Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Soham Murders Trial

A Heart Wrenching Discovery

On August 17, 2002, 13 days after the girls disappeared, a game warden walking through the woods made a heart wrenching discovery. He found the girls' partially burned bodies in a six-foot-deep ditch close to the RAF Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk. Autopsy reports on the girls listed their probable cause of death as asphyxiation. The girl's parents' worst nightmare became a reality.

Location of Chapman & Wells bodies
Location of Chapman & Wells bodies

When the news broke of the girl's murders, the nation mourned leaving many in a state of shock and disbelief. The question that was on most people's minds was how anyone could harm two innocent girls like Jessica and Holly. Such barbarism was simply beyond comprehension.   

The evidence against Huntley was escalating daily. The location of the bodies further tied him to the case because he was known to have previously gone plane spotting in the area. Moreover, the area was in close proximity to his father's house.

During a more intensive search of his house and car, forensics specialists found fibers that were eventually matched to the girls' clothes. According to a November 24, 2003 BBC News article, there was also evidence of Huntley's hairs found on Holly and Jessica's soccer jerseys, as well as fibers from his clothes and carpets from his house and car. Furthermore, investigators were able to trace the last signal from Jessica's mobile phone, which she had with her at the time of her disappearance, to a small area directly near Huntley's home, the BBC reported in a November 6, 2003 article.

Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr

Three days later, Huntley was formally charged with the murder of the girls. His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, was also arrested for assisting an offender, as well as conspiring to obstruct the course of justice. Carr provided Huntley with an alibi, suggesting to police, that at the time the girls were abducted she was alone at the house with Huntley. However, investigators learned that she was actually in another town visiting her mother at the time of the girls' abduction and murders.

Despite the emerging facts and evidence, Huntley and Carr maintained their innocence claiming they had nothing to do with the girls' deaths. None-the-less, they were jailed until the upcoming trial scheduled to take place in November 2003. If they were found guilty, the maximum sentence they could receive was life in prison.

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