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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Tearful Carr remanded in custody
Maxine Carr court sketch
Maxine Carr was questioned over a video link
The woman charged in connection with the killings of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman has made a tearful court appearance via a live video link from Holloway Prison in London.

Maxine Carr, 25, a former classroom assistant, is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

During a 30-minute administrative hearing at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Thursday she did not enter a plea but was visibly distressed.

Holly Wells (left) and Jessica Chapman
A service at Ely Cathedral will celebrate the lives of Holly and Jessica

The bodies of Holly and Jessica were found in Suffolk on 17 August, almost two weeks after they went missing from their home town of Soham, in Cambridgeshire.

Ms Carr's boyfriend Ian Huntley, 28, a former college caretaker, has been charged with the 10-year-olds' murders and is being held at a high security hospital under the terms of mental health legislation.

The decision to allow Ms Carr to follow proceedings via the video link was agreed by the judge and lawyers after angry crowds gathered outside court when she made her first court appearance last week.

Although Thursday's hearing should have been held at the city's crown court it was also held at the magistrates' court, due to the installation recently of new video-link technology.

Reasons for video link
Sensitive case
Media attention
Police would be needed to maintain public order
Convenient for short hearing

Ms Carr could be seen dressed in a black sweatshirt with a Daffy Duck motif on the front, flanked by a prison officer as she sat in Holloway Prison.

The camera was asked to show her the people in the court and who would be speaking.

She spoke only to confirm her name, age and address and that she understood that it was a crown court hearing.

Ms Carr appeared to become more distressed as the hearing continued, at times wiping her eyes and putting head down on the bench in front of her.

Judge Nicholas Coleman finally asked if she was alright.

Press reminder

At the end of the hearing she was remanded in custody for another 28 days.

She is due to appear at Peterborough Crown Court on 27 September.

Maxine Carr
Ms Carr is being held in Holloway prison
The judge reminded journalists of the provisions of contempt of court legislation and said it was in everyone's interest to ensure that Ms Carr had a fair trial.

He added that both Ms Carr's and Mr Huntley's cases would eventually be handled by a High Court judge sitting at Norwich Crown Court.

Mr Huntley has yet to make a court appearance.

After the hearing, Ms Carr's solicitor Roy James said he had supported the judge's decision to raise the issue of publicity.

"I would repeat that Miss Carr has not been charged with murder or abduction in this case and to suggest otherwise would be at best irresponsible and at worst totally unfair," he said.

Church service

He said arrangements for Ms Carr's appearance at the next court hearing had not been decided but it was likely that she would again appear via a video link.

No members of either Holly or Jessica's families were in court but Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, who is heading the investigation into the girls' deaths, did attend.

A special service to celebrate the lives of Jessica and Holly is to be held at Ely Cathedral on Friday.

The invitation-only event is expected to be attended by up to 2,000 people. Hymns, poems and readings have been chosen by the girls' families.

Following extensive forensic tests, the bodies of the 10-year-olds have been released to their families so funerals can be held.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Ms Carr dabbed her eyes and looked distressed"
Solicitor for Maxine Carr, Roy James
"The press should continue to report details of the case"

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26 Aug 02 | England
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