Soham killer Huntley in third bid to commit suicide

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The Independent Online

An inquiry is under way after the Soham murderer, Ian Huntley, was admitted to hospital suspected of taking an overdose in the latest of a series of apparent suicide attempts made by the killer while in prison.

A Prison Service spokesman confirmed the investigation was looking into events yesterday afternoon at Wakefield high security prison, where Huntley is serving a 40-year sentence for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both aged 10, in 2002.

Huntley's condition was not thought to be life threatening after the overdose, which was from prescription medication, and he was returned to the jail in an ambulance later last night.

According to prison sources, Huntley had earlier "presented himself" to staff at the high-security jail, as opposed to being found unconscious in his cell as he was in an earlier apparent suicide attempt, and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. He did not lose consciousness at any time, the sources said. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We will be investigating the events surrounding this incident." The incident is the latest embarrassment for Wakefield, where the serial killer Harold Shipman committed suicide in January 2004.

Huntley killed Wells and Chapman on 4 August 2002. The murders shocked the nation and their gruesome descriptions dominated media coverage that summer. Huntley lured the girls into his house in Soham, Cambridgeshire, after they passed by in the early evening. Holly and Jessica got on well with Huntley's girlfriend, Maxine Carr, whom Huntley claimed was inside the house, when in fact she was in Grimsby. Carr was a teaching assistant at Holly and Jessica's school.

Huntley has received death threats since being convicted in 2003, and has tried to commit suicide with overdoses before. He first tried to take his own life when he was on remand in 2003 at Woodhill jail in Milton Keynes, where he had stored 29 pills in a box of tea bags. In September 2005 he was attacked with boiling water by a fellow inmate and a year later he was found unconscious in his cell, apparently having overdosed on anti-depressants.

In October last year he was reported to have been held at knifepoint after being ambushed on his way back to his cell after a meal.

The latest suicide attempt comes a day before the second anniversary of a High Court ruling that Huntley had to face at least 40 years behind bars.