them. Jessica and Holly's parents held a news conference pleading for any information concerning the whereabouts of their children. Even the British Manchester United soccer star, David Beckham, whose name adorned the girls' shirts, made a televised appeal for their safe return. As time passed, the hopes of finding the girls alive dwindled.

Several witnesses who claimed to have seen the girls after they left their home came forth during the investigation. Ian Huntley, 29, a caretaker of Soham Village College, who had assisted in the search, told investigators that he had seen the girls walking by his house that he shared with his girlfriend, Maxine Carr, 29, the girls' primary school teacher assistant at around the time they left the barbecue. He was believed to have been one of the last persons to see Jessica and Holly after they had left their home.

After he admitted to seeing the girls, investigators searched Huntley's home and the college where he worked, hoping to eliminate him as a suspect. During the searches they found no evidence linking him to the crime but some investigators were still suspicious of his behavior. Throughout the investigation, Huntley seemed too emotionally involved in the case. Moreover, he was asking too many questions and gave the impression that he knew more than what he was admitting. One week later, investigators decided to search the college premises again. This time they made a significant find.

In a storage building at Soham Village College, an officer found a garbage bin with the half burned remains of Jessica and Holly's Manchester United jerseys along with their shoes. It was one of the first big breaks in the investigation. Following the find, police arrested Huntley and his girlfriend Maxine Carr on suspicion of murder. Their suspicions would be confirmed later that same day.

A Heart Wrenching Discovery

On August 17, 2002, 13 days after the girls disappeared, a game warden walking through the woods made a heart wrenching discovery. He found the girls' partially burned bodies in a six-foot-deep ditch close to the RAF Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk. Autopsy reports on the girls listed their probable cause of death as asphyxiation. The girl's parents' worst nightmare became a reality.

When the news broke of the girl's murders, the nation mourned leaving many in a state of shock and disbelief. The question that was on most people's minds was how anyone could harm two innocent girls like Jessica and Holly. Such barbarism was simply beyond comprehension.

The evidence against Huntley was escalating daily. The location of the bodies further tied him to the case because he was known to have previously gone plane spotting in the area. Moreover, the area was in close proximity to his father's house.

During a more intensive search of his house and car, forensics specialists found fibers that were eventually matched to the girls' clothes. According to a November 24, 2003 BBC News article, there was also evidence of Huntley's hairs found on Holly and Jessica's soccer jerseys, as well as fibers from his clothes and carpets from his house and car. Furthermore, investigators were able to trace the last signal from Jessica's mobile phone, which she had with her at the time of her disappearance, to a small area directly near Huntley's home, the BBC reported in a November 6, 2003 article.

Three days later, Huntley was formally charged with the murder of the girls. His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, was also arrested for assisting an offender, as well as conspiring to obstruct the course of justice. Carr provided Huntley with an alibi, suggesting to police, that at the time the girls were abducted she was alone at the house with Huntley. However, investigators learned that she was actually in another town visiting her mother at the time of the girls' abduction and murders.

Despite the emerging facts and evidence, Huntley and Carr maintained their innocence claiming they had nothing to do with the girls' deaths. None-the-less, they were jailed until the upcoming trial scheduled to take place in November 2003. If they were found guilty, the maximum sentence they could receive was life in prison.

The Murder Trial

On November 3, 2003, the trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr began at London's Old Bailey Courthouse. During the first few days, a jury of five men and seven women were selected to overhear the cases. The trial judge, Mr. Justice Moses, presided over the trial that engrossed the country and captured worldwide attention.

The prosecution's case, led by Richard Latham QC, began its opening arguments two days into the trial. Latham suggested that he would present the court with overwhelming evidence that Huntley brutally murdered the girls and tried to cover it up. He also claimed that there was evidence that Carr misled the police to protect Huntley, although it was likely that she was not directly involved in the murders. During his statement, Latham went on to retrace the girls' last moments and Huntley's movements around the time of their deaths. Near the end of the first day the prosecutor had already laid down the foundation of his case. It was hoped that the evidence would speak for itself.

Just as Latham promised, over the subsequent weeks he presented the jury with significant evidence and testimony that pointed to Huntley as the primary culprit in the murders. The jury learned that at the time Jessica's phone switched off, the last signal sent indicated that she was in the "immediate area" of Huntley's house, the BBC reported in their November article. Moreover, they were presented with phone records that proved that Carr was a hundred miles away in Grimsby visiting her mother at the time of the girls' disappearance, whereas Huntley was traced to the location in and around Soham. Thus, there was little if any chance that Carr was present when the girls were abducted and murdered.

Other significant evidence introduced by the prosecution included fingerprints on the bin liner that were matched with Huntley. Furthermore, according to the 2003 BBC News article, "The Soham Trial: Key Evidence," witnesses testified that they had seen Huntley sanitizing his red Ford Fiesta car, "thoroughly washing and vacuuming it the day after the girls disappeared." He also, "ripped out the lining of the boot and replaced it with domestic carpet and he got rid of a throw (rug) that had been covering the back seat," the article further suggested.

The same day he cleaned his car, Huntley also replaced all four tires, even though the tread was not worn down. A November 6, 2003 BBC News article suggested that Huntley offered the mechanic who performed the work 10 to record a false registration number. Along with the fiber and hair evidence, there were also traces of chalk, concrete, soil and other materials found in and beneath Huntley's car, which were forensically linked to the area where the girls' bodies were found, the BBC stated in their article "The Soham Trial: Key Evidence."

Piecing Together the Facts

Three weeks into the trial Huntley made a momentous admission. After vigorously denying he had any knowledge of the girls' whereabouts or how they died, he finally confessed that he was responsible for the girls' deaths, although he suggested they were accidental. His admission was a significant boost for the prosecution's case, even though they believed his story to be riddled with inconsistencies.

Stephen Coward QC offered a statement from Huntley who was not in court because he was supposedly ill, claiming that the girls stopped by his house to talk to Ms. Carr and during that time Holly had a nosebleed. The BBC reported in a November 25, 2003 article that Huntley led the girls to his bathroom where he purportedly tended to Holly's nosebleed in the bathtub. The article further suggested that while reaching over to wet pieces of toilette paper, Huntley accidentally knocked Holly backwards and into the bathtub, which was half full of water.

Huntley claimed that Jessica began screaming and in an effort to quiet her he put his hand over her mouth and in the process "accidentally" suffocated her. He said that he then looked at Holly in the bathtub and realized that she was also dead. Huntley further admitted to putting the girls in his car and driving them to Lakenheath, cutting off their clothes, which he later took back to Soham and burning the bodies with petrol.

That same week, Carr also made a confession. According to a November 27, 2003 BBC News article, Carr told police that, "it was her idea to claim she was in the house she shared with Mr. Huntley on the day Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman disappeared." Carr said that in an effort to protect her boyfriend, who she believed was innocent of murder, she used a "crib card" with alibi details to assist her in lying more effectively to police. Carr alleged that she lied because she wanted to prevent a 1998 "false" rape allegation against Huntley from being unearthed again. The rape allegation was dropped shortly after it was reported because police were able to establish that Huntley was in a different location from the young woman at the time the supposed assault took place.

Nevertheless, even though Huntley confessed to killing the girls, he continued to claim that Jessica and Holly's deaths were accidental. However, he did admit to one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, the BBC News reported in their December 2003 article. Huntley's admission of guilt ushered in the end of the prosecution's case and the beginning of the defenses opening arguments.

