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EDITIONS
Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
The discovery everyone feared
Police sealed off a road on the edge of the Lakenheath airbase

The discovery everyone dreaded was made in an isolated area of grassland half a mile from the RAF Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk.

The two bodies were found by two passers-by, out walking on a track near a medieval church.

Holly and Jessica vanished from nearby Soham
Wangford Fen nature reserve has now become the scene of intense police activity.

It is hard to imagine a more remote spot than that near the airbase.

A heavily rutted dirt track beats to the crime scene and the murky rushes visible from behind the police cordon lend the area a dark and gloomy air.

Isolated

The debris of the investigation litters the site - stainless steel canisters lie discarded by the trackside amid reels of police tape.

The only sign of human life visible in this isolated corner of Suffolk is the medieval steeple in the distance and a fragile line of telephone poles.

Forensic experts and detectives arrived in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles.

Overhead a police helicopter surveyed the scene on the edge of the no-fly zone which covers the Lakenheath base.

The area of the discovery is just a few hundred metres from the aircraft viewing area where plane-spotters come to watch military aircraft leaving the base.

Grim discovery

On the nearby A1065, a large tailback formed as police set up a road-block.

Some drivers stopped to lay floral tributes and survey the scene.

Local resident and father-of-two Jhangir Soltani, wanted to pay his respects.

"There has to be something to end all this misery, as parents we can't go through this," he said.

"I'm the same as hundreds of parents, you have to watch your children all the time, they're not safe."


It's absolutely the worst thing that could have happened but we felt it was coming

Linda Cadman, Soham
Another passing motorist had strong words for whoever was responsible.

"The people who did this should be made to pay," he said.

But the overwhelming mood was one of grief and as he spoke, yet another motorist pulled up to lay a bunch of flowers by a signpost.

Seven miles away in the girls' hometown of Soham, news of the distressing discovery was still sinking in.

Linda Cadman at a Soham petrol station, said that when BBC radio announced the news, customers were shocked but not surprised.

"It's absolutely the worse thing that could have happened but we felt it was coming," said Mrs Cadman.

The local church of Saint Andrews Methodist minister Alan Ashton said "the glimmer of hope we all had seems to have been extinguished".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Nobody wanted the search to end as it did"
DCI Andy Hebb, Cambridgeshire Police
"We have to make sure we carefully assess the scene"


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