He Was A Ticking Time Bomb: The Evil Crimes & Lies of Ian Huntley: The Soham Murderer

(Ian Huntley pictures: Credit: independent & examinerlive. Maxine Carr: Credit: dailyrecord, Holly & Jessica: Credit: manchestereveningnews)

The name Ian Huntley will be very familiar to you I'm sure, especially if you happen to live in the UK. My last few posts have focused on cases that have occurred further afield but in this post, I will be talking about the shocking case that took place in Soham, England back in 2002. 

I remember the news reports very well that flashed across the TV screens around the United Kingdom. The photograph of two missing young girls dressed in red Manchester United football shirts, posing, faces beaming, the picture was all over the place, on television and in the newspapers. We all knew these two little angelic faces as Holly and Jessica. We never knew the girls or their families but the public were concerned for these girls and everyone wanted to see them back home safe with their families. 

The girls had been reported missing and at first nobody knew what to think, only those close to them knew that this sort of behaviour was totally out of character for them. The pair, although young (both aged just 10), they were streetwise and had grown up being reminded by their parents and school teachers that you must never talk to strangers and to try and keep yourself safe as much as possible whilst out and about. 

Holly and Jessica were practically joined at the hip and did everything together, they were like twins, close sisters and they kept themselves to themselves. They were always very thoughtful when it came to their parents, they would never do anything to cause them worry and when told to do something, they would behave and follow whatever their parents told them. 

The girls were huge fans of the footballer, David Beckham and on the evening that they were reported missing, they had been wearing the Manchester united shirts which had been photographed just a few hours earlier. It is very sad and haunting that, the photograph was taken on the day that they would go missing, they're last picture together. 

Jessica Chapman had recently been on holiday and missed her best friend, Holly Wells, so whilst she was away she bought her a little gift as a souvenir, a pretty necklace which she was excited to surprise Holly with. It was Sunday the 4th of August 2002 and Holly's family were having a little get-together at their house with a BBQ so Jessica popped over to visit. The girls spent most of the time in Holly's bedroom with another girl they were friends with. The three girls chatted, played music and video games, ate snacks and just generally hung out. Towards the afternoon Holly and Jessica's friend went home and the pair, fed up with playing computer games and being in the bedroom, they decided to go for a little walk to the local sports centre because there was a vending machine there that had sweets. 

Normally the girls would tell their parents where they were going but it seemed that they were planning just to go out for a short while, a little walk to get the sweets and then return. They probably thought that they wouldn't be that long and they were together so possibly assumed that they would be safe. However, the girls didn't return home that night and straight away their families knew that something was not right. 

What was supposed to be a quick trip to the sports centre for some sweets, ended up with two 10 year old girls vanishing and nobody knew what had happened to them or where they had gone. Their parents didn't waste any time searching for them, calling the police and driving up and down the streets shouting their names to no avail, it was a very worrying and frightening time. 

Although all of the exact details of this case are not known, what we do know is that the girls had been spotted together out walking by various members of the public and captured on CCTV cameras, these two tiny figures in red Manchester United shirts were easy to spot around Soham but where had they gone? The truth was eventually to be known and it wasn't what anybody wanted to hear. The girls had walked past the home of Ian Huntley, a guy who was in his late 20s but had the personality of someone much younger, almost like an awkward teenage boy. He was a caretaker for the local high school and the girls recognised him as Miss Carr's partner. Maxine Carr had been a teaching assistant at the girl's school and they looked up to her. Maxine was in her early 20s and quite slim and pretty with a sweet personality, the girls adored her and the relationship was pretty much like a big sister with the two young girls feeling able to trust and listen to Maxine whenever they needed help or advice about something. 

(Jessica & Holly. Picture credit: manchestereveningnews)

The girls thought so much of Maxine that Holly made her a thank you card to mark the end of term. They must have thought that Ian was someone to be trusted, not only was a he a caretaker but he was Maxine's partner. They reportedly stopped to ask him how Maxine was and whether she had gotten the position at the school that she'd applied for. When Ian told the girls that Maxine hadn't got the job, they expressed their sadness. Ian later told investigators (in the beginning) that the girls simply walked away after asking about Maxine and that was the last he had seen of them. Ian made a point of inserting himself into everything that was going on with the frantic search for the girls. 400 police officers were working full time on the case and local volunteers joined in the search along with the parents of Holly and Jessica. At one point some of the personnel from the US Airforce had joined in the search as they had bases nearby. The search was very intensive and everyone was glued to the news reports and newspapers hoping for some positive news. 