The defense team would have its work cut out trying to prove that the deaths were accidental, as Huntley purported. It was clear, if not to the jury then to everyone else that the likelihood of Huntley unintentionally killing the girls was doubtful. The reality of what occurred that day was in all probability much grimmer.

A Call for Justice

On December 1, 2003 the defense team began arguing its case. The first witness they brought to the stand was Huntley who gave his latest version of what happened on the day he killed the girls. After describing how he "accidentally" killed them, he told of how he tried to conceal the truth from his family, Carr and the police because of his shame and fear of not being believed. Despite his purported fears and shame, he still had the audacity to seek out and console Holly's father shortly after the girls' disappearance and appear in countless television interviews.

During Latham's cross-examination of the defendant, he accused Huntley of lying and changing his story to fit the facts, the BBC News reported in a December 2, 2003 article. According to the article, Latham "called the nosebleed story 'rubbish'" and said that he was tempted the moment the girls arrived at his doorstep.

Latham further suggested that Huntley deliberately intended to murder the girls, which would account for why he made no attempt to resuscitate them after their deaths. Yet, according to a December 2, 2003 BBC News article, Huntley said that he failed to react because he was "frozen by panic" and was visibly angered by Latham's accusations that he deliberately drowned Holly and suffocated Jessica.

After three days on the stand, Huntley stepped down and Carr's testimony began. A December 3, 2003 BBC News article reported that Carr's lawyer, Michael Hubbard QC told the court that his client had "no control" over the events that unfolded on that fateful day. He further suggested that the only reason why Carr was facing charges was for lying to protect Huntley. Carr testified that she didn't think Huntley could ever commit murder and said that had she known at the time he was responsible for Holly and Jessica's deaths she would have "been out of that house like a shot straight to the police or straight to the nearest person I could talk to, to tell them," BBC News reported.

Following Carr's testimony, the defense and prosecution teams presented their closing statements. According to a December 10, 2003 BBC News article, Latham claimed that Huntley and Carr were "convincing liars" and that the girls "had to die" in order to satisfy Huntley's "own selfish self-interest." It was further suggested in the article that, "it was not possible for Holly to have drowned in six to eight inches of bath water with two other people (Jessica and Huntley) within arm's reach" or for Jessica to have died from his placing one had over her mouth to quiet her. Latham suggested that Huntley's motive for murdering the girls was sexual in nature, although there was no evidence of sexual assault due to the advanced state of decomposition of the girls' bodies.

While he was summing up his case, Coward asked the jury to "resist pressure" and outside influences when making their final decision about Huntley, BBC News reported on December 10, 2003. According to the article Coward said that the prosecution treated the deaths as "sinister from the start." Yet, he submitted that the only evidence available suggested that their deaths were "entirely innocent from the start," the article reported.

When Carr's lawyer, Hubbard, addressed the jury, he claimed that his client admitted to telling lies to protect Huntley but was in no way responsible for the murders. He further suggested that she initially did not believe that he committed the crimes but had she known she wouldn't have protected him. Moreover, he claimed that it was Huntley that devised the alibi, not his client but that she went along with it because she feared he would be implicated in the murders.

Following the closing arguments, the judge asked the jury to take care when considering a verdict and to judge the case on evidence alone, BBC News reported on December 11, 2003. On December 12th the jury retired to deliberate. It took them approximately five days to come to their conclusion.

On December 17th they returned their verdict. Carr was found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, yet she was cleared of two counts of assisting an offender. She received a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

After rejecting Huntley's story, the jury found him guilty of the murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison. During sentencing the judge said, "you murdered them both. You are the one person who knows how you murdered them, you are the one person who knows why," the BBC News reported. It was hoped that he would one day reveal more about his motivation for committing the atrocious acts.


Ian Kevin Huntley (born 31 January 1974 in Grimsby, England) is a former school caretaker, who in 2003 was convicted of murdering two schoolgirls - Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman - in a case that is known as the Soham murders. He is expected to remain in prison until at least 2042.

Early life

Huntley was born in Grimsby on 31 January 1974, the first son of Kevin and Linda Huntley. By the time he started secondary school in September 1985, he was a target of bullying, which only increased with his founding and active promotion of the Grimsby and Immingham chapter of the Bros fan club.

At the age of 13 the problem had escalated to such an extent that he was transferred to a different school. He left school in the summer of 1990 with 5 A-C grades in his GCSEs but decided to go into employment rather than study for A-levels.

Throughout the 1990s Huntley worked at various unskilled low-salary jobs. He was also investigated by the police on at least ten occasions for rape, underage sex, indecent assault and burglary. One rape and one burglary resulted in criminal charges but in both cases the charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service because it was decided that there was not enough evidence. In October 1993, he was convicted of riding an unlicenced and uninsured motorcycle and received a £250 fine.

His parents Kevin and Linda separated in the early 1990's and Linda later had a lesbian relationship, but the couple are now living together again. Huntley has a brother called Wayne, who was born on 16 August 1975. He is married to Claire Evans (born 1976). Ian himself also married Claire, three days before his 21st birthday in 1995, but they separated not long after, although they had to wait four years before obtaining a divorce as Huntley refused to grant one until January 1999. Wayne married his brother's ex-wife in July 2000.

Soham murders

Beginnings

In February 1999, the 25-year-old Huntley met 22-year-old Maxine Carr at Hollywood's nightclub in Grimsby. They shared a flat together in Barton-upon-Humber. Carr found a job packing fish at the local fish processing factory while Huntley worked as a barman. He also travelled to Cambridgeshire on his days off to help his father who worked as a school caretaker in the village of Littleport near Ely. He enjoyed the work so much that in September 2001 he applied for the position of caretaker at Soham Village College, a secondary school in a small town between Cambridge and Ely, after the previous caretaker was sacked for having an inappropriate relationship with a pupil.

Huntley was accepted for the post of caretaker at Soham Village College and he began work on 26 November 2001.

The murders

On 4 August 2002, at around 6 p.m., two 10-year-old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, walked past Huntley's rented house in College Close. Huntley asked them to come into the house. He said that Carr was in the house as well, since she was a learning support assistant at St Andrew's Primary, the girls' school, and had got along well with them, although in fact she had gone to visit family back in Grimsby. Shortly after Holly and Jessica entered 5 College Close, Huntley murdered them.

His reasons for committing the murders may never be known, but minutes before seeing the girls Huntley had slammed the telephone down on Carr after a furious argument, as he was suspicious that she was cheating on him. The police believe that Huntley killed the girls in a jealous rage. There may have also been a sexual motive. It seems likely that either of, or possibly both of these motives drove Huntley to kill the girls. The police found no evidence of preplanning, and later said that they would have expected to find it if it was there.

Police investigation

However the girls died, Huntley disposed of their bodies in a ditch 20 miles away and set them alight in a bid to destroy the forensic evidence. The search for the girls was one of the most highly publicised missing person searches in British history. They were found 13 days later, on 17 August 2002, twelve hours after their clothing was discovered in the grounds of Soham Village College and Huntley had been arrested. He was later charged with two counts of murder and sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Rampton Hospital before a judge decided that he was fit to stand trial.

