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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Holly and Jessica: Your thoughts
A service to celebrate the lives of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman took place at Ely Cathedral for 2,000 relatives, friends and Soham residents as well as those who helped in the police investigation.
The parents of the murdered 10-year-olds had asked people to come to the service in brightly coloured clothes.
The best friends' bodies were found near RAF Lakenheath after the girls had been missing for 13 days, sparking a massive police hunt.
School caretaker Ian Huntley has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and charged with murdering the two best friends.
His girlfriend, Maxine Carr is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.
She made a tearful court appearance on Thursday via a video link to Holloway prison, where she will be held in custody for a further 28 days.
What are your thoughts on the tragedy? Tell us what you think.
Thank you for your tributes to Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Read a selection of your comments below.
Like many parents world wide, I cannot comprehend the immense sadness that the families must be feeling. I hope that they know that the whole world is with them, in spirit and thoughts.
I fully agree with Simon's comments. The thousands of grief groupies that descend on Soham with their flowers, cuddly toys and mawkish sentimentality need to wake up. The death of Holly & Jessica is terribly sad, but for most of us it is not a personal tragedy. The impact of their deaths will affect their parents & siblings for a very long time, perhaps forever. The rest of us can get on with our everyday lives.
Those of us who did not personally know the girls have no right to grieve over their death.
The sad fact is that children die every single day, sometimes violently, often with very destructive consequences for their parents and siblings.
These children were sinless. I hope and pray that the families have the patience to cope. May the light shine through your hearts.
I see the life of Holly and Jessica in the sunlight which comes through my window, lighting up the room for a few moments now and again and causing me to look out into the world and think life is not something which can so easily be destroyed.
Holly and Jessica are here with me, and there with you, they are in the good things we do with our lives and the warmth we share with those we care about. They are in the sounds of laughter and mischief and all that is noble and innocent in this hard world.
You knew when you closed your eyes everything was over. The terror was gone, the worry for your parents something from the past. You were probably sad to know it is over, because you didn't even have the time to say goodbye one last time. To perhaps look at your rooms once more, see your toys, page through your favourite books and run through the house. After your terrible ordeal, you deserve to be where you are now: Heaven.
So do what you do best where you are now, and be Holly and Jessica, just the way you used to be.
God will look after you now. He promised that over 2000 years ago. At least now we have the confirmation that you are safe.
Jessica and Holly, my thoughts are with you. Psalm 23 says "... though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no ill for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
I can understand Soham asking the media to leave, but please be patient with the rest of us who are visiting out of a shared sense of grief and disbelief. We're here to support, not intrude, and feel as awkward about coming as you do about having us there. We're all so sorry.
How I wish I could undo everything and get you both back.
I hope Jessica and Holly feel better in Heaven. I hope they get loads of happiness and help. I'm thinking of Jessica and Holly.
I have sent flowers to St Andrews Church in Soham, such a small gesture, but I felt I had to do something to let the families know that I care. Love and strength to their families and friends as they come to terms with this terrible, terrible situation.
I can only hope that the parents of Holly and Jessica might take a grain of comfort from the depth of feeling and sincere sympathy felt for them by the whole nation.
We just had to write and say how sorry we are to hear about Holly and Jessica, and are sickened about what happened to these two lovely young girls. They say time is a healer. Let's hope it is for their parents.
Rest easy little ones, the Lord knows.
All we can give is our love, and all you will need is ours and God's love to dull the pain. The two little girls will be with you each and every minute of your life, please make the memory beautiful, leave us to carry the hate and hurt and most of the load. We will see the girls in every smiling face of every little girl we see walking around our village. Keep them walking, keep the joy of life.
Tony & Ann Bernasconi, Warboys Cambs, England
God bless the parents and their sweet children whose spirits live on.
Dear Holly and Jessica, may you rest in God's peace and love. We hold you there.
I am a head nurse on a palliative care ward where I see people dying every day. But what happened here made me cry. They were two beautiful and shining flowers.
If I could I would bring them back but sadly I am not so powerful...
There is no death (author unknown).
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is the object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says - "There! She's gone!"
Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says "There! She's gone!" There are other eyes watching and other voices ready to take up the glad shout - "There! She comes!"
