Crown opens its case in Soham murder trial

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The prosecution will begin to outline its case today against Ian Huntley, the former school caretaker who denies murdering the Soham schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Maxine Carr, his former girlfriend, denies covering up for him.

As the jury of seven women and five men was sworn in at the Old Bailey yesterday, Mr Justice Moses conceded that it would be idle to expect them not to have read or seen something about the case. But he ordered them to put aside emotion and prejudice and try the case impartially on the evidence alone.

Mr Huntley, 29, denies two counts of murder. Ms Carr, 26, a former classroom assistant, denies one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and two counts of assisting an offender. The trial is expected to last until January.

The 10-year-olds disappeared from their homes in the Cambridgeshire village on 4 August last year. They were found 13 days later after one of the biggest police manhunts seen in Britain.