Huntley's trial

Huntley's trial opened at the Old Bailey on 5 November 2003. He was faced with two murder charges, while Carr was charged with perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender. Huntley admitted that the girls had died in his house, but claimed that he had accidentally knocked Holly into the bath while helping her control a nosebleed and had accidentally suffocated Jessica when she started to scream. But the jury rejected his claims that the girls had died accidentally and on 17 December 2003 returned a majority verdict of guilty on both charges.

Huntley was sentenced to life imprisonment, with his minimum term to be decided by the Lord Chief Justice at a later date. Carr was cleared of assisting an offender but found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for three-and-a-half years, but she was freed under police protection after just 5 months because she had already spent 16 months on remand. She was provided with a new identity and lives under police protection.

After Huntley was convicted, it was revealed that he had been investigated in the past for sexual offences and burglary but had still been allowed to work in a school. Home Secretary David Blunkett ordered an inquiry into these failings, chaired by Sir Michael Bichard, and later ordered the suspension of David Westwood, Chief of Humberside Police.

The outcome of the inquiry criticised Humberside Police for deleting information relating to previous allegations against Huntley, as well as criticising Cambridgeshire Police for not following vetting guidelines. An added complication into the vetting procedures was the fact that Huntley had applied for the caretaker's job under the name of Ian Nixon. It is believed that Humberside Police did not check under the name Huntley on the police computer - if they had then they would have discovered a burglary charge left on file - or they might not have checked at all.

Since being jailed, Huntley has reportedly admitted that he lied when giving evidence at his trial. He changed his story about the death of Jessica, having previously admitted to suffocating her in a panic. An audio tape recording of Huntley speaking to a relative at Wakefield Prison revealed that he allegedly killed her when she tried to call for help on her mobile phone.

On 29 September 2005, High Court Judge Mr Justice Moses, who presided over Huntley's original trial, ruled that he should spend 40 years in prison before he can be considered for parole. He was not issued with a whole life tariff because the judge said there was no evidence of abduction of the two girls. The beginning of his sentence was backdated to October 2002, when he was first remanded in custody — not August 2002, as he was initially held in a mental hospital before a judge decided he was fit to stand trial.

It is not yet clear whether Huntley will appeal for his tariff to be reduced. Under its terms, he will not be able to apply for parole until October 2042, when he will be 68 years old. Even then, he will only be released from prison if he can convince the parole board that he is no longer a danger to the public.

The families of Huntley's victims later revealed that they had been hoping for a whole life tariff to be set, but Huntley's sentence was approximately three times heavier than the minimum terms imposed on most convicted murderers.

Prison

On 14 September 2005 Huntley was scalded with boiling water when another inmate attacked him. A prison service spokesman said that due to the nature of high-security prisoners, "it's impossible to prevent incidents of this nature occasionally happening", but Huntley alleged that the prison authorities failed in their duty of care towards him, and launched a claim for £15,000 compensation.

Huntley was reportedly awarded £2,500 in legal aid to pursue this claim, a move strongly criticised by the Soham MP, Jim Paice, who insisted on tight restrictions on the use of public money for compensation, and said "The people I represent have no sympathy for him at all". Huntley's injuries meant that he did not attend the hearing at which his minimum term was decided.

The Wells and Chapman families received £11,000 in compensation for the murder of their daughters.

On 5 September 2006, Huntley was found unconscious in his prison cell, thought to have taken an overdose. He had previously taken an overdose of anti-depressants at Woodhill Prison in June 2003, while awaiting his trial. He was under police guard in hospital until 7 September, when he was returned to Wakefield Prison, prompting much reaction from many present at the scene as well as making the front pages of many of the UK papers the next morning. Following this attempted suicide his cell was cleared and a tape was found which was marked with Queen on one side and Meat Loaf on the other. This tape is thought to contain confessions from Ian Huntley on what he did and how he did it. It is believed that Huntley made the tape in return for anti-depressants from a fellow prisoner, who hoped to obtain and later sell the confession to the media upon his release.

On 28 March 2007, The Sun began publishing transcripts of Huntley's taped confession.

On 23 January 2008, Ian Huntley was moved to Frankland (HM Prison) in County Durham.

On 21 March 2010, Huntley was taken to hospital, with media reports claiming that his throat had been slashed by another inmate. His injuries were not said to be life-threatening. The prisoner who wounded Huntley was later named as fellow life sentence prisoner and convicted armed robber Damien Fowkes. Huntley has since applied for a £20,000 compensation payout for his injuries.


The Soham murders were a high profile murder case in August 2002 of two ten year old girls Holly Marie Wells (born October 4, 1991-c.August 4, 2002) and Jessica Aimee Chapman (born September 1, 1991-c.August 4, 2002) in Soham. were murdered by Ian Huntley (born 31 January 1974).

Murders

Huntley was the caretaker at the local secondary school, Soham Village College, at the time of the murders. He was then living with his girlfriend, Maxine Carr, who was a teaching assistant at Holly and Jessica's school, St Andrew's Primary.

On the day of the murders, at around 18:15, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman walked past Huntley's rented house in College Close. Huntley asked them to come into the house. He said that Carr was in the house as well, since she had got along well with them, although in fact she had gone to visit family back in Grimsby. Shortly after Wells and Chapman entered 5 College Close, Huntley murdered them.

His reasons for committing the murders may never be known, but minutes before seeing the girls Huntley had slammed the telephone down on Carr after a furious argument, as he was suspicious that she was cheating on him. The police believe that Huntley killed the girls in a jealous rage.

Mental Assessment

Ian Huntley's mental state was then assessed as to whether he suffered from a mental illness or not, and if he was fit to stand trial. This assessment took place at Rampton High Secure Hospital and was carried out by consultant psychiatrist, Dr Christopher Clark. Dr Clark stated in court that

"Although Mr Huntley made clear attempts to appear insane, I have no doubt that the man currently, and at the time of the murder, was both physically and mentally sound and therefore, if he is found guilty, carried out the murder totally aware of his actions."

This left Huntley facing life imprisonment if a jury could be convinced of his guilt.

Huntley's defence conceded that he disposed of the girls' bodies and that they were in his house when they died. However, he claimed that Holly Wells accidentally fell in the bath and drowned and that Jessica Chapman was then so distressed that he had to restrain her to stop her screaming, but accidentally did this so forcefully that she too died. This led him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the jury rejected his story and found him guilty of the murder of both girls.

Huntley was convicted on December 17, 2003 by two eleven-to-one majority jury verdicts, and on that day began serving two concurrent life sentences.

The search for the two girls and the subsequent trial generated intense media interest and speculation, ensuring that the names and faces of Huntley and Carr became well-known across the United Kingdom and worldwide.

Carr

Maxine Carr provided a false alibi to police for Huntley, and was convicted of perverting the course of justice, Carr was found not guilty of assisting an offender, reflecting the court's acceptance that Carr only lied to police to protect Huntley because she believed his claims of innocence. Carr had claimed to be with Huntley at the time of the murders, but was in Grimsby. Carr was released on probation on 14 May 2004 with a new secret identity for her protection.

Sentence

Huntley was the last of more than 500 life sentence prisoners waiting to have minimum terms set by the Lord Chief Justice after the Home Secretary's tariff-setting procedures were declared illegal. Anyone who committed a murder after 18 December 2003 would have their minimum term set by the trial judge. On September 29, 2005 it was announced that Huntley must remain in prison for at least 40 years - a minimum term which will not allow him to be released until at least 2042, by which time he will be 68 years old.

