The hidden life of Britain’s most hated woman Maxine Carr

The hidden life of Britain's most hated woman Maxine Carr 2
Advertisement

A controversial drama about how Maxine Carr helped cover up her lover Ian Huntley’s child murders will air on Monday amid fears that Britain’s most hated woman may be moved again with the taxpayer again picking up the bill. 

Advertisement

The first trailer for the new mini-series, Maxine, documenting the Soham murders through the eyes of killer Huntley’s fiancée was released last week ahead of the broadcast of the first episode on Monday on Channel 5. 

Jemma Carlton and Line of Duty’s Scott Reid star as Maxine Carr and Ian Huntley star in the drama – but critics have decried the decision to make the show so close to the 20th anniversary of the murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both aged 10 when they were killed in May 2002.

Advertisement

Despite her part in one of the most heinous crimes in modern British history, Carr has enjoyed a new life bankrolled by the taxpayer. She is reported to have been moved to at least 10 different safe houses since her release 18 years ago after just 21 months behind bars.

With the state protecting her identity, and guarding her around the clock, a dozen women are feared to have been abused or attacked by people who falsely believed they were Carr, who is now believed to be married with at least one child.

An insider has said the new drama will likely drum up interest in Carr’s deceit – and could see her move again – with Britons picking up the bill. A source told MailOnline: ‘Too much time and public money has been spent on her secret identity. They won’t hesitate to move her again if her cover is blown’. 

Carr left Foston Hall jail in 2004 after serving just 21 months – and the cost of her new name, identity and police protection has cost taxpayers £2.5million or more.

Advertisement

Following her release taxpayers even picked up her £8,000 bill for dental work and cosmetic surgery to change her appearance.  Her hair colour and style will also have been changed. It was also claimed that Carr asked to have her shrinking breasts enlarged on the NHS for mental health reasons, claiming she was depressed because her breasts were too small. 

On top of fees for a makeover, there is also the cost of probation officers and a psychologist to ‘care’ for her. 

Chilling: The first trailer a new mini-series, Maxine, documenting the Soham murders through the eyes of killer Ian Huntley's fiancée Maxine Carr has been released (Actress Jemma Carlton, who plays Maxine, pictured)

Real life: The true crime drama which is set for release on Monday 10 October, 20 years after the murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman (Maxine Carr pictured in 2003)

Chilling: The first trailer a new mini-series, Maxine, documenting the Soham murders through the eyes of killer Ian Huntley’s fiancée Maxine Carr has been released (Actress Jemma Carlton, who plays Maxine, pictured left). The real Carr, who later had cosmetic surgery paid for by the taxpayer, is pictured in her mugshot right

Final photo: Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were murdered by Ian Huntley on August 4 2002 (pictured two hours before their disappearance)

Final photo: Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were murdered by Ian Huntley on August 4 2002 (pictured two hours before their disappearance)

Advertisement
Line of Duty 's Scott Reid playes Huntley.

Sickening: Huntley was found guilty of killing both girls and later sentenced to two life terms, with a minimum 40-year tariff at the maximum security Frankland prison in Durham (pictured 2002)

Line of Duty ‘s Scott Reid playes Huntley. He was found guilty of killing both girls and later sentenced to two life terms, with a minimum 40-year tariff at the maximum security Frankland prison in Durham (pictured 2002)

Carr moved repeatedly because of the reaction of people living in the area and in 2020 she was outed on social media, according to The Sun. 

Her alias, location and a recent photo were reportedly posted and then deleted – but police were said to have moved Carr to a safe house after the leak and arrangements were made to relocate her, her husband and son.

Maxine Carr smiles while in Holloway Prison in 2002

Maxine Carr smiles while in Holloway Prison in 2002

Advertisement

The Soham liar is just one of a small number of criminals in the UK to be given a secret identity upon her release, believed to cost the taxpayer up to £500,000-a-year. 

She was also give a home – and is rumoured to be married and have children. Her alias and location is unknown and she is protected by a lifelong anonymity order – making it illegal to reveal her new life. 

Huntley, who received two life sentences for the murders in 2003, killed Holly and Jessica in his house after he invited them inside, but he insisted their deaths were accidental. 

