Ian Huntley is one of Britain’s most notorious killers - he took the lives of 10-year-old schoolgirls and best friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in August 2002. His financée, Maxine Carr, who knew both children because they attended the school where she worked, provided Huntley with a false alibi.
Despite their best efforts to avoid justice, both Huntley and Carr were brought to trial and sentenced for their crimes. A two-part documentary about double child murderer Ian Huntley has aired on Channel 5 earlier this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman from Soham.
The deaths of the two girls shocked the nation and changed the course of British policing. This month, a Channel 5 drama miniseries, Maxine, will explore Carr’s role in attempting to derail the police investigation and help her boyfriend escape justice.
What happened to Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman?
On August 4, 2002, 10-year-old school friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were attending a barbecue at Jessica’s family home in Soham, Cambridgeshire. The two girls left the house to buy sweets from a vending machine at the local sports centre, and on their return, local resident and school caretaker Ian Huntley lured the pair into his home.
Huntley murdered the children - likely via asphyxiation - before disposing of their bodies in an irrigation ditch close to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Holly and Jessica’s bodies were discovered two weeks later, on August 17 2002. Walkers found the remains next to a dirt track near Thetford Forest, approximately 40 miles from Soham. They had been burned and dumped beside one another.
Who is killer Ian Huntley and where is he now?
Ian Huntley was working as a caretaker at the local secondary school, Soham Village College, at the time of Holly and Jessica’s disappearance. He had been investigated for rape and underage sex with girls before moving to Cambridgeshire, but there was never sufficient evidence to convict him.
He was engaged to Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant at Holly and Jessica’s school, who knew both children and looked after them. Ian Huntley was convicted of the murder of both girls in December 2003 and was sentenced to two life sentences, which means he will serve a minimum of 40 years in prison.
Maxine Carr knowingly provided Huntley with a false alibi and received a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for conspiring with Huntley to pervert the course of justice. Huntley is currently imprisoned at high-security HMP Frankland in Durham, which houses other notorious criminals, including Milly Dowler murderer Levi Bellfield and Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens.
In November 2019, Huntley was placed in solitary confinement after he attacked a prison officer. He swore at a prison officer and was hauled before staff for an adjudication hearing, which ended in Huntley kicking another guard and being put into solitary confinement.
What does the documentary focus on?
Soham: The Murder of Holly & Jessica takes a look at a crime that shocked the entire country and the events that unfolded over 14 days in August 2002 in the Cambridgeshire town. The programme explores the circumstances of the disappearance, the desperate hunt for the two friends, and how the true horror of the crime was revealed. The two-part documentary aired on Channel 4 in March this year and is available to watch on My5 now.
When is Maxine on TV?
The first episode of Maxine will air on Channel 5 on Monday 10 October at 9pm - there are three hour-long episodes in the series and they will be released at the same time nightly. Episodes will also be available to watch on My5 shortly after they are first broadcast.