After the Trial

Following the announcement of Huntley's conviction, it emerged that various authorities were aware of allegations, from a number of sources, that he had committed one act of indecent assault, four acts of underage sex and three rapes. The only one of these allegations that resulted in a charge was a rape, and the charge was dropped before it came to court. Huntley had also been charged with burglary, but he was not convicted.

On the day of Huntley's conviction for the girls' murder, the Home Secretary David Blunkett announced an inquiry into the vetting system which allowed Huntley to get a caretaker's job at a school despite four separate complaints about him reaching the social services and the allegations above.

One of the pertinent issues surfaced almost immediately when Humberside police (where all the alleged offences had taken place) stated that they believed that it was unlawful under the Data Protection Act to hold data regarding allegations which did not lead to a conviction; this was contradicted by other police forces who thought this too strict an interpretation of the Act.

There was also considerable concern about the police investigation into these murders. It took nearly two weeks before the police became aware of previous sexual allegations against Ian Huntley, and despite him being the last person to see either of the two children, his story was not effectively checked out early during the investigation.

Huntley had not been convicted of any of the underage sex, indecent assault or rape allegations, but his burglary charge had remained on file. Mr Howard Gilbert, the then head teacher of Soham Village College, later said that he would not have employed Huntley as a caretaker if he had been aware of the burglary charge, as one of Huntley's key responsibilities in his role was to ensure security in the school grounds.

On November 25, 2004, The Sun newspaper published details of a tape-recording they obtained of Ian Huntley admitting that he had lied in court. He was quoted as saying "I said that Jessica died in the bathroom. She didn't. She died in the living room. Everything happened as I said it did, apart from that." He said that he killed Jessica after she tried to flee once she had realised her friend had been killed elsewhere in the house.

Huntley also claimed that he couldn't live with the guilt of what he had done, and that he planned on committing suicide.

Huntley added that Carr had told him to burn the girls' bodies after he murdered them, a claim which contradicted the jury's opinion that Carr was not guilty of assisting an offender and had not known that Huntley had committed the murders.

The Bichard Inquiry

The inquiry was announced on December 18, 2003, and Sir Michael Bichard was appointed as the chairman. The stated purpose was:

"Urgently to enquire into child protection procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary in the light of the recent trial and conviction of Ian Huntley for the murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.

In Particular to assess the effectiveness of the relevant intelligence-based record keeping, the vetting practises in those forces since 1995 and information sharing with other agencies, and to report to the Home Secretary on matters of local and national relevance and make recommendations as appropriate."

The inquiry opened on Tuesday, January 13, 2004. The findings of the Bichard Inquiry were published in June 2004. Humberside and Cambridgeshire police forces were heavily criticised for their failings in maintaining intelligence records on Huntley.

The inquiry also recommends a registration scheme for people working with children and vulnerable adults, like the elderly. It also suggested a national system should be set up for police forces to share intelligence information. The report said there should also be a clear code of practice on record-keeping by all police forces.

The Police Reform Act 2002

Sir Michael Bichard's report severely criticised the Chief Constable of Humberside Police, David Westwood, for ordering the destruction of criminal records of child abusers. Though supported by Humberside Police Authority, he was suspended by then Home Secretary David Blunkett, using powers granted under the Police Reform Act 2002 to order suspension as "necessary for the maintenance of public confidence in the force in question". The suspension was later lifted, with Westwood agreeing to retire a year early, in March 2005.

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, Tom Lloyd had also been criticised, as his force had failed to contact Humberside Police during the vetting procedure. Lloyd was criticised by the police inspectorate for being slow to cut a holiday short after the investigation had become the largest in the force's history.

The inspectorate also criticised a 'lack of grip' on the investigation, which included nationally televised appeals by both footballer David Beckham and Detective Superintendent David Beck, who announced that he had left a message for abductors on Jessica's mobile phone before the case was taken from him.

Another complication was that two of the Cambridgeshire police officers involved with the families of the murdered girls had become Operation Ore suspects a month before the murders. Antony Goodridge, one of the exhibits officers, later pleaded guilty to child pornography offences and was given a six-month sentence.

Detective Constable Brian Stevens, who had read a poem at the girls' memorial service, was cleared of charges of indecent assault and child pornography offences after the poor presentation of prosecution evidence by computer expert Brian Underhill caused the trial to be stopped. Stevens was later convicted of a charge of perverting the course of justice after it was proved that he had given a false alibi to clear himself of the charges, and was imprisoned for eight months. The Stevens case may have affected other Operation Ore inquiries.

Tom Lloyd announced his resignation in June 2005 following accusations that he had become extremely drunk at the Association of Chief Police Officers' annual conference and had pestered a senior female official.

Beginnings

In February 1999, Huntley met 22-year-old Maxine Carr at Hollywood's nightclub in Grimsby. They shared a flat together in Barton-upon-Humber. Carr found a job packing fish at the local fish processing factory while Huntley worked as a barman. He also travelled to Cambridgeshire on his days off to help his father who worked as a school caretaker in the village of Littleport near Ely. He enjoyed the work so much that in September 2001 he applied for the position of caretaker at Soham Village College, a secondary school in a small town between Cambridge and Ely, after the previous caretaker was fired for having an inappropriate relationship with a pupil.

Huntley was accepted for the post of caretaker at Soham Village College and he began work on 26 November 2001.

The murders

On 4 August 2002, at around 6 p.m., two 10-year-old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, walked past Huntley's rented house in College Close. Huntley asked them to come into the house. He said that Carr was in the house as well, since she was a learning support assistant at St Andrew's Primary, the girls' school, and had got along well with them, although in fact she had gone to visit family back in Grimsby. Shortly after Holly and Jessica entered 5 College Close, Huntley murdered them.

His reasons for committing the murders may never be known, but minutes before seeing the girls Huntley had slammed the telephone down on Carr after a furious argument, as he was suspicious that she was cheating on him. The police believe that Huntley killed the girls in a jealous rage. There may have also been a sexual motive. It seems likely that either, or possibly both, of these motives drove Huntley to kill the girls. The police found no evidence of preplanning, and later said that they would have expected to find it if it were there.

Police investigation

Regardless of how the girls died, Huntley disposed of their bodies in a ditch 20 miles away and set them alight in a bid to destroy the forensic evidence. The search for the girls was one of the most highly publicised missing person searches in British history and Huntley even appeared on the BBC's Look East regional news programme speaking of the shock of the local community. They were found 13 days later near the perimeter fence of RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, on 17 August 2002, just twelve hours later their clothing was discovered in the grounds of Soham Village College and Huntley had been arrested. He was later charged with two counts of murder and detained under Section 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983, at Rampton Hospital, before a judge decided that he was fit to stand trial.

Mental Assessment

Ian Huntley's mental state was then assessed to see whether he suffered from mental illness and whether he was fit to stand trial. This assessment took place at Rampton Secure Hospital and was carried out by chief consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Christopher Clark.

Dr Clark stated in court that "Although Mr Huntley made clear attempts to appear insane, I have no doubt that the man currently, and at the time of the murder, was both physically and mentally sound and therefore, if he is found guilty, carried out the murder totally aware of his actions".

This piece of evidence made it impossible for Huntley to escape trial for double murder.

