Hailey's Story--She Was an Eleven-Year-Old Child. He Was Soham Murderer Ian Huntley. This is the Story of How She Survived

For Colin, my saviour.

F
IRSTLY
, I
WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY
‘F
UNNY
G
RANDDAD
' –
THANK YOU FOR BEING MY BEST FRIEND THAT NO ONE CAN REPLACE.
You
really
are the brightest star in the sky. God Bless and Rest in Peace.

A special thanks to my newfound friend Lisa, who has helped me find ‘Hailey' again. For that I am truly grateful.

I also want to thank my good friends Shaun and Angela, who have never judged. Thanks.

Thanks to Patrick Anderson, not only a good friend but also a great photographer, who has given me countless pieces of advice and still does so.

Thank you to the Reverend Brian East, who made my wedding day a day I will never forget.

A very special thanks to ChildLine for giving me the support I needed as a child.

A big thanks to a very special gentleman whom I greatly admire, Stephen Richards, the man with the golden pen.

And finally, my saviour, the man with a golden heart – Colin. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am today. A million thank yous.

B
EHIND THE SEEMINGLY INNOCENT MASK OF A SCHOOL CARETAKER SIMMERED THE TICKING TIME BOMB OF A SERIAL RAPIST OF VULNERABLE YOUNG GIRLS, A MAN UNKNOWN TO THE WORLD AT LARGE UNTIL HE FOUND INFAMY AS THE
S
OHAM MURDERER.

Despite past accusations of rape against him, a catalogue of controversial police blunders masked allegations that Ian Huntley had paedophilic tendencies. And, when, on 4 August 2002, he could no longer suppress the malevolence festering within him, he killed Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, both aged ten.

Allegations of Huntley's sexual obsession with young girls can be traced back to August 1995, when the family of a schoolgirl claimed that he had had sex with her. And
yet, even though both the police and social services were to receive a string of accusations of rape against him over the years, he was still able to find work at a school, close to the very innocence of childhood.

News of the guilty verdict against Huntley for the Soham murders was not surprising when it was delivered in December 2003. Even so, the allegations against him that had surfaced in court caused shock waves of repulsion to sweep across Britain. People were appalled to find out that between 1995 and 1999 there were four accusations against Huntley of underage sex with girls of between 13 and 15, three rape allegations and one of indecent assault against an 11-year-old girl, Hailey Edwards.

The nation's fury was aroused when it was learned that Huntley may have abused the innocence of each of these girls. However, a lack of evidence and the refusal of some of the alleged victims to press charges against him had made it impossible for investigators to establish guilt.

Between August 1995 and July 1998, Huntley was reported to what is now North East Lincolnshire Social Services on five occasions: once for the alleged indecent assault and four times for allegedly having sex with underage girls, one 13 years old, the others 15. But each time social workers began investigating, Huntley, with incredible ease, would move on and pick up another girl. His charmed evasion of charges was possible because, amazingly, no link was made between the cases. Each was
dealt with by different social workers and social services kept no record of alleged offenders.

Nevertheless, three of the alleged cases of underage sex were passed on, independently of one another, to the Humberside Police when, in August 1995, an allegation against Huntley of sex with a schoolgirl was made by her family.

Then, in April 1996, after a family reported their concerns to her school, social services became aware of another girl, Emma Fish, who was involved with Huntley. However, the girl refused to speak to social workers and avoided them, and after she was seen by her GP it was decided there was no need for social workers to be further involved.

Huntley's next conquest was 14-year-old Janine Oliver. It has subsequently been claimed that she lost her virginity to Huntley sometime in 1995, but it was not until the following year that she started going out with him, after he won her over with cheap cider and initiated sex. In May 1996, not far off the age of consent and determined to leave home, she refused to file a complaint – even though Huntley was cheating on her with her friends – and the police dropped their investigation.

That same month, the mother of a young girl, Louise Tinmurth, went on the warpath when her 12-year-old daughter met Huntley at a funfair. She claimed that Huntley once locked her in a room and demanded sex but she escaped. When social services interviewed her,
she denied any sexual impropriety and said that she and Huntley were simply friends.

