Home Invasion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
On Sunday, 4 August 2002, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman both 10 had attended a barbecue at Wells' home in Redhouse Gardens, Soham. At around 6:15 pm, they went out to buy some sweets. On their way back they walked past the home of Ian Huntley, a secondary school caretaker and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, their teaching assistant at St Andrew's Primary School. Maxine had gone to visit family in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Shortly after the girls entered his house Huntley murdered them. The full story has hardly ever been told. Facts were held back from the court but here is the full account of the crime.

Submitted: July 23, 2016

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Submitted: July 23, 2016

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HOME INVASION THE FULL STORY

It is not reported in most accounts some information the police held back because from a law point of view wasn't required. The information wouldn't have changed the outcome in court and because of this was withheld. Holly and Jessica along with an adult female friend of the Wells used to commit house invasions, the adult female friend can't be named. For a short period of time they commit only a few house invasions normally just taking clothing from the houses. The first one they carried out was a house belonging to a family who had children the same age and at the same school as Holly and Jessica. It is thought this is how they knew the house would be empty. The adult female helped herself to the woman's clothing whilst Holly and Jessica help themselves  to the 10 year old daughters clothing. They then chucked food over the beds, bedrooms and over the clothing they were leaving. It was almost that the home invasions were just fun to them. The Mother of the family returned home not only to find food over her and her daughter's bedroom but also over the clothing left behind. Even the woman's shoes and boots had food in them it was as if they wanted to shock the victims.

They did two more homes that are known of using the same method, taking clothing then chucking food over the bedrooms. A family again who had a child younger but at the same school as Holly and Jessica. The last house they have known to have done was that of a family were is no known connection to them. That last house had girls in the same age group as Holly and Jessica but they didn't attend the same school. The question did Holly and Jessica's parents know of the houses isn't clear there is no evidence that they did. It was known by some people in the community because of arguments that happened running up to the murders. Holly was seen wearing a skirt that was identical to one taken from the first house. The daughter of the family questioned Holly about the skirt but there was no direct evidence that it was the skirt. A second time the adult female and Holly were accused of the house invasion when walking together. The woman victim along with her daughter run up to them and accused the adult female of not only the house invasion but wearing her boots. It is reported that the adult female laughed and said her feet were warm and Holly like her new coat's. The coat comment was because Holly was wearing a coat the same style as one taken from another house. The female victim shouted insults about the boots belonging to her however there was just like the skirt no evidence it was the clothing taken. It was the same type but the police needed more than that.

Questions were asked that if Holly And Jessica's parents didn't know what about the clothing taken. Did the female friend tell their Mother's she had given it them that is one theory. A large amount of clothing was taken from the house a large part of it child girls clothing age seven to twelve. Photo's on the female family friend's camera show Holly wearing different types of clothing. All the photos of Holly were taken in the female friend's bedroom. The photo's gave the police concern but no evidence the level the courts require could be found. In one photo Holly is wearing a coat and boots the same style as those taken and laughing at the camera. The other photos of Holly she is not in clothing the which looks like it was from the houses but the type of clothing Holly was wearing was a concern. However because the clothing had no markings on it linking it to the house it gave the police no evidence. The female friend as never been charged with any crimes.

On Sunday, 4 August 2002, Holly and Jessica had attended a barbecue at Wells' home in Redhouse Gardens, Soham. At around 6:15 pm, they went out to buy some sweets. On their way back they walked past the home of Ian Huntley, a secondary school caretaker and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, their teaching assistant at St Andrew's Primary School. Maxine had gone to visit family in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Shortly after the girls entered his house it is not known why but one theory is to get to Maxine's clothing. What is known is that shortly after Huntley murdered them.

After the girls were reported missing, the police released photographs – taken only hours before their disappearance and a physical description of each of them, describing them as "white, about 4 ft 6 in tall and slim. Meanwhile, over the next two weeks, Huntley appeared in several television interviews on Sky News and the BBC's regional news programme Look East, speaking of the shock in the local community. Huntley said their disappearance was "absolutely" a mystery and, during the second week of the search, he told television crews that "while there's no news there's still that glimmer of hope, and that's basically what we're all hanging on to. Maxine Carr was also interviewed by the press after her return from Grimsby during the first week of the search for the girls. She showed a reporter a thank-you card given to her by Wells on the last day of the school year. Carr said: "She was just lovely, really lovely" and urged the missing girls to "just come home". The police immediately noticed that Carr was referring to Wells in the past tense (as though she was no longer alive), although she had not been reported dead and police were still treating their disappearance as a missing persons case rather than a possible murder investigation.

On 16 August, 12 days after the girls went missing, Huntley and Carr were first questioned by police and agreed to give witness statements during seven hours of questioning before being released. That night, with Huntley and Carr under police watch at separate locations outside Soham, police searched their home, as well as the grounds of Soham Village College, and recovered items of "major importance" to their investigation. Although it was not made public at the time, the items recovered from the school grounds were clothes matching those the girls were last seen wearing, Huntley and Carr were arrested in the early hours of 17 August on suspicion of murder. This was the first time that the police admitted that they feared the girls were now dead.

The girls' bodies were found in a ditch near the perimeter fence of RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, about six miles from Soham, on the afternoon of 17 August. The bodies were formally identified as those of the two missing girls on 21 August. Their bodies were discovered by local gamekeeper Keith Pryer, who noticed an Within a week, by which time DNA tests confirmed that the bodies were definitely those of the two missing girls, it was established at an inquest in Cambridge that the girls had almost certainly not died at the location where their bodies were found, and had instead been murdered at another location before their bodies were placed there.

Huntley later admitted in court that he had returned to the site to set the bodies alight, in what police saw as an attempt on Huntley's part to destroy any forensic evidence. Dr. Patricia Wiltshire was however able to identify the approximate time the bodies were placed and provide evidence that proved Huntley to be the killer, based on analysis of the soil environment. The school caretaker was charged with two counts of murder on 20 August and detained under Section 48 of the Mental Health Act at Rampton Secure Hospital, Nottinghamshire, where his mental state was assessed to determine whether he suffered from mental illness and whether he was fit to stand trial. Consultant psychiatrist Dr. Christopher Clark carried out the assessment and stated. Huntley was sentenced to life imprisonment and on 29 September 2005 his minimum term was decided. On this date, High Court judge Mr Justice Moses (who had been his trial judge nearly two years earlier) announced that Huntley must remain in prison until he has served 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. In setting this minimum term, Mr. Justice Moses stated: "The order I make offers little or no hope of the defendant's eventual release.
 


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