Huntley's trial

Huntley's trial opened at the Old Bailey on 5 November 2003. He was faced with two murder charges, while Carr was charged with perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender. Huntley admitted that the girls had died in his house, but claimed that he had accidentally knocked Holly into the bath while helping her control a nosebleed and had accidentally suffocated Jessica when she started to scream.

However, the jury rejected his claims that the girls had died accidentally and on 17 December 2003 returned a majority verdict of guilty on both charges. Huntley was sentenced to life imprisonment, with his minimum term to be decided by the Lord Chief Justice at a later date. Carr was cleared of assisting an offender but found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for three and a half years, but she was freed under police protection after just 5 months because she had already spent 16 months on remand. She was provided with a new identity and lives under police protection.

After Huntley was convicted, it was revealed that he had been investigated in the past for sexual offences and burglary but had still been allowed to work in a school. Home Secretary David Blunkett ordered an inquiry into these failings, chaired by Sir Michael Bichard, and later ordered the suspension of David Westwood, Chief of Humberside Police.

The inquiry criticised Humberside Police for deleting information relating to previous allegations against Huntley and criticised Cambridgeshire Police for not following vetting guidelines. An added complication in the vetting procedures was the fact that Huntley had applied for the caretaker's job under the name of Ian Nixon. It is believed that Humberside Police either did not check under the name Huntley on the police computer - if they had then they would have discovered a burglary charge left on file - or did not check at all.

Since being jailed, Huntley has repeatedly admitted that he lied when giving evidence at his trial. He changed his story about the death of Jessica, having previously admitted to suffocating her in a panic. An audio tape recording of Huntley speaking to a relative at Wakefield Prison revealed that he allegedly killed her when she tried to call for help on her mobile phone.

On 29 September 2005, High Court Judge Mr Justice Moses, who presided over Huntley's original trial, ruled that he should spend 40 years in prison before he can be considered for parole. He was not issued with a whole life tariff because the judge said there was no evidence of abduction of the two girls. The beginning of his sentence was backdated to October 2002, when he was first remanded in custody — not August 2002, as he was initially held in a mental hospital before a judge decided he was fit to stand trial.

Under this ruling, Huntley is expected to remain behind bars until at least October 2042 and the age of 68. In March 2007, the Lord Chancellor sparked controversy when he said in a Sunday Telegraph interview that Huntley is among a number of prisoners who should never be released as "that is what the public expect".

The families of Huntley's victims later revealed that they had been hoping for a whole life tariff to be set, but Huntley's sentence was approximately three times heavier than the minimum terms imposed on most convicted murderers.

The Wells and Chapman families received £11,000 in compensation for the murder of their daughters.

On 14 September 2005 Huntley was scalded with boiling water when another inmate, Mark Hobson, attacked him. A prison service spokesman said that due to the nature of high-security prisoners, "it's impossible to prevent incidents of this nature occasionally happening", but Huntley alleged that the prison authorities failed in their duty of care towards him, and launched a claim for £15,000 compensation. Huntley was reportedly awarded £2,500 in legal aid to pursue this claim, a move strongly criticised by the Soham MP, Jim Paice, who insisted on tight restrictions on the use of public money for compensation, and said, "The people I represent have no sympathy for him at all". Huntley's injuries meant that he did not attend the hearing at which his minimum term was decided.

On 5 September 2006, Huntley was found unconscious in his prison cell, thought to have taken an overdose. He had previously taken an overdose of anti-depressants while awaiting his trial. He was under police guard in hospital until 7 September, whereupon he was taken back to his prison cell under police escort, prompting much reaction from many present at the scene as well as making the front pages of many of the UK papers the next morning.

Following this attempted suicide his cell was cleared and a tape was found which was marked with Queen on one side and Meat Loaf on the other. This tape is thought to contain confessions from Ian Huntley on what he did and how he did it. It is believed that Huntley made the tape in return for anti-depressants from a fellow prisoner, who hoped to obtain and later sell the confession to the media upon his release. Aaron Nicholls is the prime suspect for providing Ian Huntley with antidepressants for his September 2006 suicide attempt. On March 28, 2007, The Sun began publishing transcripts of Huntley's taped confession.

On 23 January 2008, Ian Huntley was moved to Frankland (HM Prison) in County Durham.

On 21 March 2010, Huntley was taken to hospital, with media reports claiming that his throat had been slashed by another inmate. His injuries were not said to be life-threatening. The prisoner who wounded Huntley was later named as fellow life sentence prisoner and convicted armed robber Damien Fowkes. Huntley has since applied for a £20,000 compensation payout for his injuries.

Wikipedia.org


The Soham murders trial

By Rachael Bell


The Disappearance of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman

On August 4, 2002, best friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both 10, posed for a picture sporting their new red Manchester United football shirts before sitting down to dinner with family and friends. It was a festive occasion and the Wells family was having a barbecue. Shortly after dinner, Holly and Jessica stepped out of the house and went to a nearby sports center to buy some candy. They were never seen alive again.

Later that evening, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells were reported missing and a police search began at around midnight. The girls' parents were frantic, not knowing what could have become of them. Jessica had a mobile phone with her when the girls left, yet the family and investigators were unable to contact her.

The search, involving the police and hundreds of volunteers lasted well into the next day and the following weeks. Pictures of the girls were circulated throughout the community in the hopes that someone had seen them. Jessica and Holly's parents held a news conference pleading for any information concerning the whereabouts of their children. Even the British Manchester United soccer star, David Beckham, whose name adorned the girls' shirts, made a televised appeal for their safe return. As time passed, the hopes of finding the girls alive dwindled.

Several witnesses who claimed to have seen the girls after they left their home came forth during the investigation. Ian Huntley, 29, a caretaker of Soham Village College, who had assisted in the search, told investigators that he had seen the girls walking by his house that he shared with his girlfriend, Maxine Carr, 29, the girls' primary school teacher assistant at around the time they left the barbecue. He was believed to have been one of the last persons to see Jessica and Holly after they had left their home.

After he admitted to seeing the girls, investigators searched Huntley's home and the college where he worked, hoping to eliminate him as a suspect. During the searches they found no evidence linking him to the crime but some investigators were still suspicious of his behavior. Throughout the investigation, Huntley seemed too emotionally involved in the case. Moreover, he was asking too many questions and gave the impression that he knew more than what he was admitting. One week later, investigators decided to search the college premises again. This time they made a significant find.

In a storage building at Soham Village College, an officer found a garbage bin with the half burned remains of Jessica and Holly's Manchester United jerseys along with their shoes. It was one of the first big breaks in the investigation. Following the find, police arrested Huntley and his girlfriend Maxine Carr on suspicion of murder. Their suspicions would be confirmed later that same day.
 

A Heart Wrenching Discovery

On August 17, 2002, 13 days after the girls disappeared, a game warden walking through the woods made a heart wrenching discovery. He found the girls' partially burned bodies in a six-foot-deep ditch close to the RAF Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk. Autopsy reports on the girls listed their probable cause of death as asphyxiation. The girl's parents' worst nightmare became a reality.

When the news broke of the girl's murders, the nation mourned leaving many in a state of shock and disbelief. The question that was on most people's minds was how anyone could harm two innocent girls like Jessica and Holly. Such barbarism was simply beyond comprehension.

The evidence against Huntley was escalating daily. The location of the bodies further tied him to the case because he was known to have previously gone plane spotting in the area. Moreover, the area was in close proximity to his father's house.

