[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 15:42 GMT
Soham prosecution: The forensic case
Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells
The girls clothes were cut off their bodies, the prosecution said
The prosecution in the Soham trial has outlined a complex array of forensic evidence against Ian Huntley, the man who denies murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Richard Latham QC said fibres found on Mr Huntley's clothes and carpets matched "precisely" those from Manchester United tops worn by the girls when they disappeared.

He said chemical tests had been carried out to establish the fibre and dye used in the tops was the same as the fibres found.

Short fibres would have been shed from the shirts when they were cut and would be more likely to remain unnoticed and survive the washing process, to be picked up later by experts, the prosecution said.

"We suggest that the most likely recipient of the fibres would be the cutter.

"If those shirts were either cut in the house or by him in the ditch and carried by him back to the hangar, then he got shed fibre on himself and went into the house.

"There is always a potential that some of them would drop in the house. Microscopic in size, they would not be noticed."

Pile of clothes

Fibres attached to clothing could be detached and fall onto other garments or furniture when the item of clothing was removed, Mr Latham said.

Fibres got into that house and [they were] matching the girls' shirts. They were over many items
Richard Latham QC

He then showed the jury an animated film of how this might happen.

"Fibres got into that house and [they were] matching the girls' shirts. They were over many items," Mr Latham said.

Police found one fibre on a grey fleece, three on a pair of beige trousers, and 15 on a yellow shirt which had all been in Mr Huntley's main bedroom, the prosecution said. These would have come from one of the girls' shirts.

New carpet

Mr Latham said 12 fibres from Jessica's shirt were found on carpet material and could "either have come from the carpet in the boot or the carpet in the house - that may be significant".

"We invite you to infer the new boot carpet came from the house. It was one of the off-cuts from the bedroom.

"You may think the purpose of replacing the boot carpet is to put a piece in the boot to replace the fitted carpet on the night when the car was used to take the bodies away."

Mr Latham said one fibre from the car carpet was found on Holly's shirt.

Forensic experts also found eight fibres from carpet in the house on the shirt, along with 29 other fibres from items around the house.

Mr Latham also said 16 fibres were found on the tracksuit bottoms.

In total, 39 fibres from Mr Huntley's clothes were found on Jessica's shirt, while 38 fibres from his clothes, house or car were found on Holly's shirt.

The jury was given a breakdown by the prosecution of other items the fibres were found on:

  • A jacket - one

  • Left boot taken from Huntley while in custody - one

  • The car boot carpet - two

  • A bath mat - two

  • Carpet from the main bedroom - two

  • The main living room carpet - one

  • Another piece of living room carpet - two

  • The hallway - two

  • The carpet at the front door - one

  • From the stairs - two

  • Carpet in the hall - one

  • A cupboard in the main bedroom - two

  • A seat cover - one

  • Furniture in the living room - six

  • Dusters - one

  • Duvet in the main bedroom - one

  • A sheet - two

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
    "Their football shirts had been cut in half"

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
    UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
    Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific