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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 15:01 GMT
Huntley's account of girls' deaths
Ian Huntley denies murder
Ian Huntley told the court what happened in the bathroom
Soham accused Ian Huntley has given his version of the events which led to the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

He told the court he and the girls were upstairs trying to stem a nosebleed Holly had suffered.

Mr Huntley said: "I went to pass Holly some more tissues."

He paused and said: "As I did, I am not really sure how it happened, I sort of turned and I slipped and went forward in the direction of Holly."

School caretaker Ian Huntley denies murder and has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

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

Defence barrister Stephen Coward QC asked him if he could remember if there was any physical contact.

"I'm not sure if I did or didn't," he said, adding it was then that Holly Wells fell backwards.

Mr Huntley said he then heard a splash.

"Was Holly going into the bath planned by you?", said Mr Coward.

Mr Huntley replied: "No, it wasn't planned."

When asked if it was something he might have expected, Mr Huntley said it was not.

'Pushed' her

Mr Coward then asked: "After you heard the splash, what was the next sound you remembered hearing?"

Mr Huntley replied: "That would have been Jessica."

Mr Coward asked: "What was the sound you were hearing?"

Mr Huntley replied: "She... she was screaming and shouting at me 'You pushed her' over and over."

Mr Coward asked how many times she screamed out.

Mr Huntley replied: "I don't know, I just heard her screaming 'You pushed her'."

"Was it true you had pushed her?" said Mr Coward.

Mr Huntley said he had not deliberately pushed her into the bath.

"It may be that accidentally you knocked Holly into the bath?" said Mr Coward.

"That's possible," said Mr Huntley.

Mr Coward asked: "What did you do?"

"When Holly fell into the bath, I was stood there waiting for some movement or for her to get up... there was no movement, I just panicked and froze."

Hand over mouth

Mr Coward asked him what effect the screaming had on him.

"I couldn't think. Stood here it's logical just to pull somebody out of the bath, especially when they are not moving. I could not think."

Pressed on why he could not think and why he did not act, Mr Huntley said he thought the feeling of panic and the noise of Jessica's screaming contributed to his failure to act.

Mr Huntley said it was then that he put his hand over Jessica's mouth.

He was asked whether he remembered one hand or two being put over her mouth.

Mr Huntley said: "I clearly remember one. I don't know if I placed the other hand on her to restrain her or ... I don't know."

It was at this point, Mr Huntley said, that it occurred to him that he should be getting Holly Wells out of the bath.

Mr Coward asked if he remembered having his hand on any other part of Jessica's body other than her mouth.

Mr Huntley said he could only remember holding her mouth, and that it was then that he let go of Jessica.

Pulled from bath

Mr Coward said: "When you let go of Jessica, what happened to Jessica?"

"She fell to the floor," said Mr Huntley.

Mr Coward asked: "Did you know at the instant why it was that Jessica had gone to the floor?"

Mr Huntley replied: "To be honest, it didn't really register that much. My main priority now was to get Holly out of the bath."

Mr Coward asked: "So what did you do?"

Mr Huntley replied: "I went over to the bath and pulled Holly out of the bath and placed her on the floor at the side of the bath."

He said that Jessica Chapman had fallen to the floor.

Mr Coward asked: "So you get to the bath and get Holly out of the bath. As you bent in to get her out of the bath, did there seem to be any movement?"

Mr Huntley was inaudible at this point but Mr Coward repeated: "No."

No noise

He went on: "Having got her out of the bath, where did you put her?"

Mr Huntley said: "On to the floor at the side of the bath."

Mr Coward asked: "Did there seem to be any movement then?"

Mr Huntley said: "No."

Mr Coward said: "There you are, in the bathroom with Holly on the floor, with no sign of movement, Jessica half in and half out... could you hear any noise coming from Jessica at all?"

"No," replied Mr Huntley.

The case continues.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The trial shifted to the next stage"

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