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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Bodies confirmed as Holly and Jessica
Holly Wells (left) and Jessica Chapman
The best friends were missing for two weeks
Police investigating the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman have confirmed two bodies discovered in remote woodland at the weekend are those of the schoolgirls.

The bodies, found near Lakenheath in Suffolk, were discovered on Saturday, two weeks after the 10-year-olds went missing from their homes in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

Earlier on Wednesday, former classroom assistant Maxine Carr was remanded in custody, charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice

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.

Ms Carr, 25, was remanded in custody to Holloway women's prison in north London and will next appear at Peterborough Crown Court on 29 August.

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

Until now police could only say they were as certain as they could be that the bodies were those of the girls.

But forensic tests have now confirmed their identity.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said:

"Following further examination, the bodies have now been positively identified as those of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Woman jeers at police car
Angry crowds gathered outside the court
"The area continues to remain cordoned off from public access."

Police said both bodies were decomposed but any other details were important for legal evidence and could not be revealed at this stage.

Post mortem tests on the remains earlier in the week failed to pinpoint the exact cause of death and further tests are still being carried out which means they cannot yet be released to the families for burial.

Holly and Jessica's families have been informed but it is believed that they were not involved in the girls' identification.

Angry crowds

A BBC correspondent said police had earlier indicated that visual identification was not possible and would have been very distressing for the families.

She said it was more likely to have been carried out by scientific tests, matching DNA samples.

Caretaker Ian Huntley, 28
Caretaker Ian Huntley, 28, has been sectioned
The case of the two girls has prompted an emotional response from around the world.

Thousands of people are continuing to send floral and email tributes to Soham, or leave them outside St Andrew's Church.

Inside the church more than 1,400 candles have been lit in memory of the girls.

The public outcry at their deaths also sparked angry scenes outside Peterborough magistrates' court during Ms Carr's remand hearing.

St Andrews Church, Soham
Flowers and tributes fill the churchyard in Soham
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 between the court and the Peterborough's police station in a van with blacked-out windows.

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."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The mood was raw and vengeful"
Prof Nigel Eastman Forensic Psychiatrist
"It's usually very difficult for someone to fake illness over many months"
See also:

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


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