Bulldozers demolish caretaker's home

By Patrick LowmanEVIL double child killer Ian Huntley's former home has been demolished, wiping out any remaining trace of his infamous and unwelcome connections within the community of Soham.

By Patrick Lowman

EVIL double child killer Ian Huntley's former home has been demolished, wiping out any remaining trace of his infamous and unwelcome connections within the community of Soham.

The people of Soham sighed in relief as brick by brick, tile by tile the caretaker's former residence – where friends Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman met their dreadful fate – was brought crashing down.

For more than 18-months the close-knit community has been struggling to come to terms with the abduction and murders of the two 10-year-olds.

You may also want to watch:

Huntley's home, in the grounds of Soham Village College, has only served as a daily reminder of the gruesome and unforgivable crimes he committed.

To this day only the former caretaker knows the full extent of the girl's suffering after being lured into the house, ironically just yards away from where other children now enjoy some of their happiest days in the school playground.

Most Read

Finally, the community is now able to look to the future after all visible reminders of the evil killer and his deceitful girlfriend Maxine Carr have disappeared off the face of the earth forever.

Although an unwelcome reminder of that fateful day on August 4, 2002, when Huntley killed the two girls, the house could not be knocked down until the police had completed its lengthy investigations. It was also vital the home – which Huntley had occupied for less than a year before carrying out the depraved killings – was kept in place throughout the Old Bailey trial, held last year, which saw the former caretaker jailed for life.

A decision was also taken to carry out the work out of school term-time to protect the young pupils from further distress

The school's head teacher Howard Gilbert summed up the feeling of relief saying: “We fully understand why we had to wait so long to do the work, but there is a sense of relief the house has finally come down. This day has been a long time coming and I am glad it has now happened. Although the two girls will never be forgotten, another chapter in this terrible story has now closed and hopefully people can move on.”

In a carefully planned security operation workman, police officers, members of Cambridgeshire County Council and the nations media gathered outside the house, free from public intrusion, early on Saturday morning.

Just before the demolition began the morning sun rose from behind the earlier mist, symbolic of the huge and dark cloud being lifted from the community and replaced by a brighter new horizon.

Prior to being elevated on hydraulic platforms to witness the demolition, journalists were warned the work could be a lengthy process.

The eerie silence that had engulfed the scene was broken when the arm of the giant digger crashed angrily down, pulling the first bricks from the home, just before 8am.

It gave the first insight into the home, which had hidden so many dark secrets. By now the home was nothing but an empty shell. All floorboards, wallpaper, tiles, window frames, fixtures and fittings had been ripped out for forensic testing.

Despite the warnings of lengthy process, the workers operating the digger seemed as keen as the community to get rid of the house as quickly as possible and by 8.15 the first chimney stack of the three-bedroom house fell, leaving just half the property standing.

By 8.25 the most significant and disturbing part of the demolition occurred as the roof was opened directly above the now stark and empty bathroom where it is believed Holly and Jessica came to their unimaginable deaths.

By 8.35 the house was nothing but a pile of rubble, and again a eerie silence fell upon the scene as those witnessing the events realised one of the most disturbing and horrific chain of events in Britain in recent years had just come to an end.

In a bid to avoid a repeat of the grim events when Fred West's Cromwell Street home was knocked down, the rubble at Huntley's house was crushed and taken to a secret location to prevent macabre souvenir hunters targeting the site.

Simon Cobby spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “When Fred West's home was destroyed people were dodging the barriers to get bricks as souvenirs, and we didn't want that to be repeated here. All the rubble will be crushed and taken away and probably recycled.”

Holly and Jessica' parents decided not to attend the demolition, but are being consulted over the future of the site, which is initially due to be simply grassed over.

Once the area is grassed it will be as if Huntley and Carr had never existed, and how the girl's families and the people of Soham wished they never had.

Huntley's home was destroyed in less than 40 minutes, but the despicable crimes he committed will leave a lifetime of pain.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter