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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 14:29 GMT
Tributes paid to Soham inquiry team
Det Ch Supt Chris Stevenson
Det Ch Supt Chris Stevenson said Huntley was a "callous" child killer
The detective in charge of the Soham murder case has thanked the investigation team for its "painstaking" work carried out in "distressing and difficult circumstances."

In a statement given outside the Old Bailey, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson said Ian Huntley had done everything in his power to evade capture.

He said that in the days the girls were missing - with the help of a false alibi from his former girlfriend Maxine Carr - "he must have thought he would get away with it".

Of Carr the detective said: "She will carry that with her conscience for the rest of her life."

Perhaps one day he might demonstrate a sliver of humanity and explain why he did what he did on that terrible day last August
Det Ch Supt Chris Stevenson

He thanked Jessica and Holly's parents for their support of the investigating team.

"Their fortitude, patience and dignity has been truly remarkable.

"I'd like to place on record my thanks to them for their unstinting support in the face of such adversity," he said.

Story 'implausible'

The detective then paid tribute to the "tireless" work of officers from local and national forces and from specialist units, and to international experts, and the media team.

He also thanked the prosecution QC Richard Latham and his colleagues for their "consummate skill" in winning a double murder conviction.

Det Ch Supt Stevenson that Huntley had committed one of the most "wicked crimes imaginable".

He said Huntley had consistently refused to speak to police and by his actions forced the Chapman and Wells families to endure the ordeal of a trial.

We are pleased justice has been achieved for those two little girls
Marion Bastin, CPS

Huntley failed to convince the jury of his "implausible" version of events, and only he knew why he had killed Holly and Jessica, said the detective.

"Perhaps one day he might demonstrate a sliver of humanity and explain why he did what he did on that terrible day last August," he said.

Speaking after the jury returned its verdicts, Marion Bastin of the Crown Prosection Service (CPS) also thanked all those involved in the case.

"We made sure that we blocked every avenue Ian Huntley went down to worm his way out of the murders.

Jigsaw complete

"It left him with no alternative but to fall back on a final story which was no more than a tissue of lies to save his own skin."

She added: "The CPS and police had worked day by day to piece together a jigsaw of evidence to find justice for Holly and Jessica.

"Today that jigsaw has been completed.

"We are pleased justice has been achieved for those two little girls."

She said it was the biggest case ever handled by Cambridgeshire Police, involving more than 6,800 statements, over 7,300 exhibits, nearly 24,000 documents and hundreds of hours of video and media material.

She thanked the police, prosecuting counsel, witnesses, forensic and other experts and her own CPS team members for their "dedicated" work they have put into this case.

She said it was "touching" that the people of Soham had left their town "virtually deserted" on the day of a jury visit so the court could do its work without any distraction.

"I am sure they will be satisfied that justice has been done," she said.

Finally, she paid tribute to Jessica and Holly's parents, family and friends.

"Mr and Mrs Chapman and Mr and Mrs Wells have waited a long time for today's outcome and have shown enormous patience and trust in the prosecution team throughout this ordeal.

"We have all admired their dignity and restraint at a time of such incomprehensible anguish."


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