'That thing' is to blame, sobs Carr

Maxine Carr wept in the witness box at the Old Bailey today, saying she "would not be blamed" for what her ex-lover Ian Huntley did to Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Maxine Carr wept in the witness box at the Old Bailey today, saying she "would not be blamed" for what her ex-lover Ian Huntley did to Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

At one stage Carr was unable even to say Huntley's name and pointed her finger at him in the dock, calling him "that thing'.

In an extraordinary moment of drama she broke down under cross examination by prosecution counsel Richard Latham QC when he accused her of lying to make her own situation better.

Carr sobbed angrily: "I don't need to put my position in a better light - I know exactly what I have done, sir.

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"I have come in this witness box to say what I have done and I am not going to be blamed for what that thing in that box has done to me or those children.'

She raised her right hand and pointed at Huntley in the dock, 20ft across the packed court room.

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As Carr regained her composure Mr Latham reminded her she had earlier claimed never to have heard what she had heard in court over the last few days.

Mr Latham asked her if she was referring to Huntley's evidence.

Carr said she meant: "That the children died, he killed those children.'

She later broke down in tears again when she was reminded by Mr Latham how she had referred to Holly and Jessica in the past tense in a television interview in the days after they disappeared.

Carr choked back sobs and her voice cracked with emotion as she said: "I have been feeling very, very guilty for a long, long time, that if I was there I could have stopped them from dying.'

During seven hours in the witness box over two days Carr admitted that she lied to police to protect her then fiance by giving him an alibi.

But she repeatedly insisted she had believed Huntley when he told her the 10-year-old girls had left their house alive.

Carr sobbed yet again as she said: "They went away happy and laughing, that was what he said.

"They were alive when they left my house because that man said so.'

Carr, 26, a former classroom assistant in Holly and Jessica's class, denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice and two counts of assisting an offender.

Huntley, 29, a former caretaker at Soham Village College, denies the double child murder on Sunday August 4 last year but has admitted a single charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The jury has heard he admits Holly died accidentally in his bath and that he killed Jessica as he tried to silence her screams, although he insists he did not mean to kill her.

He bundled their bodies into his car, dumped them in the remote ditch where they were found 13 days later, cut off their clothes and torched their corpses.


But Mr Latham suggested Carr had known the girls were dead while she lied to police to protect Huntley.

She told officers she was in the bath at their home, 5 College Close in Soham, when the girls met Huntley at the house.

She has since admitted she was more than 100 miles away in Grimsby.

Mr Latham said there must have come a point before Huntley was charged when Carr believed he killed the girls.

He said: "You were so obsessed by him and so obsessed in preserving your home and future that you made a decision you would tell lies in order to divert attention away from him.'

Carr replied: "Not away from his being a murderer.'

Mr Latham said she must have worked out he was responsible for the girls' deaths by his behaviour immediately afterwards.

He had cleaned the car and tried to use the washing machine for the first time in their three-year relationship.

Carr admitted she found it "strange' when she returned from Grimsby, two days after the girls disappearance, and found their duvet in the washing machine.

She said she had thought that Huntley might have had a woman in the house and had washed the bedding to get rid of the smell of perfume.

But she insisted she had only thought that an adult had been in her bed, saying "that's disgusting' when it was suggested it could have been a child.

Carr said the thought of another woman was only a fleeting suspicion, dismissed because she had too many other things to think about.

Asked again why she lied, Carr said: "Because of the situation I was in. I didn't want Ian to be arrested. It was all about Ian.'

Mr Latham asked: "All about Ian?'

Carr replied: "I have no conscience, I had nothing to do with those girls disappearing.

"I'm not talking about lying, I'm talking about what happened on Sunday. I wasn't there.'

Mr Latham asked: "That makes it all right?'

Carr replied: "It doesn't make it all right, it makes none of this all right.'

Mr Latham said Huntley had continued to peddle a lie and she had supported him.

He said: "You were able to look people in the eye and lie.'

Carr replied: "Because I knew those girls had walked away from the house - that was the only reason why.'

Mr Latham asked what gave her the right to make the judgment that the girls had left her house safely.

Carr said: "I have no right, sir, all I have is what I feel or what I felt about that person.'

She maintained her lies were based on that belief and that the girls were "out of the equation' in her mind because they had left hers and Huntley's home alive and somebody else was responsible for what had happened to them.

Mr Latham said: "You had worked out they were dead, hadn't you?' but Carr replied: "No.'

Mr Latham said: "Because if they were dead nothing could bring them back, could it?'

Carr replied: "Not if they were dead, no, but they weren't dead, sir.'

Mr Latham said: "They wouldn't be a consideration, they would be out of the equation if they were dead?'

Carr said: "That's not what I meant.'

The lawyer accused her of helping Huntley to carry out "the most careful clean-up' inside their cottage, and of having "lied through her teeth' about the events of August 4.

Under cross-examination by Huntley's barrister Stephen Coward QC, Carr also claimed she was "scared' of Huntley, who had a "controlling attitude' towards her.

Asked about what she had told police about their relationship, she explained: "I told them there was no control - there was no violence against me.

"Yet again to cover - to make him look a better person.'

She claimed he had left her with no choice but to lie.

Carr claimed that Huntley told her in front of two police officers: "You have not made a statement, you're going to have to make a statement.'

She told the jury: "I was pushed into a corner.

"Mr Huntley put me into a position where I couldn't do anything but do that.

"I was scared, I was going home to that man at the end of the day.'

When she was accused of making up that Huntley was "some domestic bad man' she replied: "It is very, very, very true.'

She added: "I loved that man, no matter what he did to me, I loved him.'

Carr, dressed in a black polo neck and light grey jacket and wearing a silver chain round her neck, was in the witness box on day 23 of the trial.

She said she did not believe she was "diverting justice', adding: "I knew I did wrong by lying but...I believed the real person was still out there'.

Carr was briefly re-examined by her own counsel Michael Hubbard QC who asked her if she had slept in the same bed as Huntley until their arrest and she said she had.

He said: "Would you have been in the same bed with him if you believed for a moment that he had unlawfully killed those children?'

Carr, raising her voice, said firmly: "I would not have been in the same house as him.'

Mr Hubbard said it had been suggested that she knew something had happened in the bathroom.

"He said: "Would you have dared use that bathroom if you knew one of the girls had been drowned there?'

Carr replied: "No.'


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