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Soham Murder Detective Said Ian Huntley Helped With Investigation Until He Made Key Mistake

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Soham Murder Detective Said Ian Huntley Helped With Investigation Until He Made Key Mistake

The detective in charge of the Soham Murders case says Ian Huntley actually helped with the investigation until he made a fatal mistake.

In 2002, best friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were brutally murdered by their school caretaker at his Cambridgeshire home.

In the days that followed, local residents and police tried desperately to track down the two young girls, with Huntley even assisting police himself.

Retired detective superintendent David Hankins headed up the case, and said he spoke with Huntley on a daily basis as he opened the school hall each morning during the search.

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Holly and Jessica disappeared in 2002. Credit: Alamy
Holly and Jessica disappeared in 2002. Credit: Alamy

Speaking about that time, Mr Hankins said he didn't notice anything wrong at first.

The 71-year-old told the Mirror: "I arrived at 7am on the first morning and the irony was that Ian Huntley was the one who let me in.

"I used to see him on a daily basis. He was just a normal bloke, a youngish chap who sorted things out for the dozens of camera crews and reporters.

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"He didn’t seem odd at all. We used to have a lot of conversations, I knew his name but whether he knew my name I don’t know."

However, once Huntley spoke publicly, Mr Hankins said that's when the truth finally came out.

After his interview with Channel 5 aired, stories from his past began to come out, which pointed police in his direction.

David Hankins says Huntley's big mistake was going on television. Credit: Channel 5
David Hankins says Huntley's big mistake was going on television. Credit: Channel 5
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Hankins added: "Nobody thought anything about him, it was only when the evidence came out that he made the mistake he had appeared on camera."

It later turned out that Huntley had lured Holly and Jessica into his house and murdered them.

The girls were on their way to buy sweets when the caretaker told them to come inside to see his girlfriend Maxine Carr, who was a teaching assistant at their school.

After his appearances on TV, some locals apparently recognised Huntley as someone who had been linked to a previous sex attack, while Carr had also spoken to news crews, referring to Holly in the past tense.

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Mr Hankins (centre) at a press conference alongside Holly and Jessica's parents. Credit: Alamy
Mr Hankins (centre) at a press conference alongside Holly and Jessica's parents. Credit: Alamy

The 48-year-old was found guilty of the murder of both Holly and Jessica and was sentenced to life in prison.

Carr was also convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to three-and-a-half years, serving just 21 months.

Mr Hankins said the case haunts him to this day.

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"It’s 20 years ago but it’s still one of the worst cases I’ve ever had to deal with," he added. "It was a daunting experience, it was harrowing, it was a lot of pressure.

"I’ve never dealt with anything like that and there’s not many officers who would have dealt with anything like that.

"There were two girls who had been murdered and it had never happened before, certainly not in my 30 years service."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Crime, True Crime, UK News

Dominic Smithers
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