During a more intensive search of his house and car, forensics specialists found fibers that were eventually matched to the girls' clothes. According to a November 24, 2003 BBC News article, there was also evidence of Huntley's hairs found on Holly and Jessica's soccer jerseys, as well as fibers from his clothes and carpets from his house and car. Furthermore, investigators were able to trace the last signal from Jessica's mobile phone, which she had with her at the time of her disappearance, to a small area directly near Huntley's home, the BBC reported in a November 6, 2003 article.

Three days later, Huntley was formally charged with the murder of the girls. His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, was also arrested for assisting an offender, as well as conspiring to obstruct the course of justice. Carr provided Huntley with an alibi, suggesting to police, that at the time the girls were abducted she was alone at the house with Huntley. However, investigators learned that she was actually in another town visiting her mother at the time of the girls' abduction and murders.

Despite the emerging facts and evidence, Huntley and Carr maintained their innocence claiming they had nothing to do with the girls' deaths. None-the-less, they were jailed until the upcoming trial scheduled to take place in November 2003. If they were found guilty, the maximum sentence they could receive was life in prison.


The Murder Trial

On November 3, 2003, the trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr began at London's Old Bailey Courthouse. During the first few days, a jury of five men and seven women were selected to overhear the cases. The trial judge, Mr. Justice Moses, presided over the trial that engrossed the country and captured worldwide attention.

The prosecution's case, led by Richard Latham QC, began its opening arguments two days into the trial. Latham suggested that he would present the court with overwhelming evidence that Huntley brutally murdered the girls and tried to cover it up.

He also claimed that there was evidence that Carr misled the police to protect Huntley, although it was likely that she was not directly involved in the murders. During his statement, Latham went on to retrace the girls' last moments and Huntley's movements around the time of their deaths. Near the end of the first day the prosecutor had already laid down the foundation of his case. It was hoped that the evidence would speak for itself.

Just as Latham promised, over the subsequent weeks he presented the jury with significant evidence and testimony that pointed to Huntley as the primary culprit in the murders. The jury learned that at the time Jessica's phone switched off, the last signal sent indicated that she was in the "immediate area" of Huntley's house, the BBC reported in their November article.

Moreover, they were presented with phone records that proved that Carr was a hundred miles away in Grimsby visiting her mother at the time of the girls' disappearance, whereas Huntley was traced to the location in and around Soham. Thus, there was little if any chance that Carr was present when the girls were abducted and murdered.

Other significant evidence introduced by the prosecution included fingerprints on the bin liner that were matched with Huntley. Furthermore, according to the 2003 BBC News article, "The Soham Trial: Key Evidence," witnesses testified that they had seen Huntley sanitizing his red Ford Fiesta car, "thoroughly washing and vacuuming it the day after the girls disappeared." He also, "ripped out the lining of the boot and replaced it with domestic carpet and he got rid of a throw (rug) that had been covering the back seat," the article further suggested.

The same day he cleaned his car, Huntley also replaced all four tires, even though the tread was not worn down. A November 6, 2003 BBC News article suggested that Huntley offered the mechanic who performed the work 10 to record a false registration number. Along with the fiber and hair evidence, there were also traces of chalk, concrete, soil and other materials found in and beneath Huntley's car, which were forensically linked to the area where the girls' bodies were found, the BBC stated in their article "The Soham Trial: Key Evidence."


Piecing Together the Facts

Three weeks into the trial Huntley made a momentous admission. After vigorously denying he had any knowledge of the girls' whereabouts or how they died, he finally confessed that he was responsible for the girls' deaths, although he suggested they were accidental. His admission was a significant boost for the prosecution's case, even though they believed his story to be riddled with inconsistencies.

Stephen Coward QC offered a statement from Huntley who was not in court because he was supposedly ill, claiming that the girls stopped by his house to talk to Ms. Carr and during that time Holly had a nosebleed.

The BBC reported in a November 25, 2003 article that Huntley led the girls to his bathroom where he purportedly tended to Holly's nosebleed in the bathtub. The article further suggested that while reaching over to wet pieces of toilette paper, Huntley accidentally knocked Holly backwards and into the bathtub, which was half full of water.

Huntley claimed that Jessica began screaming and in an effort to quiet her he put his hand over her mouth and in the process "accidentally" suffocated her. He said that he then looked at Holly in the bathtub and realized that she was also dead. Huntley further admitted to putting the girls in his car and driving them to Lakenheath, cutting off their clothes, which he later took back to Soham and burning the bodies with petrol.

That same week, Carr also made a confession. According to a November 27, 2003 BBC News article, Carr told police that, "it was her idea to claim she was in the house she shared with Mr. Huntley on the day Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman disappeared."

Carr said that in an effort to protect her boyfriend, who she believed was innocent of murder, she used a "crib card" with alibi details to assist her in lying more effectively to police. Carr alleged that she lied because she wanted to prevent a 1998 "false" rape allegation against Huntley from being unearthed again.

The rape allegation was dropped shortly after it was reported because police were able to establish that Huntley was in a different location from the young woman at the time the supposed assault took place.

Nevertheless, even though Huntley confessed to killing the girls, he continued to claim that Jessica and Holly's deaths were accidental. However, he did admit to one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, the BBC News reported in their December 2003 article. Huntley's admission of guilt ushered in the end of the prosecution's case and the beginning of the defenses opening arguments.

The defense team would have its work cut out trying to prove that the deaths were accidental, as Huntley purported. It was clear, if not to the jury then to everyone else that the likelihood of Huntley unintentionally killing the girls was doubtful. The reality of what occurred that day was in all probability much grimmer.


A Call for Justice

On December 1, 2003 the defense team began arguing its case. The first witness they brought to the stand was Huntley who gave his latest version of what happened on the day he killed the girls. After describing how he "accidentally" killed them, he told of how he tried to conceal the truth from his family, Carr and the police because of his shame and fear of not being believed. Despite his purported fears and shame, he still had the audacity to seek out and console Holly's father shortly after the girls' disappearance and appear in countless television interviews.

During Latham's cross-examination of the defendant, he accused Huntley of lying and changing his story to fit the facts, the BBC News reported in a December 2, 2003 article. According to the article, Latham "called the nosebleed story 'rubbish'" and said that he was tempted the moment the girls arrived at his doorstep.

Latham further suggested that Huntley deliberately intended to murder the girls, which would account for why he made no attempt to resuscitate them after their deaths. Yet, according to a December 2, 2003 BBC News article, Huntley said that he failed to react because he was "frozen by panic" and was visibly angered by Latham's accusations that he deliberately drowned Holly and suffocated Jessica.

After three days on the stand, Huntley stepped down and Carr's testimony began. A December 3, 2003 BBC News article reported that Carr's lawyer, Michael Hubbard QC told the court that his client had "no control" over the events that unfolded on that fateful day.

He further suggested that the only reason why Carr was facing charges was for lying to protect Huntley. Carr testified that she didn't think Huntley could ever commit murder and said that had she known at the time he was responsible for Holly and Jessica's deaths she would have "been out of that house like a shot straight to the police or straight to the nearest person I could talk to, to tell them," BBC News reported.

Following Carr's testimony, the defense and prosecution teams presented their closing statements. According to a December 10, 2003 BBC News article, Latham claimed that Huntley and Carr were "convincing liars" and that the girls "had to die" in order to satisfy Huntley's "own selfish self-interest."

