Maxine 'moved safely' despite security blunder

Last updated at 16:45 13 May 2004

David Blunkett has said Soham liar Maxine Carr has been 'moved safely' and the plans leading to her early release on Friday have gone well. His claims come after an astonishing security blunder when documents detailing her secret identity and safe house were stolen in a car break-in.

However plans for her release from custody are being urgently reviewed as an inquiry is launched into the theft.

Prisons chief Martin Narey, head of the National Offender Management Service, admitted that he "can't be sure" that the strategy has not been compromised but said it will go ahead as planned.

Highly sensitive documents on Maxine Carr's new life were stolen less than 24 hours before she was moved from prison, in a major embarrassment for the Home Office.

The documents, compiled as part of Carr's release, were snatched from a senior civil servant's car yesterday and found dumped on Hampstead Heath in north London four hours later.

The blunder has sparked fierce criticism for the Government. The shadow home secretary David Davis said the incident "beggared belief".

Mr Davis called for an inquiry into the incident, saying, "There should be a complete review of the procedures in place for schemes that protect individual members of the public - whether that be from vigilante attack or criminal interference. There should be a proper Home Office inquiry into how yesterday's events came about to avoid making the same mistakes in the future."

A spokesman for Mr Blunkett said: "These are ridiculous suggestions from David Davis.

"The plans have worked very well and Maxine Carr has been moved safely in accordance with the conditions laid down by her licence.

"The operational decisions involved in moving her have not been affected by the fact an official involved was the victim of a crime yesterday and had documents stolen that were recovered by police within a matter of hours.

"The Home Secretary and (prisons minister) Paul Goggins have been kept informed throughout. They have not directed the operational arrangements which have been dealt with by the National Probation Service and police."

Emotions are still raw over the deaths of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, even though Carr played no part in the girls' murder.

She has served half of the 42-month sentence imposed for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice with former boyfriend Ian Huntley after he killed Holly and Jessica.

Carr was removed from her prison cell at Foston Hall in Derby earlier than her jail release date to stop a media scrum at the jail gates.

She is now in a temporary safe house, of the kind used in witness protection programmes, ahead of her release later in the week.

Her secret new accommodation is likely to be fitted with panic and trip-wire alarms and CCTV cameras.

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