The judge in the Soham trial paid tribute to the "courage and dignity" of the parents of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
The judge commended the bravery of the girls' parents
Mr Justice Moses also told Ian Huntley he was the only person who knew how and why he had murdered the girls.
Here are the judge's comments in full:
To the parents:
"You, the parents and families of those two young girls, deserve our respect and admiration for the way you have conducted yourselves through what must have been the ordeal of this trial.
"A courtroom is not the place for mourning. And you must, at times, have thought that sympathy and understanding were being ill-directed towards the
defendants in an effort to ensure a fair trial.
"It is only by the conduct of a painstaking but fair trial, to which all the legal teams and court staff have contributed, that this country can try to
fulfil its obligations to protect the weak and vulnerable.
"But now I can say this on behalf of us all. Your grief at the loss of such
bright and life-enhancing daughters cannot be imagined and cannot be shared.
"Those who have been compelled to listen to so dispiriting and merciless a
tale will have had some glimpse of what you have suffered and continue to
"Our sympathy is made all the greater by witnessing your bravery, the more
remarkable in the face of such public interest.
"It is a public interest, I hope and believe, which stems from a belief that
your loss and tragedy is a loss and tragedy for us all."
"Ian Kevin Huntley, on 4 August 2002 you enticed two 10-year-old
girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, into your house. They were happy, intelligent and loyal.
"They were much loved by their families and all who knew them.
"You murdered them both. You are the one person who knows how you murdered
them, you are the one person who knows why.
"You destroyed the evidence which showed no mercy and no regret. Once you killed one of them, you had to kill the other in an attempt to
"On 10 August, six days later, you told the BBC that you were the last
friendly face these two girls had to speak to. That was a lie which served to underline the persistent cruelty of your
"One of these girls died knowing her friend had been
attacked or killed by you.
"After you murdered both of them you pushed their bodies into a ditch,
stripped them and burnt them while their families searched in increasing
"As Kevin Wells called out their names, you pretended to help the search. Three days later, you demonstrated the extent of your merciless cynicism,
offering that father some words of regret.
"Your tears have never been for them, only for yourself.
"In your attempts to escape responsibility, in your lies, and your
manipulation, up to this day, you have increased the suffering you have caused
to the families.
"The children you murdered were children whose lives brought joy to the
community and whose deaths brought grief.
"On count one, you will go to prison
"On count two, you will go to prison
for life. You may go down."
"Maxine Ann Carr, the gravity of your
offence must reflect the gravity of the offences for which you gave a false
"You had plenty of opportunity to refuse to assist in a course of lying and
deception. You chose not to.
"Your intelligence and strength of mind could have been used to ease the
suffering of those families but they were used to compound their misery.
"If you had had the slightest true regard for those girls or their families,
you would have told the truth and the declaration of your partner might have
been more readily achieved. Your selfish concern for yourself and Huntley led
you all too readily to lie, and all too glibly.
"You lost the chance to mitigate the offence by your
failure to plead guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.
"I take into account the good character and time spent awaiting trial, but the least sentence of imprisonment I can pass consistent with my duty is
one of three-and-a-half years imprisonment. You will serve half of that and
remain on licence for the rest.
"The time you have spent in custody will be taken into account in the
reduction of that. That is all I have to say."
To the jury:
"I want to thank you for the care and attention which you have paid to this case. The task you have performed is a
task you have performed on behalf of the whole country.
"The concentration you have paid this case has been obvious to us all.
"I know it cannot have been easy in the glare of public scrutiny, but you
have performed your duty with patience and good humour, fairness and justice.
"You are discharged from jury service for the rest of your life."