It was further suggested in the article that, "it was not possible for Holly to have drowned in six to eight inches of bath water with two other people (Jessica and Huntley) within arm's reach" or for Jessica to have died from his placing one had over her mouth to quiet her. Latham suggested that Huntley's motive for murdering the girls was sexual in nature, although there was no evidence of sexual assault due to the advanced state of decomposition of the girls' bodies.

While he was summing up his case, Coward asked the jury to "resist pressure" and outside influences when making their final decision about Huntley, BBC News reported on December 10, 2003. According to the article Coward said that the prosecution treated the deaths as "sinister from the start." Yet, he submitted that the only evidence available suggested that their deaths were "entirely innocent from the start," the article reported.

When Carr's lawyer, Hubbard, addressed the jury, he claimed that his client admitted to telling lies to protect Huntley but was in no way responsible for the murders. He further suggested that she initially did not believe that he committed the crimes but had she known she wouldn't have protected him. Moreover, he claimed that it was Huntley that devised the alibi, not his client but that she went along with it because she feared he would be implicated in the murders.

Following the closing arguments, the judge asked the jury to take care when considering a verdict and to judge the case on evidence alone, BBC News reported on December 11, 2003. On December 12th the jury retired to deliberate. It took them approximately five days to come to their conclusion.

On December 17th they returned their verdict. Carr was found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, yet she was cleared of two counts of assisting an offender. She received a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

After rejecting Huntley's story, the jury found him guilty of the murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison. During sentencing the judge said, "you murdered them both. You are the one person who knows how you murdered them, you are the one person who knows why," the BBC News reported. It was hoped that he would one day reveal more about his motivation for committing the atrocious acts.


Problems Abound

As news of the verdict swept across the country, previous allegations made against Huntley surfaced. Between 1995 and 1999 there were four accusations of underage sex involving girls between 13 and 15 years of age, three rape allegations and one of indecent assault against an 11-year-old girl.

However, a lack of evidence and the refusal of some of the girls to press charges made it difficult for investigators to secure a conviction. Huntley had also been arrested and charged with burglary in 1996, but the charges were eventually dropped because, like with the other allegations, there was not enough evidence.

On the day of Huntley's conviction, Home Secretary David Blunkett announced that he would launch an inquiry into why the earlier accusations against Huntley were not brought to the forefront, as well as "the vetting system" that failed to stop Huntley from getting a job as a school caretaker, the BBC reported. There was also a great deal of concern about how the police dealt with the investigation into Holly and Jessica's murders.

The inquiry, which opened on January 13, 2004 and lasted approximately 5 weeks, found that there were indeed critical errors made by police and other organizations involved in the intelligence system.

Interestingly, most of the complaints attributed to Huntley were never linked together because of miscommunication between the bureaus involved in handling the cases and procedural flaws. For example, a February 26, 2004 BBC news article suggested that some of the sex attack reports that were sent to the divisional intelligence bureau were accidentally deleted "during a ''weeding' process of the records systems by civilian staff in July 2000.

Such problems made it difficult for investigators to gain a full understanding of the potential danger Huntley posed to society. Had investigators had access to all of the reports and been able to link all of the allegations together, they would have likely discovered that he was a budding serial rapist with a fascination for vulnerable young girls. The information could have also led to closer scrutiny of Huntley and may have even prevented the deaths of Holly and Jessica.

Other problems included "check system" mistakes made by the Cambridgeshire police force, which resulted in Huntley getting a job at Soham College. A December 17, 2003 BBC News article stated that during police background checks into Huntley on a national police database, his name and date of birth were entered incorrectly, thus revealing no record of a criminal history. His employers claimed that had they known about his past, Huntley would have never been hired at the school.

There were also problems discovered concerning the investigation into Holly and Jessica's murders. A 2004 Wikipedia.org article stated that from the onset of the investigation it took the police nearly two weeks before they were aware of Huntley's previous sexual allegations. Moreover, the article claimed that his story was "not effectively checked out early during the investigation."

Karen McVeigh reported in a June 23, 2004 Scotsman article that Sir Michael Bichard delivered his own damning report concerning the investigation into Huntley's previous allegations. Bichard suggested in the article that the Humberside police force's intelligence system, which dealt with some of the cases, was "fundamentally flawed" and its child-protection database "largely worthless." According to McVeigh, many of the investigative problems were blamed on the chief constable of Humberside, David Westwood who allegedly "failed to identify Ian Huntley as a danger."

Based on Bichard's report and the inquiry, Blunkett decided to suspend Westwood, despite the disapproval of the police authority and Holly's parents who believed it was unfair for him to be the sole target of blame.

After 12 weeks of heated controversy over Westwood's handling of Huntley's previous allegations, his suspension was lifted. Westwood, who "believed he was uniquely placed to carry forward the necessary reforms to his force," struck a deal with Blunkett that he would retire from his post in March 2005, BBC News reported on September 14, 2004.

The Humberside police force intelligence system, as well as others around the UK, are currently undergoing major changes to prevent other criminals like Huntley from slipping through the net and further endangering the lives of innocents like Holly and Jessica.


Huntleys Admission of Murder

In the midst of the controversy surrounding the inquiry into the Soham murders, Huntley allegedly made an unexpected confession from his jail cell in Belmarsh prison. According to Nathan Yates' July 19, 2004 article in The Mirror, Huntley's parents claimed that their son admitted to them that he deliberately killed Jessica Chapman.

The article quoted Huntley's father, Kevin, saying, "He told us how he did it. He needs to tell us more about what happened to Holly." The couple is hoping that their son will come clean about how the girls died so that Jessica and Holly's family's can finally know the truth.

Russell Jackson reported in a July 19, 2004 Scotsman article that there is a possibility that the confession was recorded on the prison's surveillance equipment. Jackson quoted a spokesman for the Cambridge police saying that they were, "keen to examine any fresh information" regarding the case. It is unclear whether Huntley's admission of guilt would lead to perjury charges, since his confession directly contradicts his trial testimony.

In September 2003, Huntley faced even more problems when one of his earliest victims threatened to pursue legal action against him for sexually assaulting her seven years earlier when she was 11-years-old. Hailey Edwards, now 18, claimed that Huntley repeatedly attacked her when she was with him in the woods close to her home in Humberston, Matt Nixson of The Mail reported on September 5, 2004.

Edwards, who feared for her life at the time, waited more than half a year before filing a report with the police. An investigation was launched, yet there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case.

Edwards suffered psychologically since the attack and wants to make certain Huntley is brought to justice. According to Nixson's article, Edwards was quoted saying, "I will do everything I can to make sure he gets to court to explain what he did to me. I think if it comes to that I will be able to get closure and try to move on."

The police have since questioned Huntley about the attack and a decision will be made by the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether to charge him, Phil Nettleton reported in a September 5, 2004 The People article. The chances of Huntley ever being released from prison will significantly diminish if he is charged and found guilty of the assault. At least, that is what many people hope.

CrimeLibrary.com

 


Ian Huntley: The Soham Murderer

In the early evening of 4th August 2002, two 10-year-old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, were on their way to buy sweets when they walked past Huntley's rented house in College Close.

Biography

Ian Kevin Huntley was born into a working class home in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, on 31st January 1974, the first son of Kevin and Linda Huntley. An asthma sufferer, he had a turbulent time at school, often being the target of school bullying, and this problem escalated until, aged 13, he was forced to change schools. He left school in 1990 and declined to continue his studies to A-level, despite reasonable GCSE grades, choosing instead to go directly into employment.

