Drifter obsessed with younger girls

Ian Huntley's very ordinary world was turned upside down when his wife ran off with his younger brother and his mother set up home with a lesbian lover.

The traumatic events in the mid-1990s brought him close to a complete breakdown and he embarked on a string of affairs in which he preyed on younger women and underage girls, seeking to control and manipulate them.

He impressed the youngsters by projecting an image of success, wearing suits and telling tall tales about his past, including that he was a pilot and a bodybuilder.

But, in reality, it was all a facade which hid his own failings as he drifted aimlessly between bedsits and low paid jobs.

Weak child

Huntley was born on January 31, 1974 and brought up in the working class port of Immingham, near Grimsby, by parents Kevin and Lynda, with whom he later worked in a Heinz factory.

A weak child, hospitalised by asthma and bullied, he went to Eastfield Primary school, then Healing Comprehensive, where Maxine Carr was later a pupil, and finally Immingham Comprehensive.


He was ridiculed by other pupils as "Spadehead" and the "white cliff of Dover" because of his large forehead and was in the bottom class for most subjects.

Classmates remember a child who was "quiet", a "bit of a loner" and a "hanger-on" who ran to teachers if provoked.

Little about him stood out apart from his having had to be taken to hospital several times after asthma attacks.

School friend Rachel Buttrick, now an Open University student, said: "There were people at school who you expected to be in prison and there were those people who acted up in class because they were academically bright - Ian wasn't one of them.

"I would never have said that the person I knew would have been capable of doing something like this.

"I wouldn't say he was a shrinking violet by any stretch of the imagination but he wasn't one of those you would single out as a troublemaker.

"He got on with his work, he had friends and he did the things that normal children do. He was a typical adolescent.

"That's why it's such a shock. He was such a nice, outgoing and friendly person. He seemed

like a happy-go-lucky person."

Another friend at Healing, Yvonne Puck, now a mother of two, said Huntley was an "average lad".

She added: "He just blended into the crowd. He wasn't outstanding at anything. He was just your normal, average kid growing up."

Obsession with younger girls

But in the years immediately after he left school it seems Huntley's obsession with younger girls was already materialising.

Schoolgirls would give him money to buy alcohol for them in off licences and, after his arrest at Soham, one woman came forward to say she had been French-kissed by Huntley when he was 18 and she was 13.

She said he had tried the same with some of her friends.

In December 1994, Huntley met 18-year-old Claire Evans, embarked on a whirlwind romance and asked her to marry him.

At least one local girl had already turned him down.

They wed within weeks at a register office in Grimsby and went to live in a one-bed flat above an electrical shop.

But the marriage was over within days and Claire, an RAF administrator, moved out.

Ex-wife married brother

She later fell into the arms of Huntley's younger brother Wayne, who had been a witness at the wedding.

After much soul-searching Wayne, an engineer, confessed the relationship to Huntley, who was living with their mother at the time.

The cuckolded older brother flew into a rage, vowing never to speak to the younger, more successful Wayne or his wife again.

The love triangle became the subject of local gossip and Huntley was shattered, claiming to fellow drinkers in pubs that he had caught his brother and his wife in bed together.

His revenge was to refuse to get divorced until 1999, during which time Wayne and Claire stayed together.

In 2000 they were eventually able to marry at Thetford United Reformed Church in Norfolk in a ceremony much grander than the first wedding. Ian Huntley was not there.

Humdrum life

Following the collapse of his marriage in 1995, Huntley moved round various cheap rented flats and dead-end jobs in Grimsby in what became a humdrum life.

His only release was his ability to pick up girls, generally young, in pubs and clubs.

One 28-year-old Immingham woman recalled how Huntley tried to chat her up in a nightclub on the outskirts of Grimsby.

She said: "I think he had been sat there thinking of chat-up lines.

"There was something about him. He was too smooth - a bit of a creep."


At the age of 23 Huntley began a relationship with a 15-year-old girl with whom he later fathered a daughter.

He was working with the girl's mother selling charity scratch cards and living in a caravan in their back garden at the time.

Huntley and the teenager moved into a flat together.

According to the girl, he made her do all the cooking and cleaning, persuaded her to leave school and go to work in a fish factory and stopped her seeing her family.

She said later that she felt bullied and controlled - on one occasion she burnt a pizza and Huntley slapped her.

She eventually fled and her father picked her up from a callbox.

Huntley's final partner Maxine Carr told jurors that the girl had given birth to Huntley's daughter, now aged five, in 1998.

Another woman he was involved with was Rebecca Bartlett, who was 19 when Huntley was 23.

She lived with him for nearly six months, during which time Huntley was calling himself Ian Nixon.