Then there was a 15-year-old who claimed that Huntley had kept her under lock and key during their six-month relationship and starved her for two weeks, after which she collapsed and was eventually taken to hospital. She also gave an account of Huntley sleeping with over 200 girls and said that it was control he sought rather than sex. None of these allegations led to Huntley being charged with any criminal offence.

In May 1996, two further allegations against Huntley were reported to social services by the families of other girls.

The following year, Huntley began a relationship with a 15-year-old, Katie Webber. Soon she became infatuated and said later, ‘Once it was clear I liked him and we'd had sex, he began to treat me like a child, to bully me.'

In July 1998, 12-year-old Hailey Edwards reported to the Humberside Police an indecent assault that she alleged Huntley had committed against her in September of the previous year, when she was 11. After investigating the claim, the police decided not to send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

This allegation was made just a few weeks after Huntley had appeared in court in Grimsby, charged with raping another girl, a petite 18-year-old. On 22 May 1998, he was remanded in custody to the Wolds Prison at Everthorpe, Lincolnshire, before being granted
bail on 30 May, when he secured a place in a bail hostel in Scunthorpe.

Then, on 30 June, after Huntley had stood in the dock at Grimsby Magistrates' Court for a second time, new evidence came to light. In view of this, the CPS decided it no longer had a strong enough case against him in respect of the charge of rape and the case was discontinued.

Only a few months before, on 7 January 1998, Huntley had appeared at Grimsby Crown Court, charged with a quite different offence: burgling a neighbour's house in Florence Street, Grimsby, in November 1995, with an accomplice called Jimmy Dean. The charge was that Huntley and Dean had stolen perfume, jewellery, a Black & Decker heat gun and
£
20 after breaking into the property, which adjoined Huntley's home, through a shared roof space.

The decision by the prosecution and the judge to allow the matter to ‘lie on file' meant that, when police checks were made on Huntley after he applied for the caretaker's job at Soham Village College, he was found to have no criminal convictions. A senior officer involved in the Soham murder investigation described the decision as ‘bizarre'.

What beggars belief is that, even though it is alleged that, between 1995 and 2001, he had a relationship or sexual involvement with seven girls in northeast Lincolnshire, all of them under the age of 16 and all
known to one or more of the statutory agencies, there was never sufficient evidence to establish any criminal offence.

Another woman is said to have reported Huntley to the police for having had sex with her underage daughter. The complaint was made when the girl was 17, but the police have no record of it.

Huntley was also suspected of four alleged rapes, in April and May 1998 and May and July 1999. In connection with the last of these, his former partner, Maxine Carr, gave an alibi for Huntley, just as she did some three years later, when her false testimony was to earn her time behind bars.

To return to 1995, as early as August of that year Huntley had a 13-year-old boy and the boy's 15-year-old sister living with him at 16a Florence Street, Grimsby. After the children's father caused a disturbance at the door and allegedly ‘cuffed' his son, the police were called. It is claimed that the man told police that Huntley had had unlawful sexual intercourse with his daughter, which the girl admitted. The following day PC Teasdale interviewed Huntley under caution at his home. During the interview, Huntley admitted having had the relationship with the girl and knowing that she was under 16, but said that ‘if her parents were OK about it, it was not an offence'.

Huntley escaped charges, the police say, because the girl refused to lodge a complaint. This stands in stark contrast to how Hailey Edwards's boyfriend and eventual husband
Colin Giblin was later pursued and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse despite the fact that Hailey also did not make a complaint – it was her parents.

In February 1996, Huntley had a 15-year-old girl living with him in the flat he was sharing with his mother above a shop at 375 Pelham Road, Immingham, near Grimsby. Some two weeks later, the girl was reported to the Educational Welfare Officer by Kevin Huntley, Ian Huntley's father, as having come to stay with him and Ian three days before at another address in Pelham Road.

The referral to social services was passed on to an unqualified social work assistant in Grimsby West's Assessment and Investigation Team, Vicki Robertson, on 5 March 1996. There is no record of any checks having been made on either Ian or Kevin Huntley, and no record of any action taken. On 21 May, Sue Kotenko, of Grimsby East's Assessment and Investigation Team, gave the go-ahead to close the case. Again Ian Huntley was free to carry on as before.

