Huntley 'not mentally ill'

Psychiatrists spent almost 50 days examining Ian Huntley before concluding he was not suffering from any serious mental illness.

He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act within hours of his arrest on suspicion of double murder and taken to Rampton high security hospital in Nottinghamshire.

Police called in doctors after Huntley refused to answer questions and dribbled throughout their attempts to interview him.

Onlookers at his first court appearance described him as a blank-eyed "silent zombie" who twitched and shuffled in the dock.

Huntley 'not clinically insane'

But psychiatrists found the former school caretaker was not clinically insane and returned him to prison to stand trial for the killings of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

A report by Rampton's consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Christopher Clark in October last year concluded that Huntley was not suffering from any form of major mental or psychotic illness.

He found Huntley's concentration and memory were normal and that there was no evidence of "a significant mood disorder such as depression".

Huntley was watched for 24 hours a day at Rampton, with his every move being analysed.

And the assessment continued at Woodhill Prison, which caters for some of the most complex personalities in the prison system and is dubbed the British Alcatraz.

Inmates include killer and kidnapper Michael Sams and Britain's most dangerous prisoner Charles Bronson, who was jailed in 1975 for armed robbery and has carried out a string of violent attacks and hostage-taking incidents since his conviction.

High suicide risk

Huntley continued to see psychiatrists throughout his time in prison while awaiting trial and was treated as a high suicide risk.

But he still managed to take an overdose in June this year when he hoarded 29 anti-depressant tablets. He also wrote to a national newspaper claiming to have attempted suicide two weeks before.

He was discovered "fitting" in his cell at Woodhill after apparently hiding the medication in a teabag and it was feared he could die.

But he made a full recovery and was sent back to jail.

Contemplated suicide

Huntley claimed during his trial that he had suffered a nervous breakdown after he was accused of rape in 1998 - a case that was later dropped - and said he contemplated suicide in the days after the girls' deaths.

He stored a bottle of 56 anti-depressants, prescribed to him nine days after the deaths, but said his relationship with Maxine Carr stopped him from killing himself.

But when she cut off all communication at the end of 2002, he made his jail suicide bid.

Bizarrely, he claimed the botched attempt restored his memory of events leading up to the girls' deaths.

Huntley told the jury he had suffered some form of black-out immediately after the deaths and that his first memory of the day was of sitting on his landing, just feet away from Jessica's corpse, with his own vomit on the carpet.

The caretaker claimed he had only hazy memories of the immediate aftermath of his arrest and his time at Rampton, and told his mother during a visit to Woodhill that he could remember the girls leaving the house alive.


He said he had suffered a series of "shut-downs" which had left him unable to speak to police, but told his mother on October 23 last year that he was confident he could now clear his name.

Yet on October 27 this year his lawyer Stephen Coward QC halted legal argument at the Old Bailey to announce that his client could now remember that Jessica died as he tried to silence her screams.

Carr sobbed beside her ex-lover in the dock, wiping tears from her eyes as his lawyer told the court Huntley's version of events.

The former caretaker stared at the floor and just a few feet behind the dock the parents of the two 10-year-olds listened intently as Mr Coward set out what would become his defence.

It was prefaced by the words that it was what had happened "to the best of Mr Huntley's present knowledge and belief", leaving the way open for the killer to change his version of events at any time.

And it was utterly rejected by the prosecution, just as it would be by the jury some six weeks later.

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