The circumstances leading to the tragic deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman at the hands of Ian Huntley are well known. The publicity surrounding Ian Huntley’s trial, and the report of the public inquiry conducted by Sir Michael Bichard published on 22 June 2004, have drawn attention to the fact that before he moved to Soham Ian Huntley had had a series of relationships or sexual encounters with a number of young women while he was living in North East Lincolnshire in the 1990s. Some of these young women, and Ian Huntley’s involvement with them, were known to social services. Some of the contacts were known to the police, and some to one of the schools in Immingham which a number of the girls attended. In retrospect Ian Huntley’s history of serial sexual exploitation should have rung significant warning bells. But the connections were not made.
A serious case review was set up to consider how well the statutory agencies in North East Lincolnshire responded to the individual needs of the young people known to them who had contact with Ian Huntley during the period before he moved to Soham. In writing this report, it has been made clear where instances of practice have fallen short of an acceptable standard. But the main objectives have been to understand what happened and to seek to draw any necessary lessons so as better to protect and look after vulnerable young people in the future. To that end a number of recommendations were addressed to the statutory authorities in North East Lincolnshire and three addressed to the Government. The recommendations are summarised at the end of the below report.
The serious case review report and related responses are on the right hand side of this page.