In the years after he left school, Huntley already seemed to have developed an interest in young girls, and he was seen out with 13-year-old girls when he was eighteen. In December 1994, Huntley met 18-year-old Claire Evans, embarked on a whirlwind romance, and married her within weeks. The marriage was short-lived, however, and she left Huntley within days, choosing to move in with Huntley’s younger brother Wayne, instead. An enraged Huntley refused to grant his wife a divorce until 1999, preventing his brother’s marriage to Evans.

Following the collapse of his marriage, Huntley became more nomadic, moving from one rented flat to the next, and changing jobs frequently. He had a succession of relationships, one of which was with a 15-year-old girl, with whom he fathered a daughter in 1998. A subsequent enquiry revealed that, between 1995 and 2001, Huntley had sexual contacts with eleven underage girls, ranging between 11 and 17 years old.

On 7th January 1998 he appeared at Grimsby Crown Court charged with having burgled a neighbour's house, and in May 1998, he was charged with the rape of an 18-year-old girl in Grimsby. Neither case proceeded to court due to lack of evidence, but the rape allegation tainted him substantially.

In February 1999 he met 22-year-old Maxine Carr at a nightclub, and they moved in together after 4 weeks. The relationship endured despite some turbulent rows, and they moved to Littleport, near Soham, in 2001, where Huntley took a job at the Soham Village Centre as the manager of a team of caretakers.

In September 2001 he applied for the post of caretaker at Soham Village College, and in November 2001, despite his history of sexual contact with minors, he was awarded the position. Carr was employed as a teaching assistant at the local primary school.

The Crimes

In the early evening of 4th August 2002, two 10-year-old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, were on their way to buy sweets when they walked past Huntley's rented house in College Close. Huntley saw them and asked them in, claiming that Carr, who was known to the girls through her work at their school, was also at home. Carr, in fact, was away visiting relatives at the time, and within a short time of Holly & Jessica having entered the house, Huntley had murdered both of them.

Huntley used his car to transport their bodies some 20 miles away, where he dumped them in a ditch and set them alight, in a bid to destroy the forensic evidence.

Later that evening, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells were reported missing and a police search began at around midnight. Over the next two weeks the search escalated to become one of the most widespread and publicised in British history.

Several witnesses came forward, including Huntley, who claimed to have seen the girls shortly before they disappeared, and his home was searched routinely in order to eliminate him as a suspect. Huntley also granted television interviews to the press, and his unusual interest, together with his emotional involvement, made investigators suspicious, leading to a wider search which revealed the half-burned remains of Holly & Jessica’s shirts, in a storage building at Soham College where Huntley was employed.

Following the find, police arrested Huntley, and girlfriend Carr, on suspicion of murder. Later the same day, 17th August 2002, 13 days after the girls had disappeared, a game warden discovered the girls’ bodies near RAF Lakenheath, an airbase in Suffolk, near to Huntley’s father’s home.

Subsequent autopsy reports on the girls listed their probable cause of death as asphyxiation, but their bodies were too badly decomposed to establish whether they had suffered any sexual assault.

Despite Huntley’s attempts to destroy forensic evidence, extensive hair and fibre residue remained which linked Huntley to the girls. Huntley was formally charged with the girl’s murders, and sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Rampton Hospital, pending a hearing to establish if he was fit for trial. Carr was arrested for assisting an offender, as well as conspiring to obstruct the course of justice, as she had initially provided Huntley with a false alibi for the time of their disappearance.

The Trial

The trials of Huntely and Carr opened, to worldwide media interest, at the Old Bailey, on 5th November 2003. Huntley was faced with two murder charges, while Carr was charged with perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.

The prosecution entered exhaustive evidence linking Huntley to the girls and, three weeks into the trial, despite previously having denied any knowledge of their murders, Huntley suddenly changed his story, admitting that the girls had died in his house, but he claimed that both deaths were accidental. The defence called Huntley as their first witness, and he described how he had accidentally knocked Holly Wells into the bath, whilst helping her control a nosebleed, and had accidentally suffocated Chapman when she started to scream, and he had tried to silence her. On cross-examination the prosecution described his latest version as “rubbish”.

Carr's testimony began three days later, when it was claimed that she had no control over the events on the day of the murder, and that, had she known of Huntley’s murderous intent, she would never have lied to protect him.

Following her testimony, the prosecution presented their closing statements, claiming that both Carr and Huntley were convincing liars, and also that Huntley’s motive for murdering the girls was sexual, although physical evidence of assault was impossible to prove.

After five days of deliberation, the jury rejected Huntley’s claims that the girls had died accidentally and, on 17th December 2003, returned a majority verdict of guilty on both charges. Huntley was sentenced to life imprisonment, but there was a delay on the setting of his tariff, as the 2003 Criminal Justice Act came into force one day after his conviction. This new Act passed the decision on how long a prisoner given a life sentence would serve, from the Home Secretary to judges.

At a hearing on 29th September 2005, a judge ruled that the Soham killings did not meet the criteria for a “whole-life” tariff, which was now reserved for sexual, sadistic or abduction cases only under the new Act, and imposed a 40 year prison sentence, which offers Huntley very little hope for release. On 14th September 2005, Huntley had been attacked by another inmate at Belmarsh Prison, and scalded with boiling water, which prevented him from attending this sentencing hearing.

Carr was cleared of assisting an offender, but found guilty of perverting the course of justice, and jailed for three-and-a-half years, but she was freed under police protection in May 2004, as she had already spent 16 months on remand, pending the trial.

Carr was given a new identity on her release and, on 24th February 2005, was granted an indefinite order protecting her new identity by the High Court, on the basis that her life would be in danger were her new identity to be revealed.

The Aftermath

A number of enquiries, launched by then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, investigated the failures of both the police, and other social and vetting agencies, in stopping Huntley sooner, and system wide communication and intelligence-sharing errors were identified, which led to the suspension, and early retirement, of the chief of Humberside Police.

Since being jailed, Huntley has reportedly admitted to his father that he lied when giving evidence at his trial, alleging that he killed Jessica Chapman to prevent her from calling for help on her mobile phone, rather than suffocating her accidentally, as he claimed in court.

On 23rd July 2004 Carr’s mother, Shirley Capp, was sentenced to six months in jail for intimidating a witness during the trial. Capp’s neighbour, Marion Westerman, had told police that she had seen a crying Carr, and Huntley, looking in the boot of a car outside Carr’s mother’s house, shortly after 10-year-old Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman had gone missing. Carr’s mother’s threats to Westerman had nearly resulted in her retracting her statement at the time, and not testifying in court.

On 5th September 2006, Ian Huntley was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious in his prison cell. He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield to receive treatment for a suspected drug overdose and was returned to prison the next day.

Following this incident the Home Office released a statement to the media.

"Huntley continues to be managed according to Prison Service policy on the prevention of suicide and self-harm. In particular he will be subject to Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) procedures through which his risk will be continually assessed. The Prison Service works to minimise the risk of any prisoner taking their own life, but it cannot eliminate that risk entirely."

Huntley had been considered a suicide risk after he took 29 anti-depressant pills, which he had hidden away in a box of teabags, in June 2003.

Mark F

The Crime & Investigation Network

 

 

 
 
 
 
contact