In April of that year, Huntley was living with another 15-year-old girl at 16 Pelham Road, the address his father had given to an Educational Welfare Officer. Social services simply advised the girl's mother to exercise her parental responsibilities and ‘get the girl home'. Soon afterwards, it is claimed, the mother went to Ian Huntley's home and threatened him with a knife, told him to leave her daughter alone and took her home. This
sequence of events is revealed by a statement made by the girl.

At this time, both the girl and Huntley admitted to her mother that they were sleeping together. By now alarm bells should have been ringing very loudly and radical intervention by the police should have occurred.

In May 1996, there were two referrals to social services in respect of allegations that a 13-year-old girl had allegedly been coerced into having sex with Huntley, and there are police records of the interviews. The girl denied having had sex with Huntley, with the result that he was not questioned about the matter by the police. Later, both the girl and her mother stated that contact had occurred between Huntley and the girl when she was, in fact, 11, in 1993 or 1994, while Huntley was still with his wife. Subsequently, the girl claimed she had unlawful sexual intercourse with Huntley when she was 13.

In April 1997, there is evidence which suggests that Huntley had another 15-year-old girl living with him, but an allegation by her mother of unlawful sexual intercourse was not followed up and again Huntley was free to continue as before.

In September of that year, a 15-year-old schoolgirl claimed she had sexual intercourse with Huntley while in someone else's house. Her school seemed to be interested only in the fact that she had truanted, however. In October, the girl reported to social services
that she had had sex with Huntley but that afterwards she had been warned off by two other girls.

The same social worker was involved as had been back in April. Yet, incredibly, no one in social services spotted the same name, Huntley, and again there are no records to show that either the social worker or the girl's school passed the details on to the police. Another missed opportunity.

It was six years later, in December 2003, that 29-year-old Huntley was convicted of murdering Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. On that day, the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced that an inquiry, headed by Sir Michael Bichard, would look into why the earlier accusations against Huntley were not brought to the forefront, and into the vetting system that had failed to prevent Huntley from getting a job as a school caretaker.

The Bichard Inquiry opened on 13 January 2004. After investigations lasting some five weeks, it found that critical errors had been made by the Humberside and Cambridgeshire Police Forces and by other organisations involved in the intelligence network. Miscommunication between the agencies handling the cases, as well as procedural flaws, were blamed for the fact that most of the complaints against Huntley were never linked together. There were even claims by the BBC that some of the reports of sexual assaults that were sent to Humberside's divisional intelligence bureau were
accidentally deleted during a routine ‘weeding' of the records by civilian staff in July 2000.

Had the reports been able to link all the allegations together, investigators would probably have been alerted to the cloud of suspicion that hung around Huntley and may have prevented the deaths of Holly and Jessica.

Another crucial problem was errors made by the Cambridgeshire Police in their use of their ‘check system', which allowed Huntley to get a job at Soham Village College. It was widely reported that, during police background checks into Huntley on a national police database, his name and date of birth were entered incorrectly, so that no criminal history was revealed. Huntley's employers would later claim that, had they known about his past, he would never have been hired by the school.

As a result of Bichard, new, more rigorous vetting procedures were supposedly introduced. However, a disturbing case that has been tried since Huntley's conviction calls into question the effectiveness of these new measures. In the mid-1980s, Raymond Newell was given a job as a school caretaker by Gwent County Council at Bryn Primary School in Pontllanfraith, South Wales, despite his criminal record. Unsuspecting parents and teachers had, at that time, no idea that Newell, then in his late fifties, had a record of violence and dishonesty stretching back 46 years. This included three violent assaults, one on a police officer for which he was jailed
for nine months in 1969. In 1981, just a few years before he became a school caretaker, he had been fined for causing actual bodily harm.

Just as Huntley did, Newell lured children into the school where he worked when it was empty at weekends. In October 2005, Cardiff Crown Court found Newell guilty of seven of the ten sexual assaults he was charged with. The victim, a pre-teenage girl who was not a pupil at Bryn Primary School, had described how the caretaker pulled down her clothing and his own before rubbing himself against her.

Just as Huntley tried to lie his way out of responsibility for the Soham murders, Newell, who had use of a caretaker's bungalow in the grounds of the school as a perk of his job, claimed the girl was making it all up. To expose the hollowness of Newell's denial, his distressed victim had to use a video link to the courtroom to give evidence to the court and be cross-examined.

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