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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.
Gary Whitehorn, England

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.
Will, London, UK

These children were sinless. I hope and pray that the families have the patience to cope. May the light shine through your hearts.
T. Hussain, England

I know that life's not over for them

Jared Brown, Sweden
I think of the girls, of their life, of the energy and promise and vigour and laughter and sulking and chatting and playing and Beckham-idolising, and all the other ingredients of a billion other children, and I know that life's not over for them. I may not have a God, but surely it is not possible that that which was so alive, can suddenly cease to be.

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.
Jared Brown, Sweden

We have the confirmation that you are safe

Monique Carsten, UK
Dear Holly and Jessica
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.
All my love,

Monique Carsten, UK

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."
Be assured that the Lord is with you all the way. May the Lord continue to comfort your parents. To the killers - you will only reap what you have sown.
Carole-Ann, London, England

My heart gets smaller

Joana, Portugal
Every time I think about having a son or daughter, my heart gets smaller. I'm very afraid of what may happen to him/her. This tragedy touched me very deep, and I guess everyone here in Portugal feels the same... Be as brave as you can.
Joana, Portugal

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.
Adrian, UK, Somersham (village local to Soham)

How I wish I could undo everything and get you both back.
Shaz, UK

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.
Emily (age 6), Cheshire England

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.
Lisa Armstrong, Cheshire, UK

I feel so helpless at the moment, as I'm sure most of the country does

Louise, UK
I am 17 and intend to follow a forensic science course at University in October. Apart from wondering whether I could cope with such a horror, it makes me more determined to follow my dream as I can hopefully give my input to stop and catch the people who cause so much pain in our lives. I feel so helpless at the moment, as I'm sure most of the country does, as there is nothing we can say or do that will bring the two little girls back.
Louise, UK

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.
Elizabeth, England

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.
Linda Girvin, Scotland

Rest easy little ones, the Lord knows.
Colin Piggott, England

Make the memory beautiful, leave us to carry the hate and hurt

Tony & Ann Bernasconi, England
To the parents
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.
VJ, England

Dear Holly and Jessica, may you rest in God's peace and love. We hold you there.
Sister Judith, UK

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...
Sigrid, Belgium

Gone from my sight, that is all

Author unknown
To the family and friends of Holly and Jessica: I hope this poem will give you all some small comfort in your suffering. God bless you.

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!"
And that is dying.
Frances, England

I feel angry when people talk about God

George Bradshaw, England
It's touching to see the feelings of the world at large. However, I feel angry when I read messages from people who talk about God, angels, heaven etc. If there was a God, He or She would have stopped those two children from being harmed in the first place. Keep the empathy coming.
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.
Carrue, USA

I would like a national two minute silence

Stephen, UK
I would like to see a national two minute silence in the near future to think of these children and to express the great sadness we feel.
Stephen, UK

Dear Holly and Jessica,
I hope God looks after you. Have a great time in Heaven. Hold onto each other.
Courtney, aged 7, England

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
David, UK

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.
Alan Moore, England

My daughter will never be allowed the same freedom

Joanna Herman, England
My daughter is also called Jessica and she is 10 years old and will never be allowed the same freedom as she had before.
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.
Karen, England

Well done to Holly and Jessica's parents for staying positive

Angela, 15, UK
Holly and Jessica seem like such loving children, how could someone live with this for the rest of their life? Well done to Holly and Jessica's parents for staying positive throughout the two weeks and sorry it came to this.
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.
Roy, Yorkshire, England

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?
Louise Buck, England

I am very scared of leaving the house alone

Kat, England
I am 11 and I am normally out alone a lot but after following the story very closely I am very scared of leaving the house alone. There are so many sick, sad people it terrifies me.
Kat, England

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.
Steeve Lenette, Island of Mauritius

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.
Fiona, Dorking, Surrey,

Goodnight, God bless. xx
Daisy Pedder, England

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.
Simone, Wales, UK

We shall all never forget those two beautiful little girls and how tragically we came to know them

Sharron Thomas
South Wales
No one really dies, their souls walk with their loved ones; their faces touch the warm cheeks of their parents; their hands reach out to all; their hearts sing to all; they live a life of peace and happiness; trying to lead us down the path of peace, and although not everyone makes it down that path, like Holly and Jessica, they seek peace in an immortal place; the white towers of heaven.
Oliver, England

Holly and Jessica,
gentle Jesus up above,
give Holly and Jessica our love,
two little angels hand in hand,
playing together in your land.

