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Ian Huntley

From Academic Kids

Ian Kevin Huntley (born 31 January 1974 in Grimsby) is a former school caretaker, who in 2003 was convicted of the murder of two young girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Contents

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 and 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 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.

Soham murders

Beginnings

In 1999, 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, Huntley was in a grim frame of mind. Carr had gone to visit family back in Grimsby and he was suspicious that she was cheating on him. At around 6.00pm, 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 the girl's school and had got along well with them.

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. The police believe that Huntley killed the girls in a jealous rage.

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. They were found 13 days later, on 17 August, 2002, 12 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 Wells into the bath while helping her control a nosebleed and had accidentally suffocated Chapman 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.

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 Chapman, 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.

Huntley's minimum sentence has yet to be decided, but he is likely to spend around 25 or 30 years behind bars until he is considered for parole. When he is eventually released, he is likely to receive a new identity to reduce his risks of falling victim to reprisal attacks.

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