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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Soham murder house is demolished
Ian Huntley's house
The house was levelled in just over half an hour
The demolition of the house where Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were killed by Ian Huntley has been completed.

The property, which came with Huntley's job as caretaker at Soham Village College, has been screened off from public view for months.

Most of the interior was ripped out for evidence in Huntley's trial at the Old Bailey, which ended in December.

The house was destroyed by a digger at 0830 BST, 35 minutes after work began.

Police officers and officials from Cambridgeshire County Council and security staff observed the destruction of the house from the ground in silence.

Cameramen and photographers from the press were allowed to oversee the work from elevated platforms which were raised above the house's corrugated steel fence.

REDUCED TO RUBBLE
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Howard Gilbert, the Soham Village College head teacher who employed Huntley, told the BBC the destruction of the house was "a symbolic sign for the community and a relief that it is now gone".

"It's another chapter finishing," he added.

"But the memories will never go away."

Contractors charged with demolishing the house had signed confidentiality agreements to prevent anything from the house being sold to collectors.

"The rubble will now be crushed into dust and taken away to secret locations over the next few days," a council spokesman said.

"But there will be no bricks left. The last thing we want is for bricks from this house to be sold as souvenirs."

The girls' parents were not present to witness the destruction of the house.

The 29-year-old caretaker Huntley was sentenced to two life terms for murdering the two 10-year-olds, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, at the house in August 2002.

Media watch Ian Huntley's house demolition
The assembled media had a bird's eye view from elevated platforms

Solicitors for Huntley and his former girlfriend Maxine Carr, 26, wrote to the police confirming the house could be released back to the local education authority.

School governors were later told it would not be needed as evidence in an appeal.

Cambridgeshire County Council feared the property could be a permanent reminder of the girls' deaths if left standing.

The two best friends' bodies were discovered in a copse near RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk almost two weeks after they disappeared.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nicola Dann
"Most of the interior was ripped out and used as evidence"



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