Rest in peace. God bless you both.
Julie Moore, Norfolk

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.
Stuart Reid, Scotland

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.
Kalu, Hong Kong

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.
Holly + Jessica = friends forever.
Saab London, UK

Your daughters will walk with you for all eternity

Rev Dr Karen Stevens & daughter Carla Jane, Liverpool, UK
I once read a passage in the Bible that I have never forgotten and it read "People have entertained angels without ever knowing it" and I feel that in Jessica and Holly we did entertain two of those very angels. One day we will all be reunited and that is something you can for sure look forward to. Meanwhile I feel so strongly that your lovely daughters are still with you, in spirit and they will walk with you for all eternity, they may not be seen but they are with you, their presence is very strong around you. We are here right behind you and if there is anything we can do to help you please let us know, and be sure we feel for you and share your grief. God bless you all. May peace and healing soon be yours somehow. Love, light and peace, God bless and sweet sleep little angels,
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.
Donna O'Hara, Salford, UK

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?
Pat, England (Birmingham)

They had each other, they were not alone

Chez, Australia
The only comforting thing out of all this is that during Holly and Jessica's darkest hours they had each other, they were not alone. Two bright shining angels holding hands through all eternity. Rest in peace together Holly and Jessica.
Chez, Australia

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.
William Lenane, Australia

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!
Joerg Estelmann, UK/Germany

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?
james, uk

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.
Elise, Hong Kong

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. Love,
Ellie, HK, XXXXX

My own sister could be gone just as instantly

Sharaiyah, Melbourne, Australia
I am 17 years old, and I have a little sister who is 10. Like any siblings we fight, mostly over stupid stuff, and like most big sisters, I find my younger sibling a little bit annoying. But seeing what happened to Holly and Jessica has made me realise that my own sister could be gone just as instantly and I may never see her again. I appreciate her more and I know I am very lucky to have her. I cried when I read about what happened and I hope Holly and Jessica are in a better place with God. I hope God blesses their families and all the children of this world.
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.
Steven Dimmock, England

Please Soham try to comfort them best you can

Jemma, UK
I will think of you every day just like I still do for Sarah Payne. I am a kid myself age 11 and have warned my friends to be careful and warn other children to be careful too. And all adults please help save our children from childkillers. Please Soham try to comfort them best you can. Love from
Jemma, UK

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.
Sophie (aged 13), England

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
Anon, UK

I keep wondering whether I could have seen anything

Hazera Bibi, UK
My partner and I were driving around Huntingdon on 4 August and I keep wondering whether I could have seen anything if I had been anywhere near Soham. I am very sorry for your loss. I hope all your other children find a way to cope and that there is some comfort for you somewhere and soon. Everyone is here for you. I think the police should be praised for their hard work and for the constant pressure they have been under both from the press and because of the difficulty of such crimes.
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,
Moira Machielsen, Belgium

I hope the parents will not blame themselves

Rohan O'amrd, London, United Kingdom
I only hope that the parents will not blame themselves for what has happened as no one can watch their children 24 hours a day and the children grow up as sweet as those two little girls were. A dreadful two weeks for the country that will haunt us all forever. God bless and keep us all.
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.
Tor & Jo Abrahamsen, England & Canada

No words can describe how we feel. We all prayed for a happy ending but it was not to be.
Helen and Paul, England

