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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 18:54 GMT
Carr in court on benefits charges
Van carrying Maxine Carr
More than 50 police officers formed part of the security operation
Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of Soham murderer Ian Huntley, has appeared in court charged with benefit fraud and lying about qualifications.

Carr, who is serving a three-year jail sentence for conspiring with Huntley to pervert the course of justice, appeared at Peterborough Magistrates' Court.

Afterwards the 27-year-old was moved from "overcrowded" Holloway prison in north London to rural Derbyshire.

Foston Hall, closer to her home town of Grimsby, is considered more relaxed.

20 CHARGES AGAINST CARR
Five counts involving various job applications, including two in Soham
12 related to housing benefit claims
Two related to income support claims
One related to a jobseeker's allowance claim

Carr will next appear at Peterborough Crown Court on 23 April.

She faces a total of 20 charges relating to claims for various benefits and job applications.

They include obtaining more then 3,300 in false benefit claims and job applications which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.

One of the charges relates to her role as a classroom assistant at St Andrew's Primary School in Soham where she befriended murder victims Jessica Chapman.

No plea

At the court security was tight as Maxine Carr was driven through a route lined with police officers and metal barriers to keep back any protesters.

In the courtroom Carr listened intently as details of the charges were read out and spoke in a quiet but confident voice, never looking towards the three dozen journalists hanging on her every word.

Marion Beastin, prosecuting, told the court that the defendant had left school without taking any exams but claimed in job applications, including to St Andrews, that she had passed GCSEs.

Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr has appeared in court on 12 charges of deception
She entered no pleas for any of the charges and the case was adjourned until the crown court plea and directions hearing next month.

The allegations came to light during the Soham murder trial when Ian Huntley was sentenced to life for the murders of Holly and Jessica.

Carr's prison transfer was thought to have taken place after her court appearance with the journey from Peterborough to Foston Hall taking little more than one hour.

Lucky

Editor of the Prisons Handbook, Mark Leech said: "Foston Hall is a far more progressive and relaxed establishment than she will have experienced at Holloway."

"She is lucky to get such a move so close to the end of her sentence. The vast majority of women prisoners are hundreds and hundreds of miles from home", he added.

But he said the decision was taken probably because "Holloway is massively overcrowded and they need the space".

Prison sources said the move allows an inmate better access to offending behaviour courses, education and work.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jane-Frances Kelly
"She took her place in the dock to face 20 separate charges of fraud"




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