It is only recently that he has admitted he was guilty of their murders – and has said that he will never apply for parole out of respect for their families.

Advertisement

Before his conviction, he had told detectives that Carr – who worked as a teaching assistant for their class at St Andrew’s Primary School – was in the house, but she had actually gone back to Grimsby to visit relatives. 

Carr was jailed for three-and-a-half years for perverting the course of justice by covering for Huntley but only served half of her sentence.

Since her release from prison in 2004 it has cost the taxpayer millions to provide Carr with a new identity and police protection.

At one point she was living in the same coastal town as Tracey Connolly – the cruel mother of Baby P. The area was dubbed the ‘monsters-by-the-sea resort’. Furious locals complained that the town is being used as a ‘dumping ground’ for criminals.

Advertisement

It was chosen because of cheap housing and a high turnover of visitors and casual workers which should make it harder to identify ex-convicts. But this has not prevented residents from recognising their infamous faces. 

In 2011 Carr gave birth to her first child – a son – at the safe house where she had been living under a secret identity. She said previously it was her ‘life’s dream’ to have children around her. 

However, the terms of the injunction are so stringent that their child cannot be told of its mother’s true identity or her role in covering for Huntley. It means the baby could grow up never knowing its mother became one of the most reviled women in the country after the murders in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

And a separate court order may be necessary to ensure the child’s identity is also protected. She is said to have miscarried twice after becoming pregnant by different lovers.

Advertisement

In 2014 she married her boyfriend – who was willing to forget her past – at a luxury wedding venue where his family were said to be ‘horrified’. Her husband was described as being ‘absolutely besotted’ with her.

Maxine was given away by her mother — who was jailed herself in 2004 after intimidating a witness who gave evidence against Carr.  A source said at the time: ‘The families of Holly and Jessica will never get to see their daughters marry’.

Carr is one of only around five former UK prisoners protected by a lifelong anonymity order — along with child killer Mary Bell and James Bulger’s murderers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The most recent example is Britain’s worst mother, Karen Matthews, who abducted her daughter Shannon and hid her in a divan bed to collect the reward money.

On-screen: The three-part series examines the police investigation into school assistant Maxine and her caretaker fiancé Ian from Carr¿s perspective

On-screen: The three-part series examines the police investigation into school assistant Maxine and her caretaker fiancé Ian from Carr’s perspective

Advertisement
The drama tells the story of Maxine's tumultuous relationship with Huntley; why she lied for him and how she became 'public enemy number one'

The drama tells the story of Maxine’s tumultuous relationship with Huntley; why she lied for him and how she became ‘public enemy number one’

Search: The trailer opens with a scenes of the police searching in long grass as they attempt to find the two missing girls

Search: The trailer opens with a scenes of the police searching in long grass as they attempt to find the two missing girls

Story: The disappearance of the schoolgirls, which happened after a family barbecue in August 2002, sparked Britain's biggest-ever missing persons' enquiry

Story: The disappearance of the schoolgirls, which happened after a family barbecue in August 2002, sparked Britain’s biggest-ever missing persons’ enquiry

Maxine would become Britain's most reviled woman

Maxine would become Britain’s most reviled woman

Advertisement
Hunch: In the drama the police are heard speculating that Maxine be keeping a secret after she used past tense to refer the children during the search

Hunch: In the drama the police are heard speculating that Maxine be keeping a secret after she used past tense to refer the children during the search

Played by Scott, a desperate Ian is then seen with his head in his hands, shouting: ‘I can’t go to prison,’ before Jemma, playing Maxine, reassures him that nobody will be going to jail.

She is then seen standing on the doorstep of their home, where a policeman tells Maxine: ‘Your story might jog a memory, help find them,’ to which Maxine smiles and says: ‘We want to help, don’t we.’

Recreating real-life scenes which were broadcast to the nation on television news as she described the missing girls, Maxine says of Holly and Jessica: ‘They were ever so funny. They were brilliant, they were kind to everybody.’

Advertisement

The police are then heard speculating that Maxine be keeping a secret, with a detective pondering: ‘She used past tense because she knows they’re dead?’

Maxine is then seen in the interrogation room as she insists Ian did not do anything to the girls.

