Huntley accused of sex attacks

Ian Huntley was a sexual predator obsessed with young girls, it can be revealed today.

The Old Bailey jury knew he had been charged with raping a teenager - a charge that was later dropped.

What they did not know is that he was also accused of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old and having sex with a string of other schoolgirls.

Indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl

In total, he came to the attention of Humberside Police on ten occasions.

These comprised the rape allegation, an arrest for not appearing at court and eight other offences allegedly committed by Huntley.

In addition, between August 1995 and July 1998 he was reported to North East Lincolnshire Social Services on five separate occasions - once for the alleged indecent assault and four times for underage sex with girls.

Three of the girls involved were aged 15 and one was 13.

Each time social workers began investigating Huntley would move on and pick up another girl.

Incredibly, no link was made between the cases because each was dealt with by different social workers and they kept no record of alleged offenders.

Three of the underage sex allegations cases were passed on, independently of each other, to Humberside Police.

First allegation

The first allegation of sex with a schoolgirl was made by her family in August 1995 when Huntley was 21.

In April 1996 social services became aware of another girl involved with Huntley whose family reported their concerns to her school.

The girl refused to speak to social workers and avoided them.

She was eventually seen by her GP who decided there was no further need for social workers to be involved.

There were two further allegations to social services from the families of other girls, both in May 1996, before the indecent assault was reported in July 1998.

The alleged indecent assault victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 12 at the time the allegation was made but 11 when the assault was alleged to have happened in 1997.

Humberside Police investigated the allegation but never sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for lawyers to consider criminal action against Huntley.

The allegation came a month after Huntley had appeared in court in Grimsby charged with raping another girl, a petite 18-year-old.

Huntley 'pounced on girl in back alley'

That case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Huntley, who was by then 24, was accused of pouncing on the girl in a back alley, dragging her to the ground and launching a vicious sex attack.

He stood in the dock at Grimsby Magistrates' Court at two hearings before prosecutors decided they did not have enough evidence to continue.

The woman, who still lives in Grimsby, had been on a night out with friends at Hollywoods nightclub.

She was walking home alone down a back street called Gas Alley when she was attacked at 2am on May 17, 1998.

The teenager, who also suffered cuts, was said by police afterwards to be traumatised and in a state of "shock and anger".

Officers said it was an opportunist attack and warned then that the rapist might strike again.

Huntley was arrested and charged within days of the girl telling police about her ordeal.

He appeared in court on May 22, 1998, and was remanded in custody to the Wolds prison before being granted bail on May 30. He went to a bail hostel in Scunthorpe.

On June 30, 1998 the CPS decided it no longer had a strong enough case against him after new evidence came to light and the case was discontinued.

The case was dropped

The new evidence involved CCTV footage which supported Huntley's version of events.

A CPS spokeswoman defended the decision to drop the rape charge.

She said: "There was not sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction."

Jim Leivers, the chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council, defended social workers' handling of Huntley.

Mr Leivers said: "The five cases were from different areas, involved different circumstances and were handled by different people, who had no reason to cross-refer with one another."

He said none of the girls would make a complaint about Huntley, to whom they referred as their "boyfriend".

"We are not here to arrest offenders, we are interested in protecting youngsters," he said.

"We were confident these were good parents and we saw no reason to continue involvement.

"This is a character that as soon anybody gets a sniff, he was off.

"He was particularly keen not to get involved with any agencies like social services and police.

"There were no allegations of violence or coercion. That just didn't happen."

Burglary charge

Huntley also appeared in court once charged with burglary.

On January 7 1998 he stood in the dock at Grimsby Crown Court charged with burgling a neighbour's house in Florence Street, Grimsby.

The offence was alleged to have happened in November, 1995 with an accomplice called Jimmy Dean.

Huntley and Dean were alleged to have stolen perfume, jewellery, a Black and Decker heat gun and £20 cash after breaking into the neighbour's house through a shared roof space.

The case came to court more than two years after the burglary and the prosecution and judge decided to allow the matter to lie on file.

That decision 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.

Allowing it to lie on file was described by a senior officer in the Soham case as "bizarre".

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