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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Woman remanded over girls' murder
Maxine Carr, flanked by policewomen
Maxine Carr wore a black t-shirt and jeans in court
Former classroom assistant Maxine Carr has appeared in court, charged in connection with the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

The 25-year-old was remanded in custody to Holloway prison in north London, the largest women's prison in the country.

Ms Carr appeared pale and drawn when she attended at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

She hung her head when she was told she could face a life sentence if found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

An angry crowd of several hundred people shouted and jeered as she was driven away from the court, shortly before 1130 BST.

Ms Carr will next appear at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday, 29 August.

Her boyfriend, school caretaker Ian Huntley, 28, has been charged with murdering the girls and is being held in Rampton secure hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Woman jeers at police car
Angry crowds gathered outside the court

Mr Huntley, who had also been expected at the court on Wednesday, will not now appear until doctors decide he is well enough.

Forensic psychiatrist Professor Nigel Eastman has told the BBC there are safeguards in place to ensure that any person sectioned under the Mental Health Act cannot fake illness.

Security

During Ms Carr's hearing the court was told that she allegedly gave false information to police officers involved in the search for 10-year-olds Holly and Jessica.

The charge sheet alleged that she attempted to pervert the course of justice between 9 August and 18 August.

Holly Wells (left) and Jessica Chapman
The best friends were missing for two weeks
Ms Carr, who wore a black t-shirt and blue jeans, spoke only to confirm her name and address.

Her lawyers did not apply for her to be given bail.

Security had been stepped up around the courtroom ahead of the hearing, in case of any actions by members of the crowd, some of whom waved placards and shouted obscenities.

About 50 police officers lined the street as Ms Carr was driven the short distance to the court from the Peterborough's police station in a van with blacked-out windows at 0930 BST.

Anger

One officer warned the crowd: "It may be hard to hold back but please don't step onto the road.

"The police vehicle will not stop for anybody."

St Andrews Church, Soham
In Soham, thousands of flowers and tributes have been left at the church
Among those waiting was mother-of-six Dawn Collins, 53, of Peterborough, who said: "I find it so hard to come to terms with it, that those two little girls are gone. It's taken over my life."

Nicola Jeffries, 32, who had brought her sons Rhys, eight and Haydn, four, with her said: "I'm here because I'm a mother and I can't imagine what those parents are going through."

Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr were arrested on Saturday, 17 August, almost two weeks after the 10-year-olds went missing from their homes in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

Police concerns

Two bodies believed to be those of the little girls were discovered later that day, in a remote patch of woodland near RAF Lakenheath in Mildenhall, in Suffolk.

Mr Huntley lived with Ms Carr in Soham and was site manager at Soham College.

Ms Carr had been employed as a teacher's aide at Holly and Jessica's school, St Andrew's Primary.

Caretaker Ian Huntley, 28
Caretaker Ian Huntley, 28, has been sectioned
In a statement, Rampton hospital said Mr Huntley was admitted "after concerns were expressed regarding his fitness to be interviewed by Cambridgeshire Police".

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hebb said Mr Huntley's sectioning took place on the recommendation of a psychiatrist.

Sectioning means that doctors have been given the right to detain him for 28 days to assess his condition.

They also have the right to give him medication or other treatment with his consent.

After that 28-day period he could be released from the secure unit - or doctors could apply for a longer detention order.

He could, however, still be ruled fit to stand trial for murder.

In cases like this defendants can still be found guilty of murder, or guilty of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility, or acquitted.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The mood outside the court was one of raw anger"
The BBC's Nick Thatcher
"They'll want to hear this case earlier rather than later"
June Venters president of solicitors association
"there will be a preliminary hearing usually within eight days"
Prof Nigel Eastman Forensic Psychiatrist
"It's usually very difficult for someone to fake illness over many months"
See also:

20 Aug 02 | England
20 Aug 02 | Health
20 Aug 02 | Technology
20 Aug 02 | Health
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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