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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 21:14 GMT
Carr: I'd have been out like a shot
Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr has appeared in the Old Bailey for the first time
Maxine Carr, accused of conspiracy over the deaths of schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, has given evidence to the Old Bailey.

Her counsel, Michael Hubbard QC, told the court she had left Soham the day before the girls went missing to visit her mother in Grimsby.

He told the jury events had unfolded over which Ms Carr "had no control".

She had done no wrong that weekend, he said, adding: "She is here because she lied" by giving Mr Huntley an alibi.

Ms Carr told the court she had gone to see her mother in Grimsby on Saturday 3 August 2002 the day before the girls had disappeared.

Mr Hubbard said there had been a call from Huntley's mobile to Ms Carr's mother's mobile at 6.56am on Monday, the day after the girls disappeared.

He just wouldn't sit still. He was pacing up and down
Maxine Carr

Asked how Mr Huntley sounded, Ms Carr said: "Very, very tired, he sounded quite drained... He said he had been up all night searching with the police for some missing kids."

Ms Carr was then questioned by Mr Hubbard about a call on her mobile from Mr Huntley on Monday afternoon.

She said he had told her the missing girls were Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman and added: "The thing is, Maxine, these children came into our house."

She said Mr Huntley had told her: "One had a nosebleed. I was out on the front porch with Sadie [his dog]."

"Then he said one had raised her hand up to her nose, the dark girl. And she had blood on her fingers."

He said there was no toilet tissue downstairs so he took them upstairs, she went on.

Strange call

Ms Carr told the court: "He was really funny on the phone. He wasn't making complete sentences."

She said she asked Mr Huntley what happened next and he said the nosebleed stopped and the children went off.

She said Mr Huntley told her the police thought he was the last person to have seen the girls and this was making him "anxious".

Mr Hubbard said there had been a further phone call between Huntley and Ms Carr at 10.41pm on Monday

Ms Carr said that by then it had been agreed Mr Huntley would pick her up from her mother's house on Tuesday and they left there after watching the news headlines at 12.30pm.

Car cleaned

Mr Hubbard asked if anything had struck her about the state of Mr Huntley's car on the way back to Soham.

Ms Carr said: "It was clean and I think the carpet had been changed."

She added that he said he had cleaned it because the dog had made a mess.

Mr Hubbard asked his client if anything had struck her when she returned to their house at Soham.

She said: "The table wasn't where it was supposed to be," wires were "hanging out of the ceiling" and the carpet was wet.

Mr Hubbard asked if Mr Huntley had mentioned this before and Ms Carr said he had told her water had leaked from a crack in the bath.

Duvet in washing machine

When she first went to the kitchen, she said it had been tidy. "The thing that struck me was that the washing machine was full."

Asked what was inside, Ms Carr said: " The quilt that had been on the bed when I went away."

She said the duvet cover was also in the machine and the mat out of the bathroom.

She said: "I was quite surprised... Ian doesn't normally use the washing machine.

Ms Carr added that she had asked Mr Huntley for "a full description of what happened on the Sunday, what the girls had said, what he had asked the girls".

She went on: "He said he had not asked them anything. All he was interested in, he said, was stopping the nosebleed."

She added: "He just wouldn't sit still. He was pacing up and down."

Ms Carr said when she asked him what was wrong, he said: "I was the last person to see those girls."

Huntley fear

"He kept saying he thought he was a suspect... He started bringing up the [rape] allegation against him."

Ms Carr told the court: "He said he was going to be fitted up."

"I said 'that is not going to happen'. I asked why he did not go to the police first and explain."

Mr Hubbard asked what Huntley's reaction had been.

Ms Carr said he had replied: "No way. He would lose his job."

She said Huntley kept saying it would have been much easier if she had been there.

She went on: "I said everybody knows I wasn't here, I was in Grimsby."

Spreading rumours

But she said Mr Huntley told her nobody knew she had gone.

"I said, well, if I say I'm here who am I going to say this to? He said anybody that asks."

Ms Carr said Mr Huntley had told her that the girls had left the house. "So now it was just about stopping people spreading rumours about [Huntley] having children in the house."

"I was worried about him, he wasn't in any fit state," she told the court.

He was really scared and I just agreed with what he said because I just wanted it to be all right."

Carr 'had to lie'

Mr Hubbard asked if by this stage, the end of Tuesday, she and Mr Huntley had agreed to lie.

Ms Carr said neither of them had made it expressly clear. "Ian said you don't have to do it but I knew that because of the way he was, I had to."

She admitted to the court that she had lied persistently.

But she explained: "Even though I knew it wasn't right in moral terms, I thought I was doing the right thing at the time for that person."

Mr Hubbard said: "It is suggested that you either knew or believed Ian had killed those children."

Ms Carr replied that such a thought had never crossed her mind.

She said that, if it had: "I would have been out of that house like a shot straight to the police, or straight to the nearest person I could talk to, to tell them."

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

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