Huntley's home is torn down

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The Independent Online

The home of the Soham murderer Ian Huntley was demolished yesterday with builders instructed to crush and remove every piece of rubble to prevent souvenir hunters taking away remains.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said the decision had been taken after observing what had happened when other high profile murder sites had been demolished. "When Fred West's house was knocked down they had people trying to grab bricks as souvenirs, so it will be crushed and disposed of," he said.

The house, where Huntley killed the schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, was razed to the ground in just 35 minutes.

The property came with Huntley's former job as caretaker at Soham Village College, on the same site as the girls' primary school. After Huntley's conviction, the council condemned it, fearing it would become a permanent reminder of the deaths. The council spokesman said the area would now be laid to turf, and the girls' families would help decide what, if anything, would be put there.

After Huntley was charged with the murders last year, the house was screened off by a large fence, and has been visited only by forensics officers and the trial jury. Just a bare shell remained after detectives stripped the interior during their search for evidence.

The demolition of 5 College Close comes nearly eight years after Fred and Rosemary West's "House of Horrors" at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, was reduced to rubble. Also demolished was 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, west London, where the serial killer John Christie murdered his wife and at least five other women in the 1940s.

Yesterday, Howard Gilbert, the head teacher of Soham Village College, said the destruction of the house was important for his students.

"They have coped amazingly well but I think there will be a sense of a burden being lifted when they return, a sense of lightness," he said. "It's another chapter finishing. But the memories will never go away."