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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 18:18 GMT
Huntley admits cutting up clothes
Holly and Jessica's cut and burnt Manchester United shirts
The burnt and cut shirts were found in a bin at Soham Village College
Ian Huntley has admitted cutting off the clothes of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman as their bodies lay in a ditch.

His lawyer told the Old Bailey Mr Huntley took the clothes back to the Soham school where he worked as a caretaker, and set them on fire.

Stephen Coward QC said his client put the burnt clothes in the bin inside a hangar, where they were later found.

The court has already heard Mr Huntley accepts the 10-year-old girls died at his home, but denies murdering them.

Mr Coward said: "The case for my client is, having cut off the clothes of the girls at the deposition site he brought them back to Soham, put them inside one of the bins that we have seen outside the hangar, set fire to the contents and then replaced the bin inside the hangar."

Earlier, the court heard the first forensic evidence of the case.

Forensic scientist Helen Davey told the court how the remains of the girls' charred clothes had been found in the bin.

DNA test failures

Many of the clothes had been cut, apparently in a hurry, she said - including their underwear, tracksuit bottoms and football tops.

Dr Davey said the clothes were cut in a manner similar to the way medics cut off clothes in an emergency.

The bodies were found near Lakenheath

The jagged cut marks, she said, were likely to have been made for the "removal of the garments from the wearer, or wearers, while they were immobile".

Attempts to obtain a DNA profile from the clothing had failed, she said.

There was also no forensic evidence of a sexual assault, although Dr Davey said that could have been due to the condition of the clothes.

Asked to describe the general nature of the garments, Dr Davey said almost all them showed signs of soot and charred markings and some had melted together.

The clothes all smelled of an accelerant such as petrol, she said, and were all wet or damp.

Under cross-examination the expert said there were no signs of damage from stabbing or any attempts to pull or rip the clothes off.

    In other forensic evidence given to the court:

  • A statement from a fingerprint expert said several of Mr Huntley's prints were found on the bin liner holding the charred clothes.

  • Scenes of crime officer Susan Blackmore told the court how a number of "blood spatters" were found inside Mr Huntley's home, including some in the hallway and the entrance to the main bedroom.

  • Another witness, forensic scientist Roger Blackmore, said these turned out to be mostly dog blood, but two were human. One matched Mr Huntley and the other was consistent with the DNA of his then girlfriend Maxine Carr.

  • No blood splatters matched either of the girls

  • Dr Blackmore said petrol residues were confirmed on the girls' clothes, two hair samples and a soil sample from the ditch where their bodies were found.

  • The clothes were wet, but Dr Blackmore said he could not establish whether they were wet when they were set on fire, or if they had been dry and water poured onto them to extinguish the flames.

  • Forensic scientist Peter Lamb said five of Mr Huntley's head hairs were found mixed in with the girls' clothes.

  • He found fibres from their tops on a shirt, trousers, fleece and jacket found at Mr Huntley's home, as well as on a bathmat and carpet, and on a carpet in the boot of Mr Huntley's Ford Fiesta.

  • Similarly, the remains of Holly or Jessica's clothes bore fibres from clothing or carpets from Mr Huntley's house or car.
The court has previously heard that Mr Huntley, 29, is unlikely to deny that the girls died while he was alone with them in his house, 5 College Close in Soham.

He admits conspiring to pervert the course of justice, but denies murder.

His former girlfriend, Maxine Carr, denies helping an offender and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Four weeks into this trial, and the first forensic expert to give evidence"

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