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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Angry scenes at Huntley hearing
Crowd at Huntley hearing
Uniformed officers kept the protesters at bay

As the man charged with murdering two Cambridgeshire girls makes his first appearance in court on Tuesday, a small knot of onlookers vent their anger outside.
It is not the bright sun rising over Peterborough Magistrates' Court which has young mother Amanda adjusting her smart black jacket.

Ian Huntley
Huntley will continue to be held at Rampton hospital
"I'm getting hot now, I'm getting so angry," she says, standing behind the police barriers unfurling a banner which took her late into last night to make.

The large bed sheet on which she condemns Ian Huntley will let the former Soham college caretaker "see how angry we are", she says.

Even with letters a foot high, the banner must be just a blur to Mr Huntley, 28, as the convoy of police vehicles sweeps past a thick line of uniformed officers and into the court's underground garage.

This operation is completed at such speed that the handful of onlookers, including Amanda and her 18-month-old daughter Liane, barely have time to vent their rage at the van carrying the man charged with killing the 10-year-old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

"I hope that the girls' families appreciate us being here - our presence shows how much everybody has been affected by this," says Amanda.

Silent accused

While no more than 20 people watch Mr Huntley arrive, the numbers swell to more than 150 as the hearings get under way.

Inside the modern court building, Mr Huntley sits silently throughout the proceedings, flanked by security guards and a psychiatric nurse from Rampton high-security hospital. His eyelids are heavy and his head and body shakes slightly.

Protester throws eggs at police convoy
About 500 people turned out for Carr's first hearing
Sitting close by are his brother, Wayne, and sister-in-law Claire (formerly the caretaker's own wife). Mr Huntley appears not to recognise the couple, and relies on his barrister Maureen Baker to speak for him.

When Mr Huntley's girlfriend, former teaching assistant Maxine Carr, 25, appeared at the same court on 21 August, many people across the UK were troubled by the ferocity of the waiting crowds.

Amanda, a veteran of that day too, is unapologetic. "I shouted a lot of abuse like everybody else. I didn't bang on the van like a few others, but only because the police wouldn't let me get at it."

Ken Procter, who works close to the court, is relieved that so far the turn-out for this impromptu demonstration is dismally small. He hopes that the heat has gone out of people's anger.

"In August there was a lot of shouting and bad feeling. You heard some of that again today but from nowhere near the same number of people."

Mr Procter says the hundreds of onlookers that gathered for Ms Carr's appearance were almost like a lynch mob. "If there had been a gallows here they would have hanged her."

Palpable anger

Even today, the death penalty is on the minds of many in the growing crowd.

"Bring back hanging now," says a placard held aloft by a man who only gives his name as Tony.

Memorial to Jessica (left) and Holly
The deaths of Jessica and Holly shook the nation
Another banner calls for a referendum on "capitol [sic] punishment" and begins the debate with the single argument: "hang 'em".

Sam Craig, another veteran of Ms Carr's appearance, says: "There was a lot written about us in the papers, they called a lynch mob. "I was very upset to be classed as part of a mob; I had my four-year-old son with me."

Do small children have a place amid such rage? "My son's got every right to know what's going on in this country, and why he can't play out safely even in our garden," says Mr Craig.

"I've never seen so many coppers in my life," says a passing shopper as a flow of people along the pedestrianised street thickens. Local resident Art Sweeney thinks the heavy police presence intended to prevent the scenes witnessed in August is proving counterproductive.

"People see all the police, see it all build up and get carried away in the atmosphere, like a crowd at a football match."

Emotions run high

By now the sun is high in the sky. The glare, the heat, and the clouds of cigarette smoke are too much for many of the younger children who grizzle intermittently.

Member of the crowd wipes away tears
Tears and jeers as Ian Huntley is whisked away
"I wasn't going to come but I saw it on the telly and thought I might as well," says one woman into her mobile phone.

Extra police officers stream into the crowd, or reinforce those at the barriers. As the gate of the court garage rises, the crowd pushes forward, jostling the young mothers with pushchairs.

Sam Craig, his son on his shoulders, dashes along the street hunting for the best vantage point.

Abuse and the odd empty drinks can rain down on the police van carrying Mr Huntley back to Rampton hospital. The thrower of one missile is immediately bundled off to the police station just yards away.

As the shouts subside, a banshee wail persists from a woman so overcome with hate that she crumples against the barrier. "Kill him, kill him," her voice tails off.


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