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UK girls: Man fit to stand trial

Holly and Jessica were found murdered
Holly and Jessica were found murdered

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PETERBOROUGH, England -- The man accused of the murders of two British schoolgirls has been declared mentally fit to stand trial.

Former school caretaker Ian Huntley, 28, is accused of murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

He appeared at Peterborough Crown Court, in eastern England, on Tuesday, where he was brought from Rampton High Security Hospital after undergoing a process of assessment under the UK's Mental Health Act.

Judge Nicholas Coleman told Huntley that he was being remanded in custody to November 15 after the court heard a pyschiatrist's report that he was not suffering any mental illness.

A written report by Dr Christopher Clark, the consultant forensic psychiatrist at Rampton, concluded that: "Mr Huntley is fit to enter a plea and to stand trial."

It added that Huntley was "not suffering from any form of major mental illness" and there was "no evidence that he has been suffering from a significant mood disorder."

Making his third court appearance since being arrested on August 17, Huntley -- his greying hair close-cropped -- looked distraught and confused as he sat in the dock.

He reacted slowly to instructions from the judge and had to be guided to his feet by a security guard and male nurse sitting with him.

Wearing a white shirt and a smart grey tie, he sat shaking and wringing his hands as the court heard the conclusion of the psychiatrist's report.

Huntley, who is also accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, has been held at Rampton since being charged on August 20 with the abduction and murder of the two 10-year-olds.

The girls, from Soham, Cambridgeshire, disappeared on August 4 and their bodies discovered about two weeks later close to a track in nearby Suffolk.

Huntley's girlfriend, Maxine Carr, 25, a former teaching assistant in Holly and Jessica's class at St Andrew's primary school, has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She is being held on remand in Holloway women's prison, north London.

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