What a tragic waste of two beautiful young lives.
Fiona, Scott & Kieran, Scotland

You have the love and support of many people worldwide

Veronica, USA
I was visiting in the town of March, Cambridgeshire for the past three weeks and followed closely the details of Jessica and Holly. Now back in the USA, it distressed me today to learn of the outcome. God bless you all and give you comfort in this terrible situation. You have the love and support of many people worldwide. A setting sun is rising on another shore, giving two beautiful little girls, a safe and peaceful journey...
Veronica, USA

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.
Ann Reynolds., Wales UK

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.
Georgina, Britain

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.
Jeff, USA

Our deepest sympathy to the families of Holly and Jessica and the village of Soham. You are in our prayers.
Paul, Marie and Family, Canada

I can only imagine the pain you are going through with the tragic loss of your beautiful daughters.
Denise, New Zealand

Your loss is great

Collette, Ireland
I was on holiday in Greece during this horrible ordeal and all everyone talked about was the two beautiful girls. Your loss is great and may never be overcome. Your community has joined as one and so has the world. Ireland and England are one in sympathy with all the families. May they rest in peace and may our countries have peace.
Collette, Ireland

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.
Jillian Getty, Scotland

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.
Rose, UK

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.
Mona Estwick, Barbados

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.
Jean England, England

Our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Holly and Jessica. Cherish your memories.
Jennie, Northern Ireland

They will always be in our thoughts

Hugh Putt, Trinidad
So many people I know in this country are shedding tears for these poor parents in their suffering. They will always be in our thoughts.
Hugh Putt, Trinidad

Holly and Jessica will never be forgotten.
Dr Ann Frost, Wales

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.
Pam, England

She has very little freedom because of my fear

Marie, USA
Our family has followed this story since shortly after the girls went missing and we prayed for a better outcome. Our hearts go out to the parents of these two beautiful girls and the villagers of Soham. My 11-year-old daughter is at an age where she should be learning independence, but she has very little freedom because of my fear, my need to keep her safe.
Marie, USA

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.
Pat, UK

Our love and prayers across the miles to the families of these two little angels. God bless all of you, we are so sorry.
Yvette, Littleton, Colorado, USA

Our children must be better protected

Osman, Malaysia
This time it is too much. Two innocent girls at the same time. Our children must be better protected.
Osman, Malaysia

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?
Angela, Scotland

Why someone would do this: Rage

Patricia Burkell, Del Rio, TN USA
I am a mother 13 weeks pregnant; my heart is broken. As to why someone would do this: Rage. I have worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for over eight years, and am a survivor of both. The rage necessary to commit this kind of crime is longstanding.

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.
Patricia Burkell, Del Rio, TN USA

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.
Hani, Saudi Arabia

There is no punishment strong enough for whoever did this to these two girls.
Val Ford, UK

Our hearts are broken by these events on both sides of the Atlantic.
Dennis Elliott, Canada

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.
Linda Griffiths, Southport, England

We all can only hope and pray that we do not see this happening again.
Rahul, India/UK

There are people from a faraway country thinking of them

Nada, Egypt
I am an Egyptian mother of a two-year old girl; my heart was really broken by the news of the loss of Jessica and Holly. I do not know how I can help their families overcome their pain, or go through it so that they can recover from it. I just wanted to tell them that there are people from a faraway country thinking of them, feeling them, and sending them all the support they can. May God accept the two little flowers, and hope that no one would suffer such a loss anywhere in the world.
Nada, Egypt

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.
Jill Cockerham, UK

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?
Muturi Nelson, Kenya

My prayers go to both parents. This horrible tragedy has made me reflect on how fragile life really is.
Nicole Green, USA

I feel immense gratitude to the police

Danny, UK
Greatly saddened at the news. My deepest sympathy to the family and the whole community. I also feel immense gratitude to the police who work in the most difficult of circumstance. I cannot think of a more difficult job at this time.
Danny, UK