Ms Bartlett says he flew into a rage when she told him she believed she might be pregnant - and the relationship ended.

Parents split up

During this turbulent period in his early 20s, Huntley's parents, Lynda and Kevin, also split up and Lynda went to live with a lesbian lover Julie Beasley, who was nearly 20 years younger and a security guard at a factory where she worked.

The couple lived openly together above a shop.

This and his own turbulent love life took their toll and, according to friends, Huntley had some form of breakdown.

One said: "He couldn't believe what was happening to his life, everything he loved was turning upside down."

It was following the parental split that Huntley took his mother's maiden name and began calling himself Nixon.

His tendency towards being a Walter Mitty character intensified and he would tell workmates and girlfriends all sorts of stories about his past.

At different times he said he was a former RAF pilot pushed out on medical grounds, that his father had died when he was a child and even that he had won the Lottery.

Various jobs

He got jobs through a local recruitment agency, including working at a fish processing plant in Caistor, near Grimsby.

Huntley also worked packing nappies in a Kimberly-Clark factory and as a barman and security guard.

Described by some who knew him as "full of himself", he appeared to believe that he was always destined for something better.

When a recruitment agency got him job at a Kwik Save supermarket, he came back with plans to start his own agency.

Sue Penney, from the recruitment agency, drove Huntley to work at the fish processing plant and said he seemed "a bit of a lonely person".

Minor offences

During the 1990s Huntley was convicted of several minor offences.

In November 1993 he was fined £250 with £25 costs for driving his motorcycle in Immingham without a licence or insurance. His modest means meant he paid the fine at £7 a week.

In March 1996 he was fined £80 and ordered to pay £35 costs for not having a television licence. He paid the penalties off at £2 a week.

On January 7, 1998 he appeared at Grimsby Crown Court charged with having burgled a neighbour's house in Florence Street, Grimsby, two years before but the matter was allowed to lie on file.

Four months later, in May 1998, there was a critical turning point in his life when he was charged with the rape of an 18-year-old girl in Grimsby.

The girl was walking home from Hollywoods nightclub in Bethlehem Street when she was attacked in an alley.

Huntley was arrested, charged and remanded in custody but the following month the case was dropped after CCTV footage emerged which showed that he had been elsewhere at the time of the attack.

Many people who knew him, though, had read a report about the case in the local newspaper, the Grimsby Evening Telegraph, and the rape allegation followed him around.

Huntley's father, Kevin, told reporters: "It ruined his life. He lost his job, his house and everything else. He had nothing. His mother had to clothe him."

His mother added: "I've never seen a man cry so much. He sobbed his heart out. He has no luck."

The year after he was cleared, in 1999, he took a temporary job as an office supervisor at an insurance company in the small town of Market Rasen over the county border in Lincolnshire.

Met Maxine in nightclub

In February that year he met Maxine Carr - again at Hollywoods nightclub in Grimsby.

They hit it off immediately, drinking together after work and sharing a love of motorcycles.

Those who knew them saw nothing unusual as the couple moved in together after four weeks at a terrace house in Veal Street, Grimsby, where they would go out drinking together in pubs, including the Pestle and Mortar.

It was a turbulent relationship and, according to neighbours, they had a series of huge rows and screaming matches and Carr would sometimes flee to her mother's home.

But the relationship lasted and in September 2001 they decided to start a new life further south, initially moving to Wangford, Suffolk, to a cottage where Huntley's father had lived near the Lakenheath airbase.

The cottage was just a few hundred yards from where the bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman would later be found.

Father's footsteps

Huntley, still calling himself Nixon, decided to follow in his father's footsteps.

Mr Huntley senior was already working as a caretaker in Littleport, near Soham, and Huntley junior applied for the job as site manager at Soham Village College.

He had no experience of such work and would, for the first time in his life, be a manager, in charge of a small team of caretakers.

Huntley had problems with his new job,

particularly in organising other people, and his frustrations would sometimes boil over.

"He found things very difficult," said Margaret Bryden, the school's vice-principal.

"He would often get very upset. He could even have tears in his eyes and walk out of the office."

Eager to please

He also confided in Mrs Bryden about his father.

"He made some pretty shocking allegations about what had happened to him in his early life," she said.

"There were times when I thought he was exaggerating things but I did not think he was making things up."

College principal Howard Gilbert said: "When he came in for interview he came over well. He was very enthusiastic, very eager to please and that was true throughout his time with us.

"There were no complaints about his behaviour towards pupils.

"Not even a whisper from pupils who felt uneasy."

After six months Huntley passed his induction period and was well on his way to becoming a

fixture in Soham.

As far as anyone who knew him could tell he had settled down, was getting ready to marry his partner Maxine Carr and had left his past behind.

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