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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 15:22 GMT
Key points: Day 23
Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr denies the charges against her
Maxine Carr's lawyer, Michael Hubbard QC, has made his closing speech to the jury at the Soham murder trial.

The Old Bailey judge, Mr Justice Moses, has begun summing up.

Former teaching assistant Ms Carr denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice and two counts of assisting an offender, after the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Her former boyfriend, Ian Huntley, has denied murdering the 10-year-olds, but pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

On Wednesday Mr Huntley's lawyer admitted there may be evidence his client committed manslaughter.

Key details from Day 23 are as follows:

  • Ms Carr had been "vilified" by the media and compared to Moors murderer Myra Hindley, her defence lawyer told the court.

  • Michael Hubbard QC showed the jury a card Holly gave to Ms Carr when she left their school last year, in which pupils said they would miss her a lot.

  • Holly and Jessica had been "very special" to Ms Carr "and she to them", Mr Hubbard said.

  • Ms Carr had been unaware of Mr Huntley's "incalculably evil" side, her defence lawyer told the jury.

  • It was "almost preposterous to suggest" Ms Carr would protect Mr Huntley had she known he had unlawfully killed Holly and Jessica, Mr Hubbard told the jury.

  • Ms Carr's surprised reaction in police interviews and anguish during phone calls to Mr Huntley's mother showed she had believed he was innocent, Mr Hubbard said.

  • The prosecution's claim that Ms Carr and Mr Huntley agreed an alibi on Monday 5 August - the day after Holly and Jessica disappeared - was unlikely because she had not returned to Soham until the following day, Mr Hubbard told the jury.

  • Ms Carr had lied to protect Mr Huntley from revelations about a previous allegation of rape against him, the court heard.

  • Summing up, Mr Justice Moses told the jury not to be overawed by the seriousness of the case or influenced by the emotion it provoked.

  • Mr Justice Moses asked the jury to take into account the stress placed on defendants in such a serious case before deciding if Mr Huntley and Ms Carr were lying.

  • The judge told the jurors they could only find Mr Huntley and Ms Carr guilty if they had decided the cases against them had been proved "beyond a reasonable doubt".

  • The fact Mr Huntley had disposed of the bodies was not sufficient proof of murder, the judge said.

  • The judge told the jury the court had heard no evidence of sexual activity - but he added: "If the evidence makes you sure... the absence of any motive is no defence."

  • To find Mr Huntley guilty of Jessica's murder, the jury should be satisfied he had intended to kill or cause "really serious bodily harm" to her, Mr Justice Moses said.

  • If Mr Huntley was telling the truth about Jessica's death he would be guilty of her manslaughter, the jury was told.

  • If Mr Huntley was telling the truth about Holly's death, he would not be guilty of murder or manslaughter but would be guilty of an alternative charge - manslaughter by gross negligence, Mr Justice Moses said.

  • If jurors were satisfied Ms Carr had tried to impede Mr Huntley's arrest or prosecution by lying about her whereabouts, they should find her guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, the judge said.

  • Mr Justice Moses told the jurors to only consider the two charges of assisting an offender against Ms Carr if they had already found Mr Huntley guilty of murder or manslaughter.

  • To find Ms Carr guilty of assisting an offender the jury would have to be satisfied she had lied about her whereabouts to impede Mr Huntley's arrest or prosecution knowing that he had unlawfully killed, the judge said.

  • Ms Carr's evidence about Mr Huntley should be considered carefully as she clearly had an "axe to grind", Mr Justice Moses told the jury.

  • The judge asked jurors to consider why Jessica's mobile phone had been turned off within 15 minutes of the girls entering Mr Huntley's house.

  • Mr Justice Moses suggested the jury should compare the way Mr Huntley and Ms Carr looked and spoke in media interviews with their performances in the witness box.

  • Mr Justice Moses asked the court if Mr Huntley would have made his admission about carpet fibres and the clothes if forensic evidence had not been prepared.

  • Reminding the jury of the "crucial" evidence by Dr Nat Cary, the judge said the pathologist felt that multiple people being present would normally indicate a forced drowning.

  • There was also no damage to the bone structures and no fractures found by Dr Cary, despite Mr Huntley claiming Holly fell into the bath.

  • Mr Huntley had said the nosebleed was minor so there were no stains on Holly's shirt, so why, asked the judge, did he take the girls upstairs?

  • The judge reminded the jury of Dr Cary's question: "Why did the goodwill leading Mr Huntley to assist the girl with a nosebleed not lead Mr Huntley to a rescue?"

  • Turning to the evidence of Ms Carr, Mr Justice Moses said she clearly had "an axe to grind" with Mr Huntley and the jury should take care with regard to any of her testimony which affected his case.

  • In beginning his summing up of the defence case, the judge told the jury Mr Huntley did have a problem with a female student soon after becoming school caretaker, and had "perfectly properly reported that and the staff dealt with it".

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