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.
Anthese Aquilina, Malta

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.
Pauline Elliott, England

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
Sammie Jo, England, Essex

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.
Carla Monteiro, Portugal

They must try to focus on the joy they received from these children

Cindy, UK
My thoughts and deepest sympathy goes out to these two families. They must try to focus on the joy they received from these children. It makes parents want to wrap their children up in cotton wool. All parents can do is ensure that we warn our kids of the dangers in the world BUT still give them some sort of freedom so that they can become independent adults later on in life. Holly and Jessica, rest in peace┐
Cindy, UK

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.
"Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you". (1 Peter 5:7)
Iain, UK

The perpetrators of this horror have forsaken every shade of humanity

D M Dutton, UK
The horrific events perpetrated upon two innocent children and their families should not be allowed to fade into our collective memories, as these awful events seem to do with frightening regularity. The perpetrators of this horror have forsaken every shade of humanity.
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.
Alexia, England

I agree with Alexia, that radical action is required. We need to make our streets safe for our children again.
David, Cambridge, UK

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.
Lesley Wurwal, England

There are no words to fully express the anger I feel today.
Naniyez, London, UK

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.
Michelle Olivier, South Africa

What a sad state of affairs for what used to be such a safe country to live in just a few short decades ago.
Dianne, Australia

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.
Chloe Ambrose, London, England

This is an awful situation but mercifully extremely rare

Mary Anne Crook, Scotland
This is an awful situation but mercifully extremely rare, so for a whole generation of children to be denied the freedom to enjoy the school holidays out of doors would be a tragedy. Parents need to set sensible limits and educate children about the dangers that lie out there.
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.
Mrs Melvin, UK

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.
Julie, Australia

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.
Joanie Howse, RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk

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.
Maureen C Luery, Antigua West Indies

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.
Mrs Lee Yardley, UK

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.
Keval, UK

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.
Paul Brooks, UK

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.
Kevin Wright, UK

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.
Samantha Easton, UK

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.
Peter, UK

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.
Jeff Usher, UK

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.
Dominic, USA

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.
Julian Higgins, Hampshire

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.
Claire Brichaux, Belgium

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.
Julia, Wales

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.
Helen John, Dubai, UAE

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.
The Murphy Family, Scotland

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.
Alan Ferguson, Scotland

The media are not interested in children who are 'unattractive' or non-white and from a broken home

Alastair, UK
An interesting letter in today's Metro quotes Home Office figures for children who go missing each year in the UK is 210,000 of which 1,000 are abducted and taken abroad. The reader claims that the media sensationalise the stories such the Soham kids, Milly from Walton on Thames and Sarah Payne, because they are white and come from nice, secure, happy families. The article argues that the media are not interested in children who are 'unattractive' or 'non-white' and from a broken home. The letter quotes a 14-year-old black boy who went missing from a swimming pool in north London in May. No-one seems interested and the parents have had to resort to pinning up posters of his photograph on lamp posts. All these cases are worthy of media attention but we must put things in perspective and not be influenced too much by what we read or watch. Isn't the BBC meant to serve all license payers not just the white middle class ones?
Alastair, UK

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.
Mrs Christine Easey, Ipswich, Suffolk

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.
Vijay Kumar, UK

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.
Tara and Lee, UK

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.
Yvonne, Scotland

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.
Steve J, UK

The media is controlling the grieving agenda.

Simon, London, UK
Oh my goodness, it's Princess Diana all over again! Of course it's a terrible indictment of our society that we breed people who want to cruelly murder two innocent little girls. And of course our sympathy must be with their family and friends. But few if any of the people on this message board knew the girls, and if this event made them sad then I hope they never visit a children┐s' hospice like Great Ormond Street, where children die with painful regularity. Alistair, UK, has essentially hit the nail on the head; the reason we 'have felt the need to pray' and 'not stopped thinking about the girls all weekend', is because the media is controlling the grieving agenda.
Simon, London, UK

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