George Bradshaw, England
We have had some great success of late with the Amber Alert system here in the US. Organise your neighbours and friends to watch out for each other and their families. Know who the adults are in your town neighbourhoods and schools, find out as much as you can about new people in your area. If people work together in our communities we can reduce these tragic events in the future.
Dear Holly and Jessica,
It is with great sadness that I write this to the families of Holly and Jessica. I hope with time both your families will find the strength to rebuild your shattered lives and be able to look to the future with not too heavy a heart. God bless you all
I have not felt so depressed in many a year since learning of their deaths. I hope that the people responsible get the heaviest punishment possible.
Joanna Herman, England
I have learnt from this to cherish every moment with my children and not become so annoyed over silly things. I am still trying to give them the freedom they should have but this is very difficult at the moment. These two girls are in my thoughts all the time. I hope they did not suffer too much.
Angela, 15, UK
The whole nation has adopted your daughters. Take strength from the fact that we are all behind you and promise that Jessica and Holly will never be forgotten.
My eldest is to start school in a few weeks - she sees everyone around her as nice. She has very little fear or suspicion of people and I constantly have to shatter her world and change her view to be able to try and keep her safe. How dare somebody destroy lives in this way?
We in Mauritius have been following the Holly and Jessica case from the beginning and we were hoping so hard for their safe return. With this bad news we feel so depressed and very bad in our soul. All we can say to these parents is that we are praying for the capture of the murderer and be aware that you are not alone in this tragedy.
I lost my sister 10 years ago and I think the brothers and sisters of these two beautiful girls are forgotten. Please remember that they are so lost as to how to cope with these awful events as well. I am thinking of you all.
Goodnight, God bless. xx
I have a younger sister, soon to be six. I cannot imagine living a life without her. I just hope that one day I won't be scared of bringing my own children into the world.
Holly and Jessica,
Rest in peace.
God bless you both.
May those who are related to Holly and Jessica walk on and have the strength to continue. Their little souls will shine on in heaven forever. God bless them and their families.
I was back in the UK and having a nice time the day Jessica and Holly went missing. A chill came all over me, and since that day I had been waiting to hear of the girls' safe return to their homes. May God take them to a better place and may their angel faces shine on their parents and help them cope with their horrific loss.
I am 14 and since I read this news Holly and Jessica are always in my thoughts. May God give you enough strength to bear this pain. I hope it will never happen again.
Rev Dr Karen Stevens & daughter Carla Jane, Liverpool, UK
I can only cling to the hope that somewhere out there the Lord is watching over you now and has in his arms those two beautiful angels. We shall never forget them both... as Jesus once said "Suffer little children, come unto me..." and that's where they are now safe and warm in the arms of Jesus.
I love children but was never lucky enough to have any of my own. Now perhaps, it was a strange blessing for me, because I really don't know how I would have coped as a parent through the devastating time that Holly's, and Jessica's parents and families have had to endure. I have friends who have lost children and they tell me that tears eventually turn into treasured memories. You shouldn't make any child's life a misery by putting fear into their minds about what might happen to them and you can't possibly be with them every second to protect them, so how do you parents out there deal with this?
I have served my country in the armed forces and have experienced things that have made me feel that I am all cried out but as this situation with Holly and Jessica as the events unfolded has touched my heart and made each night a time of reflection and anger.
My heartfelt sympathy has to go out to the families of Holly and Jessica but I'd like to remind everybody here that there are other children missing, including Milly Dowler. Please don't forget them!
Do I see rememberence services, poems, flowers for the poor iranian asylum seeker who was stabbed to death recently? Or how about the 1000's of children who die daily in the un-developed third world? Of course not. Why is that i wonder?
I am 10 years old. I cannot understand why they did this to two beautiful girls. If the parents of Holly and Jessica are reading this, they must remember that Holly and Jessica aren't dead, they are alive inside all of our hearts, forever and ever.
I am a year older than Holly and Jessica. I have cried myself to sleep for the past two nights. Why don't they deserve to be running around, or laughing, or thinking about what they would like to do? I am so angry, it is painful for me to think about it. I would like to tell Holly and Jessica's parents that all over the world, people are thinking and grieving about them.
