VIEWERS were last night left sickened watching Maxine Carr proudly show off a card from murdered Holly Wells on a documentary about the shocking Soham deaths.
Carr, whose boyfriend was eventually convicted for murdering Holly and Jessica Chapman in August 2002, featured on Huntley: Five Mistakes that Caught a Killer.
She was seen trying to hide the fact her evil boyfriend Ian Huntley had killed the two girls when she revealed the card, complete with a heartfelt poem, during an interview.
Carr, jailed for three-and-a-half years for perverting the course of justice with her lies, even read out the affectionate card as the search for the schoolgirls continued.
Viewers dubbed the documentary “chilling” and said it was “giving me shivers” and “sending chills down my spine” as they watched the pair lie and cover their tracks.
One person added: “The pair of them are psychotic.
“Imagine showing off a handmade card from the girl your boyfriend murdered and you helped hide.”
Another said: “To think Maxine Carr has a happy life of anonymity for covering for Ian Huntley horrified me.”
A horrified viewer tweeted: “How any woman could lie for a man knowing that he had murdered two children she saw everyday is beyond me.”
In the documentary, footage from the time of the girls’ disappearance showed her telling a reporter: “Nobody believes that they would ever run away.
“They were very close to all their family.
“This is something I’ll probably keep for the rest of my life, I think. It’s what Holly gave me on the last day of term.
“She gave me this with a poem on the inside saying ‘to a special teaching assistant’ really, and we’ll miss her a lot and we’ll see her in the future.
“And that’s the kind of girl she was. She was just lovely, really lovely.”
Huntley, a 45-year-old school caretaker, killed the 10-year-old girls at his house in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in August 2002 before dumping their bodies in a ditch.
This evening a Channel 5 documentary revealed that despite telling countless lies, Huntley made five crucial mistakes that saw him caught by cops.
But experts revealed they think had he not tripped himself up, he might have got away with the sickening crimes.
“If Huntley hadn’t have made those critical mistakes then a guilty man could well have walked free,” Tony Rogers, Soham murder inquiry adviser, says in the documentary.
In the days and weeks that followed, he span a sickening web of lies, even appearing on TV to claim that he’d spoken with the youngsters shortly before they disappeared.
The documentary also shows police admitting that it was a mistake to issue the famous photo of Holly and Jessica wearing the football shirts.
They say the image triggered worldwide public interest which placed an enormous amount of pressure on the investigation.
THE SOHAM KILLINGS: DOUBLE MURDER MYSTERY THAT SHOCKED THE NATION
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman both vanished from a family barbecue in Soham, Cambridgeshire on August 4, 2002.
The schoolgirls, who were both 10, had left the gathering to go to a nearby shop to buy sweets.
Their families never saw them alive again.
Cambridgeshire Police launched one of the biggest enquiries ever mounted to find the girls as hundreds of Brits volunteered to join the search effort.
Holly and Jessica’s parents desperately appealed for their safe return.
Meanwhile, Ian Huntley, a college caretaker, and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, who was a teaching assistant at the girls’ primary school, made several media appearances also saying they wanted the children to return home safely.
They both knew the girls were already dead.
Huntley, who said he was the last person to see them before their disappearance, had lured the pair into his and Carr’s house as they walked by.
He never revealed the details of what happened inside, but both girls were dead within an hour of entering the house.
Huntley ditched their bodies six miles away near RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.
He later returned to burn them.
In court, he said he accidentally knocked Holly into a filled bath while helping her with a nosebleed, and she drowned.
He also claimed he unintentnionally killed Jessica by suffocating her when she screamed.
Carr, who wasn’t implicated in the murder, gave Huntley an alibi saying she was with him all day when the girls vanished, but this was disproved with phone records.
In December 2003, Huntley was sentenced to two life terms in prison with a minimum 40-year tariff.
Carr was given three-and-a-half years for perverting the course of justice.
She was released after 21 months in May 2004, given a new identity and has since had a child of her own.
Here are the five missteps Huntley took as he tried to evade justice…
Mistake #1 – The press
It was shortly after 6pm on August 4, 2002, that school pals Holly and Jessica left a family barbecue in Soham to go and buy some sweets. They would never return from their trip.
At the time, Huntley, originally from Grismby, Lincolnshire, was living at 5 College Close in the same town with his girlfriend Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant in the two girls’ class.
The caretaker spoke with Cambridgeshire police, admitting that he was the last person to have seen Holly and Jessica alive, but was initially reluctant to talk to journalists.
Eventually, he agreed to one interview – then went on to develop a taste for the spotlight.
Press Association reporter Brian Farmer, who interviewed Huntley, recalls: “He was quite emotional, he was quite upset, it seemed strange, he was more upset than Maxine Carr in his mannerisms and that seemed odd because Maxine knew them [the girls].”
However, Huntley was reluctant to have his photo taken, which aroused more suspicion.
Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson, who also interviewed the killer, believes that his interviews with the press were “probably the beginning of his undoing”.
“He couldn’t resist being part of the story,” Mr Thompson says in the ‘5 Mistakes That Caught a Killer’ documentary, which airs tomorrow night.
The publicity backfired in Huntley’s hometown of Grimsby, where locals recognised him as someone who had been linked with a sex attack on women.
Meanwhile, Carr herself had started speaking to TV crews. Chillingly in one, she referred to Holly – who at this point was still missing – in past tense.
Mistake #2 – The phone
As the hunt continued for Holly and Jessica, Chris Stevenson, ex-Detective Chief Superintendent and head of the murder inquiry, refocused the probe on the immediate locality.
He says in the documentary: “It is easy to look back in hindsight and see that by using the media to publicise the disappearance of these two girls and spread it almost worldwide was a mistake.
“One of the first things I did when I took over was to refocus the investigation into the immediate locality. It is a standard phrase to clear the ground under your feet and I didn’t feel that that had been done.”
The refocus included a review of the whereabouts of Jessica’s mobile phone.
Police discovered the device – which had vanished along with the youngsters – had been switched off at 6.46pm, shortly after the pair had been last seen alive on CCTV.
They expected its ‘goodbye’ signal – something phones emit when they are turned off – to have been picked up by the local Soham mast, according to the documentary.
However, it was actually sent to the Burwell mast, five miles south. Forensic engineers found the one place where this could have happened was “right outside” Huntley’s home.
The evidence against him was mounting…
Mistake #3 – The lies
A third mistake was made – this time, by Carr – during the manhunt.
When questioned about her boyfriend’s movements that day, Carr claimed they had been together at 5 College Close – even telling detectives what she’d cooked for lunch.
“Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower, cabbage and roast potatoes,” she recalled.
But this would prove to be a big error.
After checking out Carr’s claims, officers discovered she had actually been visiting her mum in Grimsby, 100 miles away, with phone records showing she’d called Huntley several times.
“It was a big mistake on her part because we always check these things,” says ex-Assistant Chief Constable Mr Rogers.
Meanwhile, Huntley was visibly struggling under voluntary questioning by police, even sitting in silence for an astonishing 55 seconds after being asked one question.
Clearly, the pressure of lying was getting to him.
Mistake #4 – The shirts
With the two schoolgirls still missing, determined officers made their way back to the secondary school where Huntley worked and carried out a further search.
And this time, there was a massive – yet devastating – find. Jessica and Holly’s clothing had been discovered in a bin, concealed by a plastic liner, inside the building.
Mr Stevenson, who was alerted to his team’s discovery late at night, recalls: “I shall never forget the moment that I received the phone call that they had found the girls’ clothing.”
The clothes were partially burned and in such a state that police now believed Holly and Jessica were dead, according to the documentary.
Huntley, who had access to the school, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Carr was also taken into custody and changed her story, finally admitting she was in Grimsby on August 4.
Huntley’s fingerprint was later found on the liner inside the bin, while fibres from the schoolgirls’ shirts were discovered inside his home and on one of his boots.
The documentary also reveals that the killer approached Special Constable Sharon Gilbert during the search for Holly and Jessica and asked her how long DNA lasts for.
She says in the show: “I just thought it was strange, very strange.”
Police believe that it was after this conversation that Huntley went to the woods where he buried the youngsters’ bodies, cut off their football shirts and tried to burn them.
Mistake #5 – The car
On August 17, 13 days after they vanished, Jessica and Holly were found in a ditch near RAF Lakenheath. Due to the state of their bodies, it was impossible to tell who was who.
It would later emerge that Huntley had used his ageing Ford Fiesta to dump the bodies. And in yet another mistake, he had tried to cover his tracks by getting new tyres fitted.
Detectives spotted the tyres in a crucial picture of Huntley, which showed him getting into the red car and had been taken after his press interview with Mr Farmer.
It turned out the caretaker had bought the tyres the day after murdering Holly and Jessica, even paying the fitter £10 to put a false registration on the invoice.
However, despite Huntley’s efforts to hide any damning evidence, forensic geologists found substances including chalk on the suspension arm on the car’s front left wheel.
It matched the chalk that was on a track near the ditch where the girls’ bodies were discovered.
Huntley was charged with Holly and Jessica’s murders and, after four days of deliberations, jurors at London’s Old Bailey found him guilty of the killings and he was locked up for life.
He was later ordered to serve a minimum of 40 years behind bars.
MOST READ IN NEWS
Carr, meanwhile, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Today, she is out of prison and living under a secret identity.
But Mr Rogers believes she’s as “equally evil” as her monster former boyfriend.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that she knew what had happened. She could have taken the opportunity to come forward, told us what she knew, but she didn’t,” he says.
- Huntley: Five Mistakes that Caught a Killer aired on Channel 5 at 10pm
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