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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 14:34 GMT
Huntley 'laughing at police'
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were best friends
Ian Huntley has been accused of "laughing" at police investigating the murders of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Richard Latham, QC, prosecuting, said Mr Huntley had told a reporter the police were doing a "magnificent job".

Mr Huntley's cross-examination has finished and he has left the witness box after three days of evidence.

The former school caretaker, 29, denies murder but admits conspiring to pervert the course of justice in August 2002.

Latham: That is correct - you killed her [Jessica?]
Huntley: I was responsible for her death, yes
Latham: You put your hands to her mouth and suffocated her with your hands and you held it there until she died. You admitted that yesterday, didn't you?
Huntley: Yes
Latham: You killed her, didn't you?
Huntley: Yes

The cross-examination saw a series of combative exchanges between Mr Latham and Mr Huntley.

The barrister accused Mr Huntley of telling "a pack of lies" and "weaving a clever false story" during media interviews while people were hunting for the girls.

Mr Huntley denied toying with the police.

Mr Latham also pressed Mr Huntley on his version of how the girls died.

Mr Huntley has already told the court Holly died after she fell into water in his bath, and Jessica died after he put his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.

"Holly wasn't an accident, was she?" Mr Latham asked.

Mr Huntley insisted Holly's death was an accident, and denied killing Jessica "quite deliberately" because of what had happened to Holly.

After the cross-examination finished, Mr Huntley was asked by his counsel, Stephen Coward QC, to describe how he felt after the girls died and he bundled their bodies out of his house and into the boot of his car.

"I just felt numb," he said.

'Sweating, shaking'

Mr Coward asked him whether the clean-up operation of his house and car felt like a "military operation".

"I just felt... the whole thing just felt horrible," Mr Huntley said.

"I was in turmoil, my hands were sweating, I was shaking."

Latham: You were actually praising the police?
Huntley: Yes, they was working hard
Latham: While you ran rings round them?
Huntley: I wouldn't say I was running rings round them
Latham: You were deliberately keeping one or two or three steps ahead
Huntley: I don't know if I was or wasn't
Latham: Sending them off on false trails
Huntley: They weren't false trails
Latham: You were laughing at the police
Huntley: I wasn't laughing at the police
Mr Coward said it was only after a later suicide attempt, while on remand, that memories of events started to come back to Mr Huntley.

Asked how he felt when the memories started to come back, Mr Huntley told the court: "I felt very ill."

He could not get the words to talk to his solicitor at the time "because of what I remembered," he said.

Mr Coward asked Mr Huntley when he first learnt that Holly had a history of nosebleeds.

Mr Huntley - who had said while on remand that Holly had come into his house after having a nosebleed - said he learned of her history only after he had said this.

Mr Coward said: "The suggestion is you were tempted by these girls. Were you?"

Mr Huntley replied: "No."

After re-examining Mr Huntley, Mr Coward said "subject to some admissions" his client's defence case was concluded.

Mr Huntley denies murdering the girls, but he admits conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

His former girlfriend Maxine Carr, 26, denies helping an offender and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The case continues.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Time and again Mr Latham threw back Huntley's own words"

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