Sharaiyah, Melbourne, Australia
It's heartbreaking news. I cried myself to sleep last night thinking what they went through. I looked out my mum's window and saw two stars; I'm sure it was them trying to tell me something. May God hold them tight in his arms and one day we will all meet. Goodnight to Holly and Jessica.
I'd like to send my love to Holly and Jessica's parents. The most important things you can have of your lovely daughters are memories and they will never go. Your daughters will be up in heaven watching over you like guardian angels and keeping you safe. Just keep holding on.
Sending you my love.
My son had a terrible experience last year when someone tried to abduct him on his birthday. Thankfully he was not harmed but the experience has scarred the whole family and watching and praying for good news of Holly and Jessica has been hard for James as he does have some insight into how lucky he was. Our thoughts are with you all, to say how sorry we are just seems so inadequate. X
Hazera Bibi, UK
I am so very, very sorry. Six years ago, here in Belgium we too experienced the horror of abducted girls. There was a "white march" which 300,000 people attended, we were there too. Ever since that time I am grateful every time my child returns safely home. At this moment, every mother, and father, in the world surely must feel the loss of Holly and Jessica, no matter how far and remote we are from Soham. With love,
Rohan O'amrd, London, United Kingdom
Our heart and thoughts are with the families of Holly and Jessica at this terrible time. People the world over share your grief over the loss of your two beautiful daughters.
We pray that the families' pain be eased by time and love.
No words can describe how we feel. We all prayed for a happy ending but it was not to be.
What a tragic waste of two beautiful young lives.
Our love goes to the parents of Holly and Jessica who have shown such courage during this terrible time. May God help them now and grant them some peace in the long months to come. Also we pray for beautiful Holly and Jessica who are now safe in God's hands, two little girls innocent in such a cruel world.
I would just like to send our condolences to the families of Holly and Jessica. We hope you find some comfort knowing the whole word are thinking of you. Rest in peace angels.
With the daily senseless violence so prevalent in America, I nevertheless was completely devastated by the news of the death of these two beautiful innocent children. Words cannot express the sorrow I feel. I pray to God to protect all of his children and to comfort the family and the good people of Soham.
Our deepest sympathy to the families of Holly and Jessica and the village of Soham. You are in our prayers.
I can only imagine the pain you are going through with the tragic loss of your beautiful daughters.
I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I feel so devastated by what has happened to those beautiful girls. I will say a prayer for them and want you to know I am thinking of you.
My three daughters, their families and I would like to send our heartfelt sympathy to Holly and Jessica's parents. We have prayed for the safe return of the girls but now those prayers have turned to tears. Our hearts go out to you all.
My family and I would like to send our condolences to the families. As parents we know how it will feel to lose a child. May God grant them a place safe in his arms.
My most heartfelt condolences go to the parents of Holly and Jessica. I cannot begin to imagine the pain they must be going through. We had so prayed that the ending would be a happy one. May God be with them.
Our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Holly and Jessica. Cherish your memories.
Hugh Putt, Trinidad
Holly and Jessica will never be forgotten.
I do not have the right words to express how sad and sorry I am. Your beautiful daughters have been in our thoughts constantly, we hoped and prayed it would not be. We send you our love and hope you can find your way through this truly dreadful time.
We so hoped they were still alive.
I hope the full weight of the law is bought to bear on the people who did this.
Our love and prayers across the miles to the families of these two little angels. God bless all of you, we are so sorry.
Having followed the whole story from when the girls first went missing, it is so hard to come to terms with this shocking outcome. There are so many questions which I'm sure the nation would like answered. Why did these young innocent girls have to lose their lives?
The dysfunction is very well hidden until it erupts but whoever is responsible for this atrocity will have shown signs. The problem is that they are difficult to read unless one is familiar with this kind of dysfunction. I have found that most people are unwilling or unable to face the violence, hatred, and ugliness of the world. I believe this is a coping mechanism, but it allows sociopaths to walk virtually unnoticed among us. The real monsters in the world look distressingly like us.
This is a tragedy that has transcended all boundaries of geography, race and religion. The only positive thing that can ever come out of this, (and something positive must come out of this), is to make sure that this never happens again.
There is no punishment strong enough for whoever did this to these two girls.
Our hearts are broken by these events on both sides of the Atlantic.