In further chilling scenes, Maxine is then seen practicing looking serious in the mirror after Ian shouts at her: ‘You tell me don’t look so guilty. You don’t look so cheery!’ 

The disappearance of the schoolgirls, which happened after a family barbecue in August 2002, sparked Britain’s biggest-ever missing persons’ enquiry – but came to a tragic end when their bodies were found dumped in a remote ditch.

Advertisement

School caretaker Huntley – then 28 – had lured the girls to his house and murdered them before dumping their bodies and burning their clothes.  

His then-fiancée Carr who provided him with a false alibi – but was in Grimsby visiting her mother at the time of the murders – was jailed for perverting the course of justice but released in 2004 with a new identity.

She was dubbed ‘The Most Hated Woman In Britain’ following the trial, which saw Huntley admit to killing the children, but claiming their deaths were accidental.  

Channel 5 said in a statement about the drama: ‘Maxine will examine the investigation of school assistant Maxine Carr and her caretaker fiancé Ian Huntley, who was later imprisoned for the double murder of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the tragic case that shocked the nation

Advertisement

‘The three-part drama will explore their tumultuous relationship through Maxine’s perspective; why she lied for him and how she became public enemy No.1, as well as reflect the scale of the police investigation and subsequent media frenzy around the biggest manhunt ever seen in British history.’  

Sebastian Cardwell, Deputy Chief Content Officer UK, at Paramount, said: ‘The series marks a new venture into the true crime genre for Channel 5 drama and will give viewers an in depth examination of Maxine Carr and her role in one of the most notorious crimes in recent British history.’

Mike Benson, Managing Director at Clapperboard added: ‘Few crimes have embedded themselves in the national psyche more than the tragic events of Soham in 2002. It was a case which was unique in recent history in terms of the sheer scale of the media coverage and how this affected and nearly derailed the investigation and subsequent trial. We will explore this within the drama alongside the role played by Maxine Carr – dubbed ‘The Most Hated Woman in Britain.’  

Huntley was found guilty of killing both girls at his 2004 trial and later sentenced to two life terms, with a minimum 40-year tariff at the maximum security Frankland prison in Durham.

Advertisement
Murderer: Huntley had lured the girls to his house and murdered them before dumping their bodies in a remote ditch. He was a caretaker at the local Soham Village College and was arrested after the girls' bodies were discovered 13 days later

Murderer: Huntley had lured the girls to his house and murdered them before dumping their bodies in a remote ditch. He was a caretaker at the local Soham Village College and was arrested after the girls’ bodies were discovered 13 days later

Tragedy: Police found the girls' burned Manchester United shirts in a bin at Soham College where Huntley worked

Tragedy: Police found the girls’ burned Manchester United shirts in a bin at Soham College where Huntley worked

He was a caretaker at the local Soham Village College and was arrested after the girls’ bodies were discovered 13 days after their disappearance.

During a two-week appeal to find the girls, Huntley gave TV interviews and joined in searches while his then-girlfriend Carr gave him a false alibi.

Advertisement

He was jailed for life in 2005.

During his trial, he said that he had ‘killed the girls accidentally’ but later admitted the killing in leaked tapes from prison.  

In a 2018 tape he said: ‘I know the people of Soham took me into their community, they trusted me, gave me a job and a home, and I betrayed them in the worst possible way.

‘And I am sorry for what I have done, sorry for the pain I have caused to the families and friends of Holly and Jessica, for the pain I have caused my family and friends, and for the pain I have caused the community of Soham.

Advertisement

‘I am genuinely, genuinely sorry and it breaks my heart when it is reported I have no remorse, that I relish something. I do not.’

He added: ‘I can’t change anything. I cannot remove that day from history, what I have done. I know those girls would be 26 this year with families of their own, jobs and lives. I thought about them when they were turning 21 and when they were turning 18. I know no matter what I say that people are not going to think any better of me … but I would much rather people have the truth about how I feel. I have nothing to gain by saying these things.

‘I know I am never getting out. I have accepted that from day one.’

Huntley said he does not want to be freed from prison and insisted he will not apply for parole out of ‘consideration’ for his victims’ families.

Advertisement

Maxine starts on Monday 10 October at 9pm on Channel 5.

Advertisement