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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 17:00 GMT
Bodies 'dumped soon after deaths'
Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells
The girls disappeared last year

The bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were most likely dumped in secluded countryside shortly after they died, an Old Bailey jury has heard.

Three members of the public came across the scorched bodies in a ditch near Lakenheath, Suffolk, on 17 August, the court was told.

The prosecution claims forensic evidence from the site, about half an hour's drive from Soham, showed the bodies had been transferred there within hours of the girls' disappearance on 4 August 2002.

Mr Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, told the court: "We invite you to conclude they died on a Sunday night ... they disappeared on that night ... the killer would want to dispose of the bodies as quickly as possible ... we suggest the bodies were dumped on the night they died."

Significant evidence, Mr Latham claimed, linked the scene to Ian Huntley and his red Fiesta car.

It was an isolated spot among fields - and a place well known to Mr Huntley because his father had lived at two addresses nearby, and his grandmother lived nearby, the prosecution claimed.

Photographs

The jury was shown maps of the area where two 10-year-olds were found, and a photograph of the girls' bodies which were behind a branch.

The jury was told this was the closest shot of the bodies that they would see during the trial.
Ian Huntley
Ian Huntley knew the area, the prosecution cliams

Regrowth of trampled nettles around the site suggested they had been there for 13 and a half days, the prosecution claimed.

The bodies were so badly decomposed they "may never have been found", Mr Latham said.

"If you are in a panic and if you've got two bodies in your car that you are desperate to get rid of, we would suggest that there are endless places on the way to Lakenheath that you can dump bodies," Mr Latham told the court.

"But of course, if you dump bodies in the open, they will be likely be found immediately."

Naked bodies

Police examination of the scene found "scorched shrubbery" around the bodies and flattened nettles from the track to the ditch, the court was told.

The naked bodies were alongside one another, and both girls were still wearing necklaces, Mr Latham said.

Clothing had been removed and the bodies set on fire after they had been dumped, he claimed, probably with petrol, but this had only partially destroyed them.
Whoever it was who dumped the bodies would not have set off down that track in the dark unless they knew where they were going
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting

The prosecution went on to further outline forensic evidence it claimed linked Mr Huntley's car to the Lakenheath site.

Mr Latham said chalky soil was found under the front suspension of Mr Huntley's Fiesta and compared to soil samples from the track.

The prosecution told the court this was "consistent we say with going near the edge of the track when turning around."

Mr Latham alleged pollen samples found at the scene matched pollen samples found in Huntley's car, and that further soil samples from the track were found inside the car.

Petrol can

The prosecution asked the jury to consider Mr Huntley's whereabouts two days later.

"Whoever killed the girls was concerned about forensic evidence and we suggest revisited the scene and fired the bodies on a second occasion. We will ask you to consider Huntley's movements on the Wednesday, " Mr Latham said.

The school caretaker had a red petrol can on the Wednesday, later found by police in the boot of his car, which can be linked by pollen evidence to the site, Mr Latham said.

The prosecution concluded to the jury: "We suggest that Ian Huntley knew this area really well.

"Whoever it was who dumped the bodies would not have set off down that track in the dark unless they knew where they were going and what they would find.

"Whoever dumped the bodies knew it would be a suitable place to put them and that they would be unlikely to be caught in the act."

Ms Carr, 26, has denied two charges of assisting an offender and one of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Huntley denies two counts of murder but has admitted a single charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.


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