I can only say we are thinking of them and hope that in time this horrible reality might become a little bit easier to bear.
We all can only hope and pray that we do not see this happening again.
I do not have the words to express my sorrow. I have a 10-year-old daughter - I cannot imagine how the girls' parents are coping and my heart goes out to them, and all in Soham. The girls' classmates need all our care - they are old enough to know just what has happened to their friends, but too young to even begin to cope with their feelings. You are all in my thoughts.
My 10-year-old daughters keeps asking me why the girls were killed and I have not an answer, it is just devastating, but we shall all overcome and then we need to ask ourselves very hard questions as a society, country and the whole world. What really happened to our moral values and sanctity of life?
My prayers go to both parents. This horrible tragedy has made me reflect on how fragile life really is.
I was really shocked last weekend as I followed the news in the UK. I visit the UK very often as I have relatives there and I really love your country. Here in Malta we are all praying for them, here our children are our whole lives and we cannot imagine how the families will continue. All I can say is that both families will be in our thoughts and may God help them to forgive the persons who did these things to their loving children.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jessica and Holly's parents and family. Our thoughts must also go to Millie's parents whose lives have also been turned upside down.
I am a mere bit older than Holly and Jessica. My heart is with you, my tears are for you. I'm so sorry that you were brought up in this horrid, horrid world. God bless you and your families, may you rest in peace. xxxx
I hope God will receive Jessica and Holly in His hands and give my sympathies to the parents. Jessica and Holly are two angels in the sky. Sorry not to be able to help.
To the dear parents of Holly and Jessica:
May you find God's peace in the midst of the storm, God's love in the midst of hate, and the sure and certain knowledge that you do not grieve alone.
When you cry, we cry with you, when you hurt, we hurt.
With sincere and deepest sympathy.
D M Dutton, UK
I cried last night because I was angry, angry that in their world of innocence they came upon a kind of evil that should never been allowed to have reared its head at them.
Something must be done to deal with this problem; not small changes in the law, but something radical is needed.
I agree with Alexia, that radical action is required. We need to make our streets safe for our children again.
The question everyone must be asking is why would anyone do this? It is such a senseless act of destruction on two beautiful little girls who should still be laughing and having fun together.
There are no words to fully express the anger I feel today.
We've been following the Holly and Jessica case from the beginning and we had so much hope for their safe return to their families. This sad news has come as a great shock.
What a sad state of affairs for what used to be such a safe country to live in just a few short decades ago.
Let's hope that some reform comes out of this terrible tragedy and this terrible crime against innocence, which happens with alarming frequency today in our society.
Mary Anne Crook, Scotland
Unlike Mary Ann Cooke I totally disagree that this is "mercifully extremely rare". Every day it seems children somewhere are suffering and I worry for all our children's futures.
As parents of twin 12-year-old girls we cannot begin to imagine the pain and devastation Holly and Jessica's parents must be going through, our hearts go out to them. We in Australia have been watching and praying for a better outcome. It's really sad in this the year 2002 that children cannot walk down a street safely. Society needs to do more to protect our precious young children.
We at Lakenheath Base are devastated by what has happened. The whole conversation here on base is about nothing else but Holly and Jessica. I drove past Wanford Road this morning on my way to work, and a chill came all over my body.
I would like a site to be able to express my condolences to the bereaved parents of Holly and Jessica. I teach here and taught in UK for many years. I was in tears when I heard the news, I've been following the story on BBC World News. I'm sure many other people around the world would want to send messages of sympathy.
Being parents of two young children, our hearts go out to the parents, family and friends of Holly and Jessica. We find it extremely disturbing that our children are not safe to walk our streets without the fear that they will be assaulted or worse. We have prayed all week that the news would be good and that those lovely little girls would be returned to their parents where they belong, but it looks like all our (and the rest of the UK's) prayers are in vain. As a society we need to be doing more to make sure our children are safe, But what is the answer? It seems our justice system is not severe enough.
My husband and I feel absolutely devastated for Holly and Jessica's families and would like to send our heartfelt support for what they must be going through (we can only imagine!) and as fellow parents say how sorry we are for all the anguish they have and will have to endure.
We must learn from this tragedy - and others like it. Failure to do so would be irresponsible.
