Bystanders jeer girlfriend of man suspected in girls' deaths

Thursday, August 22, 2002

LONDON -- The girlfriend of a man accused of killing two 10-year-old schoolgirls appeared in court Wednesday for allegedly giving false information to police searching for the girls.

Maxine Carr, 25, passed a gantlet of jeering bystanders as she arrived in a police van for the hearing at Peterborough Crown Court.

Carr worked as a teaching assistant at a school in Soham, near Cambridge, attended by Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. The children's Aug. 4 disappearance spawned a huge manhunt and intense press coverage across Britain.

Carr is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, though officials have not said what sort of false information she allegedly gave police.

The girls' bodies were found on Sunday near Lakenheath air base, 7 miles from Soham. Post-mortem examinations have so far failed to reveal the cause of death.

Carr and her boyfriend, Ian Huntley, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of murder.

On Tuesday, Huntley was charged with the girls' murder. Huntley, a 28-year-old caretaker at another school in Soham, was taken to a high-security psychiatric hospital so doctors could assess whether he was fit to stand trial.

Carr arrived at the Peterborough courthouse in a police van, as some 30 officers held back a crowd of several hundred angry onlookers. As hecklers shouted obscenities, Carr was hustled into the building, with blankets shielding her face from photographers and onlookers.

Carr spoke only to confirm her name during the 50-minute hearing. Her lawyers did not apply for bail, and she was ordered held in jail until her next appearance Aug. 29.

Huntley and Carr had appeared prominently on television after the children's disappearance. Huntley told reporters he had seen them that afternoon, and Carr spoke about her fondness for the girls and displayed a hand-drawn card she said one of them had given her.

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