It is an unfortunate facet of modern life that many parents feel they cannot let their children play outside by themselves for fear of their meeting a similar fate to that which befell Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham on the evening of 4 August 2002. It is no less unfortunate that when Maxine Carr, the former fiancée of Holly and Jessica’s murderer, Ian Huntley, leaves jail this weekend she will have to change her identity and go to live in an unnamed town many miles from her home town of Grimsby.
What Ms Carr did was wrong. When questioned by police about her movements on the evening Holly and Jessica were murdered, she lied that she had been in Soham rather than Grimsby. For nearly two weeks she kept up the pretence of knowing nothing about the girls’ disappearance, when as we now know she participated in Huntley’s attempts to cover up his crime. Quite properly, Maxine Carr was found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to three and a half years in jail. Taking into account the time she served in jail on remand, and parole, to which most prisoners are entitled, Ms Carr’s sentence ends this weekend.
And that is where her role in the affair should be laid to rest. She ought to be allowed to rebuild her life, hopefully as a more sensible and mature woman than the insecure flirt she was when she fell for Ian Huntley. But at present it seems unlikely that she will be allowed to do so in peace. On her several court appearances, Ms Carr has appeared to be in danger from the baying mob. The van in which she has been transported has been thumped and rocked; abuse has been shouted at her.