With everything going on and concerns continuing to grow, there was one face that seemed to keep popping up on the TV screen and that was Ian Huntley's, for some reason this guy could not shut up and continued to give interviews declaring himself as one of the last people to see Holly and Jessica alive. Maxine Carr was out of town when the girls went missing, she had been visiting her mother at the time and having a sort of party weekend around the pubs and clubs of Grimsby. Various witnesses and CCTV footage confirmed that Maxine was where she said she was at the time. 

Ian played it to the back row, putting on the performance of the caring caretaker who was frantically searching for the girls. He would refuse to take a break during the searches and although he thought that he was a good actor, people began to grow suspicious. The police suspected him from day one and when an officer attended his house for a quick search, they noted Ian's strange demeanour. Things like the fact that the house stank of cleaning products and there was clothing that was soaking wet hanging outside on the washing line. It was obvious that Ian had been very busy cleaning the house from top to bottom. He'd also been seen cleaning his car whilst one of the searches was going on. 

Ian told Maxine when he picked her up from Grimsby that the police suspected him of being involved in Holly and Jessica's disappearance. He told her that he was completely innocent but very anxious about how things would look because he told her that he had seen the girls and they had visited the house but they left. He was worried about DNA being found if the cops decided to do another, more thorough search. Maxine, trusting him (for whatever reason) decided to ensure that the house was properly cleaned and gave Ian a false alibi. Her reason for this, she later explained, was because of Ian's past. Ian Huntley was no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, he was a violent sex offender who somehow managed to slip through the cracks and get a job as a caretaker at a school. Maxine claimed that she believed him to be innocent of any wrong doing. 

(Ian Huntley. Picture credit: nbcnews)

Maxine also did a few interviews and posed for the newspapers, holding the thank you card that Holly had given her. One of her interviews raised eyebrows however when she spoke of Holly in the past tense. It did put a chill down the spine and to this day, nobody knows how much Maxine Carr actually did know about what had really happened. Ian would later claim that she knew everything but got off lightly with the part she played in it all. 

As the suspicions grew, both Maxine and Ian were taken to the police station for questioning, more searches continued and investigators returned to Ian's house but also his place of work and it was there that they found materials matching the Manchester United shirts that the girls had been wearing when they went missing. The girls were sadly found, they had to be identified through DNA as both of their bodies had been badly burned. Ian Huntley managed to lure those two innocent girls into his home and what he did with them exactly is not known but their DNA was found in his bedroom as well as elsewhere in the house. Ian Huntley had a horrific past as a peadophile and was extremely abusive to his former partners, he had also sexually assaulted girls, he was a monster, a time bomb and now two young girls had lost their lives at his hands. The cause of death was determined as asphyxiation. 

Ian came up with all sorts of ridiculous stories about how he had been washing his dog in the bath and one of the girls had accidentally drowned and the other girl would not stop screaming so he had to kill her. It was sickening and disrespectful to the girls and their families. Maxine was said to have had a mental breakdown, she had already suffered from various eating disorders in the past but she was refusing to eat and had lost more weight. Ian had lost weight himself during the period that the searches were going on. 

When investigators told Maxine that Ian had murdered the girls and then disposed of their bodies, she howled and cried, she refused to believe it. She said she deeply regretted lying to the police to protect him. Bizarrely, after being told this horrible information, Maxine continued to be under Ian's spell for a while, whilst she was held in custody she repeatedly asked about Ian and was still convinced of his innocence. Eventually she would turn completely against him and as the pair were to have their day in court, she avoided eye contact with him completely and Ian was devastated. 

(Maxine Carr: Credit: dailyrecord)

Maxine was sentenced to three years imprisonment but served 21 months. She walked out of prison with quite a comfortable number, having a full life protection order, everything set up for her and even help to change her appearance. Some members of the public were outraged and felt that she knew more about the murders than she let on, some people could never forgive her for wasting police time and tax payers money as well as protecting what she knew was a known sex offended. 

Ian got given two life sentences, his life behind bars hasn't been without drama either. He's been moved from one prison to the next and various assaults on him have occurred. Fellow inmates have attempted to scold him with boiling water and slash him, he also tried various attempts at his own life. As I mentioned earlier, upon hearing of Maxine's release he claimed that she was more involved than she let on, he claimed that she knew he'd murdered the girls, that he had confessed to her before the police arrested him and it was her idea to burn the girls bodies. Some people have always been suspicious of Maxine Carr especially as she had spoken of Holly in the past tense whilst the search was going on and she helped clean the house. Other people believe that Ian is a pathological liar who is just angry that Maxine is out of prison and he isn't. 

