herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Merciless monster's web of deceit

Rarely have two people been more reviled than Soham murderer Ian Huntley and his accomplice Maxine Carr.

A controlling and violent man, Huntley was able to get a job as a school caretaker despite accusations of rape, indecent assault on an 11-year-old and a string of relationships with schoolgirls.

But an intricate web of deceit meant he was able to live an ordinary life in the Soham community until the day he murdered Jessica and Holly.

Described as "a timebomb just ready to go off" by the girls' parents, he showed no emotion when he was handed two life sentences for the double murder in 2003.

Trial judge Mr Justice Moses told Huntley he had shown "persistent cruelty" and "merciless cynicism" towards the families.

In the witness box he told a tissue of lies meaning even at the end of the 30-day trial, he remained the only person to know why he committed the brutal murders.

But he could not hide his monstrous efforts to throw police off the scent.

Made-up sightings, tip-offs and phoney media interviews were all used to hide his evil crimes under a mountain of fake concern.

Ironically, as their lies began to unwind, it was Huntley and Carr's careful attempts to cover his tracks which led to their arrest.



Wandered

The former caretaker at Soham Village College persistently told the tale of how the girls had wandered past his house, held a brief conversation with him, then walked off never to be seen again.

After journalists persuaded him to talk about his "sighting" of the pair, he wept and wailed about how guilty he felt at not finding out where the youngsters were going.

Carr also lied to police and the media and gave Huntley a crucial alibi. But as the inquiry moved into its second week, their lies began to fall apart.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hebb said some of the things Huntley said to police in the days after the girls disappeared "set alarm bells ringing".

Two journalists thought him strange and dishonest and told police of their suspicions. Then Huntley was seen on television by people who knew him and a member of the public alerted them to his past.

Huntley and Carr were arrested a day later.

In court, he claimed the girls had died accidentally at his home. He insisted Holly drowned in the bath and that he killed Jessica as he tried to silence her screams.

Though he initially claimed the pair had left his house alive, he eventually confessed to dumping their bodies in a remote ditch, cutting off their clothes and torching their corpses in a bid to cover his tracks.

hnews@herald.ie

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