Carr moved to softer jail after hearing

Maxine Carr was transferred to a "softer" jail closer to her home town after appearing in court on 20 new charges yesterday.

Maxine Carr was transferred to a "softer" jail closer to her home town after appearing in court on 20 new charges yesterday.

Prison sources confirmed that Carr, 27, who is serving a three-year sentence for conspiring to pervert the course of justice, had moved from north London's notorious Holloway prison in north London to Foston Hall in rural Derbyshire.

The former primary school assistant, originally from Grimsby in Lincolnshire, appeared before magistrates in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, after being charged with obtaining more than £3,300 in bogus benefit claims and making dishonest job applications. She is due to appear before a Crown Court judge next month.

Her new jail, between Derby and Uttoxeter, holds 235 women inmates. Women's jails do not have security classifications, apart from "open" or "closed", but while Foston Hall is "closed" it is considered softer than Holloway. The Prisons Handbook says: "There are extensive grounds and good opportunities for access to fresh air." Prison sources said the move was a "progressive" one, which would give an inmate better access to offending-behaviour courses, education and work.

Two of the charges faced by Carr yesterday related to her role as a classroom assistant at St Andrew's Primary School in Soham, Cambridgeshire, where she befriended Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, aged 10, who were murdered by her then boyfriend Ian Huntley two years ago.

Carr spoke only to confirm her name and address and indicate that she understood the charges against her.

She entered no pleas to any of the 20 charges, which also relate to alleged false claims for Income Support, Jobseekers' Allowance and housing benefit. Carr also faces five charges of lying about her GCSE qualifications in job applications. If convicted on all counts she could face a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.

The presiding magistrate, Peter Marshall, adjourned the case to Peterborough Crown Court for a plea and directions hearing on 23 April.

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