Whatever the situation, I am glad that Ian Huntley is behind bars and I'm also glad that it hasn't been easy for him. In regards to Maxine Carr, I think that she should have spent longer in prison. She protected a dangerous man and how much did she really know? I guess, we'll never know. Another strange fact was that when she left prison, both her and her family were trying to make money writing her autobiography on her life with Ian and the circumstances around the murders. At first, a publisher was interested but as soon as the public got wind of it the plans were scrapped and no such book exists. 

(Ian Huntley: Credit: thesun)

Some people thought it was in poor taste that UK channel 5 had created a mini-series based on Maxine's account of what happened. It's unclear how involved she was with that project but there were concerns (not by the genuine public but by the authorities) that the series would have her in the press and she'd have to be moved again. A lot of people have not forgiven Maxine for giving Ian an alibi and there are still people fascinated with finding and exposing her. Various supposed sightings of Maxine have been reported and even innocent women baring a slight resemblance to her have been suspected and falsely accused of being her and ended up being physically assaulted. 

It's obvious that Ian Huntley will never get out of prison which is where he belongs, as for Maxine, there is some sympathy from some members of the public, I have seen comments under newspaper articles stating that they feel that she has done her time and to let her be. Do I think that she and Ian have genuine remorse? Ian Huntley cares for nobody but himself but Maxine having remorse could be possible, it was clear that Ian had a lot of control over her but as for her knowing more about what happened, I can't say, I have no idea and It would just be playing into Ian Huntley's hands because he wants the public to believe that Maxine was more involved. 

What are your thoughts on this case? Let me know in the comments below or email me at jocaledoniankitty@gmail.com

Further Reading & Sources:

Beyond Evil: Inside The Twisted Mind of Ian Huntley | Book by Nathan Yates

The Soham Murders: Article | Manchester Evening News

The Soham Murders: Article | The independent

The Soham Murders: Article | Metro

Maxine Carr: Article | Cosmopolitan

Ian Huntley: Article | The Mirror

Holly Wells: Article | Daily Mail

Maxine Carr: Article | The Guardian

The Soham Murders | Wikipedia

Ian Huntley: Article | The Sun

Ian Huntley: Article | Murderpedia

Ian Huntley: Article | Irish Mirror

Maxine Carr: Article | Wales Online 

The house in which Holly and Jessica were murdered, was demolished in 2004.

My heart goes out to those two beautiful angels, Jessica and Holly, those poor girls who didn't deserve any of this but the tiniest bit of comfort was that they are together, they loved each other so much and had such an incredible friendship right up to the end. RIP little angels. 

(Holly & Jessica. Credit: bbc)

I'm also thinking about Holly and Jessica's parents and family, as each year goes by it's another year without the girls and that must be so heartbreaking. A lot of questions remain unanswered and probably will never be answered. I wish good things for the Chapman and Wells families, they deserve so much because lord knows, they have been to hell and back. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest true crime post, as always I really do appreciate it. I will (hopefully) see you in my next post but in the meantime, I hope you will join me on my Social Media Platforms and if you are a regular reader of my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating here 

Thank you, take care until next time x

1 comment:

  1. Hello Jo, I hope that you’re having a wonderful Sunday.

    I just finished reading your latest true crime case. I was obviously shocked to read about what Ian Huntley has done to Holly and Jessica.

    I couldn’t agree more with you Jo. When I saw the picture of Holly and Jessica together wearing the Manchester United shirts knowing that it was their last picture together, I was heartbroken. Maxine has certainly a bigger role into what happen, she was definitely too protective of Ian but also under his control.

    Ian Huntley is a devilish evil person. The girls trust Maxine, so they thought that they could have trust Ian. The card that the girls have made to Maxine, both girls were so kind and they trust the wrong person. It’s beyond tragic.

    The fact that Ian Hunley was inserting himself into the investigation was so disturbing to read. A manipulative selfish, and narcissistic evil man.

    Ian Huntley is an abomination, a dangerous heartless vicious peadophile with no soul, and no conscience. How can a person do that to two beautiful young women with a bright future ahead of them? Beyond sad and tragic.

    I am happy to read that Ian Huntley will never ever get out of prison. I’m with you Jo, I think that Maxine should have spent many more years in prison. She knew the past of this man, she gave the police a false alibi, and she still decides to be protective of this man.

    Thank you for your brilliant work Jo, you are awesome.

    RIP Holly and Jessica, they will never be forgotten Xx

    My thoughts are with both families of these two angels Xx