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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 16:26 GMT
Key points: Day 18
Maxine Carr and Ian Huntley
Maxine Carr and Ian Huntley both deny the charges
The Soham trial is hearing evidence at the Old Bailey.

Ian Huntley was the first witness to take the stand as the defence opened its case on Monday.

Mr Huntley denies murdering the 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Ms Carr, his former girlfriend, denies two charges of assisting an offender and one of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Key details from Day 18 are as follows:

  • Describing the events of 4 August - the day the girls went missing - Mr Huntley says the girls came of their own volition into the house because Holly had a nosebleed. There was no plan to "lure" them.

  • Mr Huntley reveals, for the first time, that he and the girls first sat for a while in the living room before moving upstairs to the bathroom.

  • He said the bath had about six to eight inches of water in it, ready to bathe his dog Sadie.

  • Mr Huntley describes events in the bathroom in a faltering voice. "I went to pass Holly some more tissue. I'm not very sure how it happened. I sort of turned. I slipped and lost my footing. I sort of went forward in the direction of Holly." He says she fell back into the bath - possibly, he says, he knocked her in.

  • He says he was unable to think what to do. "I think it might have been a combination of two things. I think panic and the [sound of Jessica] screaming," he says.

  • He says he went over to Jessica, who he says was standing in the doorway, still screaming. "I put my hand over her mouth," he says. He says he was trying to stop her from screaming.

  • Mr Huntley says he then checked the girls for signs of life, but there were none. He says he sat on the corner of the landing, looking at Jessica. He says he was sick. He says he did not call 999. "I kept thinking, 'How do I explain this to the police?' If you can't believe what has happened yourself, how are you going to expect the police to believe it either?"

    He later says not calling the police was "a decision I regretted".

  • Mr Huntley says he then put both girls into the boot of his car. Asked about where he decided to go, Mr Huntley says: "I was just driving. I did not have a destination in mind."

  • Mr Huntley says he took two black bin liners and a petrol can. He says he took the petrol can "to destroy any evidence".

  • Mr Huntley says he had never before been to Common Drove, the track leading to the place where the bodies were found.

  • Mr Huntley says there was a "density of vegetation". He noticed there was a ditch. He says he rolled the girls' bodies in, and then went down the bank of the ditch to make sure it was not visible from the track.

  • He says he then realised the girls would have carpet fibres on them. He vehemently denies touching either of the girls "in a sexual way". He says he removed the girls' clothes before putting petrol into the ditch and setting it alight.

  • Asked how he felt and what he was hoping afterwards, Mr Huntley says: "I wanted to tell somebody. I tried on several occasions to tell Maxine... couldn't get the words out. How do you tell somebody that you are responsible for the death of two girls and then what happened after that?"

  • He says he did not return to the site subsequently.

  • He says when he told people false accounts of his final interactions with the girls he was aware that he was lying. He said he was frightened and didn't think people would believe what had happened.

  • Mr Huntley says unless Miss Carr's legal team had told her his account of events, "this will be the first time Maxine will have heard what happened that day".

  • Mr Huntley says his previous arrest on a rape charge - for which he was later cleared - hit him "very hard": "I missed my daughter being born. I lost my home. I lost my job."

  • Mr Huntley says he and Miss Carr did discuss telling police she had been in Soham at the time of the girls' disappearance but he "wasn't very happy about it".

  • Asked about what prompted his suicide attempt at Woodhill Prison, Mr Huntley says: "Too many reasons."

  • Mr Huntley says "I wish I could turn back the clock. I wich I could do things differently... I am sorry for all that happened... I accept I am responsible for the deaths of Holly and Jessica... but there is nothing I can do about it now."

  • Stephen Coward QC asks if Mr Huntley intended to kill Holly and Jessica or cause them serious bodily harm. To both he replies: "No I did not".

  • Earlier, just after taking the stand, Mr Huntley says he moved to Soham in January 2002 with Maxine Carr. They first met in January or February 1999.

  • The defence says no hair, blood or fingerprints from Holly Wells or Jessica Chapman were found either in Mr Huntley's home or in his Ford Fiesta.

  • In final submissions from the prosecution, the court is read a statement from forensic toxicologist John Taylor. It concludes the girls were not sedated immediately before their deaths. However, his tests are unable to confirm whether the girls had consumed alcohol.

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