The High Court ruling that Soham murderer Ian Huntley is to spend at least 40 years in prison has been met with a positive reaction. Although it fell short of the victims' families' wish that he be forced to spend the rest of his life behind bars, Mr Justice Moses said his order "offers little or no hope of the defendant's eventual release".
FAMILIES OF VICTIMS HOLLY WELLS AND JESSICA CHAPMAN
"We understand that judges can only sentence on the facts of the case brought before them.
"But make no mistake we hope that Ian Huntley spends the rest of his natural life in prison. As parents we may or may not be around in 40 years time.
"But our children will. They like us continue to feel the pain of their sisters' murders each and every day.
"That should not be forgotten even in the distant years to come. That pain does not go away."
John Powley, county councillor for Soham and governor of the school where Huntley was caretaker, said: "I think he has got every year he deserves.
"I hope this means he will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he
needs to be.
"And in the light of the fact we do not have the death penalty any longer, a
sentence of this length had to be expected. He didn't just murder one little
girl, he murdered two.
"He was properly sentenced in a court of law and I hope he spends the rest of
his life behind bars where he deserves to be."
Jim Pace, Tory MP for South East Cambridgeshire said he hopes the announcement will "bring some closure and allow the people of Soham to move on".
"Forty years is obviously a very high tariff by comparative tariffs to other people on a life
"But I think people in my constituency will believe that he has forfeited any right to be part of any society again."
Acting Ch Supt Andy Hebb from Cambridgeshire Police, said: "Today's judgement makes it clear that Ian Huntley will be serving at least 40 years in prison before parole is even considered.
"The prosecution team will now absorb and consider the details of Mr Justice Moses' announcement in slower time."
Angela Paine, a mother of one, said "life in this case should mean life".
She added: "No sentence can bring back those little girls and I feel terribly sorry for
their families. If I had my way, I'd lock him up and throw away the key."
Steven Vincent, a father of one, said: "Anyone who could do such a terrible thing to a child deserves to remain in prison.
"He deserves everything he gets and I do not feel sorry for him one bit."
Trudy Poole, 71, said: "People are trying to move on with their lives here and although we will never forget what happened, we are trying to live our lives as normal."
LOCAL NEWSPAPER EDITOR
Debbie Davies, the editor of the Ely Standard, which includes Soham in its circulation area, said she hopes the court ruling will provide a sense of closure for the victims' families.
"I hope this will enable both sets of parents to take the difficult steps of moving
on to a new chapter in their lives," she said.
"Due to changes in the law, the girls' families and the people of Soham have
been forced to endure a longer period of time than is usual in waiting to hear
Ian Huntley's fate."