Killer Ian Huntley caught out after eagle-eyed reader spots detail in old newspaper

Twenty years ago this week, the nation was shocked by the disappearance of two schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, during their school summer holidays.

But following the actions of a hero reader calling the Grimsby Telegraph 12 days later, Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr, from Grimsby, were detained and questioned.

After checking the newspaper archives at the suggestion of the caller, a reporter in the Grimsby newsroom alerted Humberside Police to the link with earlier investigations into Huntley, reported Grimsby Live.

His name appeared in court reports and allegations of sex attacks – which the Telegraph had published.

The two 10-year-old schoolgirls had gone for a walk together on August 4 2002 during a family barbecue.

They were then lured into the home of local resident and school caretaker, Ian Kevin Huntley, who subsequently murdered the children – before disposing of their bodies in an irrigation ditch close to RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Cambridgeshire Police quickly established their route and identified Ian Huntley as the last person to see them alive. He brazenly appeared on television interviews to lie about where he had seen them walk.

In fact, during the early days of the investigation, Huntley – who was the last person to see the girls alive – was treated as a witness rather than a suspect in the crime.

Carr also provided an alibi for Huntley and said that they were together. But this was a complete lie as she had been out in a bar in Grimsby at the time the girls disappeared.

He had also been investigated for rape and underage sex with girls prior to moving to Cambridgeshire.

Huntley had allegedly targeted young girls in the mid-1990s while living in Immingham and in Grimsby.

However, despite services investigating complaints and Humberside Police being involved, there was never sufficient evidence to convict him.

His criminal activity was also never spotted by his college employers in Cambridgeshire when applying for a role in 2001.

After the trial at The Old Bailey, Huntley, then 31, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Carr, jailed for three-and-a-half years for conspiring with Huntley to pervert the course of justice, is enjoying a life of freedom, complete with the protection of being given a new identity.

Following the convictions, The Bichard Enquiry led to an overhaul of police forces’ intelligence-based record keeping, educational vetting practices, and information sharing between social services, schools, and police.

Shockingly, the previous year, Huntley had obtained the job as a caretaker using his mother’s maiden name to disguise his previous activity.

His partner, Maxine Carr, worked as a class assistant at the village primary school attended by Holly and Jessica.