We must understand what motivates people to carry out such horrific crimes against these innocent children. Unless we aim to understand the psychology of those that commit these acts, I fear that this dreadful incident will not be the last.
I retired from the police this year after 30 years. I have had to deal with grief on a regular basis, but this is truly heartbreaking, especially as I have three girls of my own. God help their parents ease the pain. The police officers dealing with this case, will be devastated and hurting, but professionalism won't let them show it until they get home, so God help them as well.
It's such a sad time in England today. After so much hope, all that is left is much loss. May god give comfort to the friends and families of Holly and Jessica, and support to all the millions also touched by this loss. Let's hope that the police continue their excellent work and without hatred, prejudice and anger, justice will be done.
I have been watching and following the news since this all began. There should be tighter laws to protect our children. As a mother of two myself I can't even try to imagine what Holly and Jessica's parents are going through. My heart goes out to them.
As the parent of a daughter just turned 11 my heart goes out the parents of Holly and Jessica. But some of my anger points to the politicians and authorities who time and again seem unable to provide a safe environment for our children who are now prisoners in their own homes.
I have not stopped thinking about the girls all weekend. I have not slept at all and my heart goes out to the people of Soham and the parents. I now give my eight-year-old daughter an extra special hug at bedtime, but there are two sets of families who now cannot. I will never forget Holly and Jessica, I don't think the nation ever will. God bless.
This is a devastating tragedy from all points of view. The impact of this and other similar tragedies on the freedom that we can allow our children to play without constant attention is particularly saddening. As someone who grew up during the 80s in a rural area, not unlike Soham, I can appreciate what that freedom to explore and play means to a young child. I am not an advocate of the death penalty, but for such crimes and their social implications I am sorely tempted to review my opinion.
Tolkien once wrote "There are many people who deserve death. There are many dead that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then don't be to eager to dish out death as a punishment". Wise words.
I want to let the parents know that they are in my thoughts every day and every minute. I have a 13-year-old boy, and it must be the hardest thing any parent has to go through: the loss of a child. Please let them know that over here in Belgium people are thinking of them. Lots of strength to both families.
Out of the mosaic of life, two precious pieces have prematurely and tragically been taken. Our thoughts are with the families of these two beautiful girls.
Even though we are so far away this awful tragedy has had a huge impact here, our thoughts go out to the parents, relatives and all who knew these two wonderful young girls. With love, Helen and friends.
Every second of every day my family ask why. We have two children (soon to be 3 )I cannot imagine anyone ever hurting my kids. I cannot express my sadness for the families of Holly and Jessica. The heart of my own family goes to them.
For the rest of our life we will never understand this. Bless you.
I can only say that my thoughts are with Holly and Jessica's parents at this terribly dark time. Out of tragedy, the community has came closer together. I hope every member of the Soham community can help heal each other.
I am sure that it goes without saying, that our hearts go out to both of these families and hope that the grace and goodwill of god will give them the inner strength to come through this most trying ordeal. I pray that they may find peace in their hearts and that someday they will find the tranquillity they so richly deserve. God bless both Jessica and Holly. Safe in the arms of Jesus. You are in our thoughts.
I'm a dad and my heart bleeds. I cannot imagine a world without my daughters. We all feel the pain. It is devastating and the gloom sets over the whole country. May we all also spare a thought to all those other hundreds of other missing children whose parents were not fortunate enough to receive this much of help and media coverage in search of their loved ones. It is dreadful when you loose some one very close to you. Especially in this way.
To Jessica and Holly's families, remember parents hold their children's hands for just a little while, but hold their hearts forever. May God bless you all, sleep tight little angels.
Treasure the memories of the happy times, the fun and the laughs you had together as a family. Don't let anything spoil these, they are to precious. I pray that these memories will give you the strength to see this through. your children have gone to a place that's as beautiful as them and one day you will see them again. please hold on to this belief.
I have 2 daughters of my own, one the same age as Holly & Jessica. I am not a religious person, but felt the need to pray for their safe return every night. When the very sad news was released I just couldn't imagine what the girls families were going through and now pray for them and all our children. Let's do more to protect them and leave the girls families to grieve for their tragic loss in private.
Simon, London, UK
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