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UK schoolgirls murder trial begins

Ian Huntley
Huntley: Charged with double murder

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LONDON, England -- A school caretaker murdered two 10-year-old schoolgirls and then hid their bodies in the hope they would never be found, a jury at London's Old Bailey court has been told.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC said the girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, "fell into the hands" of Ian Huntley shortly after leaving Holly's home in the village of Soham in Cambridgeshire on the evening of Sunday, August 4 last year.

Latham was opening the prosecution case at the trial of Huntley, 29, and his ex-girlfriend Maxine Carr, 26.

Huntley denies the double child murder but has pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Carr, a former classroom assistant at the girls' primary school, denies one charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and two charges of assisting an offender.

Huntley murdered them both "for some reason known only to him" then set about disposing of their bodies, Latham said.

Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman

"We allege that he went on to remove the bodies from Soham. We allege that he hid them in such a way that they would never be found. In this objective he was very nearly successful," he said.

The girls' disappearance dominated the UK press at the time, as it turned into one of Britain's biggest manhunts.

Their bodies were found in an overgrown ditch in Lakenheath, Suffolk, eastern England, 13 days after their disappearance.

Parents of the girls attended the first day of the trial Wednesday, hearing the prosecution outline its case.

Kevin Wells and his wife Nicola, as well as Sharon Chapman and her husband Leslie, sat a few feet from the dock.

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