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Life of Ian Huntley before he turned killer – school bullying to grooming teens

On Wednesday (August 17) it will be exactly 20 years since the bodies of best pals Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were discovered.

The 10-year-olds girls were murdered by school caretaker Ian Huntley, 48, who is now serving a life-sentence at HMP Frankland, Durham, for his heinous crime.

But who was Huntley before he became one of Britain’s most hated men? Here we take a glimpse inside his life.

READ MORE: Evil killer Ian Huntley snared after eagle-eyed newspaper reader spotted key detail

He was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, in January 1974 and was the first son of working class couple Kevin and Lynda Huntley who gave birth to another boy, Wayne, one year later.

Huntley grew up in a semi-detached house in Immingham and his school life was miserable.

In the book Beyond Evil: Inside The Twisted Mind of Ian Huntley, he was described as a small and timid child who was an easy target for playground bullies.

He attended Eastfield primary school and although not the sporty type, he did support Manchester United, as did his later victims Holly and Jessica.

But his protruded forehead earned him the unfortunate nickname “spadehead” by teasing classmates.

And the bullying was enough for Huntley to once falsely claim to his peers that his father had died in a bid to inspire sympathy.

In the classroom meanwhile he was an average student who eventually left school with five GCSEs to his name

From an early age Huntley was obsessed with aeroplanes and his ambition was to be an RAF pilot.

But his intelligence and fitness were deemed insufficient and instead of further education, the young man who liked plane spotting found menial work.

Huntley rarely stayed at the same company for long and he had various jobs in factories.

And with his unhappy school days behind him, Huntley began to find confidence.

Aged 20, he married 18-year-old Claire Evans despite having only been together a few months.

Bizarrely, Claire later married his brother Wayne before accusing him of “cashing in” on the Soham murders by releasing a book called The Blood We Share ahead of the tenth anniversary.

Huntley’s relationship with Claire did not last long because of his violent temper and he later was said to have started relationships with underage girls.

And his questionable behaviour caught the attention of the police who investigated claims of under-age sex and rape allegations against Huntley.

The dodgy character was also investigated for burglary but he still later bagged a job as a school caretaker.

Huntley also groomed a teenager called Katie Bryan when she was just 15 before she gave birth to their daughter Samantha in 1998.

Samantha only found out evil Huntley was her father when she turned 18.

But it was his relationship with Maxine Carr that is the most documented.

They began courting in 1999 after meeting in a nightclub and they moved in together after just four weeks.

On the outside they appeared like any other British couple and they initially lived together in Scunthorpe along with their pet German Shepherd dog.

In 2001 Huntley took a school caretaker job in Soham, Cambridgeshire, after using his mother’s maiden name to hide his eerie past.

He began working in the secondary school while Carr was awarded a job as a teaching assistant at St Andrew’s Primary School – where Jessica and Holly attended.

Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were at a family barbecue on August 4, 2002, but were never seen alive again.

They had walked past Huntley’s house and he invited them in before killing them.

Despite Carr being in Grimsby on the weekend of the murders, she vouched for Huntley and said they were together.

She went on to serve 21 months in prison for conspiring to pervert the course of justice and she was released in 2004 with a new identity.

The girls were dumped near an RAF base and they were not found until two weeks after they went missing.

Huntley, who gave appeals to national media during the search, was later arrested before being convicted of murdering the girls in 2003.

He is now serving a 40 years sentence and speaking from behind bars, he once said: “I think about them every day.”

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