“C ya around school”
It was at about 6.15pm on Saturday 3 August 2002 that Ian Huntley murdered best friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both ten years old. Just over an hour earlier, at 5.04pm, the two girls had been photographed at a family barbecue wearing their favourite Manchester United tops.
The picture became an iconic image of the case. Police had investigated Huntley at least ten times for rape, underage sex, indecent assault and burglary before he began work as a school caretaker at Soham Village College on Monday 26.
In February 1999 Huntley had met 22-year-old Maxine Carr at Hollywood nightclub in Grimsby, North Yorkshire. The couple moved to Soham and she landed a job as a teaching assistant at St Andrew’s Primary School where she got to know Holly and Jessica.
On the weekend of 3-4 August 2002, Carr visited her mother in Grimsby, leaving Huntley alone at home. It is believed that the two girls called round to see Carr who had recently lost her job at their school (they had sent her a card bearing the legend “C ya around school”) or that they were enticed into the house by Huntley.
He murdered both girls and then disposed of their bodies in a ditch 32 km (20 mi) away, near the perimeter fence of RAF Lakenham in Suffolk. Huntley had set the bodies on fire in a bid to destroy any evidence. The corpses were found on 17 August 2002.
5 College Close, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England
6.15pm Saturday 3 August 2002
Huntley and Carr were arrested and their trial opened at the Old Bailey on 5 November 2003. He was faced with two murder charges while Carr, who had no knowledge of what her boyfriend had done, was charged with perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender. On 17 December Huntley was sentenced to life in prison.
Carr was acquitted on the charge of assisting an offender but convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. She was released on 14 May 2004 after serving 21 months. Her identity and whereabouts are protected by a court order although this has not stopped the tabloid press writing stories usually fictitious – about her.
On 5 September 2006 prison warders were told to treat Huntley, who had attempted suicide three times in prison, as if he was a member of their own family, to make him feel wanted and valued. The caretaker’s house has since been demolished.