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Who Is Ian Huntley? New Details About The Soham Murderer Mentioned In The Madeleine McCann Documentary

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Who Is Ian Huntley? New Details About The Soham Murderer Mentioned In The Madeleine McCann Documentary

The 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann shocked the world and puzzled investigators as they still have yet to figure out what happened to the British toddler.

The 3-year-old was in Portugal on holiday with her family, when her parents claim she was snatched from her bedroom while she was asleep. The family was dining at a restaurant nearby, periodically checking on the children when her mother, Kate McCann, noticed her daughter was gone.

There have been a lot of theories and conspiracies that try to answer what happened to little Maddie McCann, but so far none have stuck. A new Netflix docu-series explores some of these theories as well as all the people who were affected by the way the Portuguese police initially handle the investigation — including Robert Murat. 

Though Murat was cleared as a suspect, many people found him suspicious because his actions seemed to mirror those of convicted killer Ian Huntley. 

So who is Ian Huntley? Here's everything we know.

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1. He's responsible for the deaths of two girls.

Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both 10, were reported missing on Aug. 4, 2002. They left a family barbecue to go buy some treats. Their bodies were found 12 miles from where they lived in Soham over a week later. 

It was later revealed that they had walked past Huntley's house. He invited them inside and murdered them both. 

Huntley claimed that he killed Jessica because he needed to stop her from raising the alarm after Holly accidentally died in the bath.

2. He asked for forgiveness.

In his behind bars confession, Huntley asked for forgiveness.

“I think about them every day," he said during a record confession. "What I will say is that I am so terribly, terribly sorry for what I have done.

“I know the people of Soham took me into their community, they trusted me, gave me a job and a home, and I betrayed them in the worst possible way. And I am sorry for what I have done, sorry for the pain I have caused to the families and friends of Holly and Jessica, for the pain I have caused my family and friends, and for the pain I have caused the community of Soham.”

3. He refused to plead guilty.

Huntley put Jessica and Holly's families through a full court hearing in 2003 because he refused to plead guilty. He claimed that his ex-girlfriend, Maxine Carr, had orchestrated the cover-up after the murders and that she lied in court "to distance herself" from him.

Still, he was found guilty and sentenced to two life terms in prison, however, a High Court later set the minimum term to 40 years. 

And he had a connection to the girls. Carr was their teaching assistant at St. Andrew's Primary School. She was sentenced to three and a half years for perverting the course of justice when she gave Huntley a fake alibi. Huntley had been previously investigated for other sexual offenses and burglary. 

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4. He has a daughter. 

Samantha Bryan was only 4 when her father committed the brutal slayings. Her mother, Katie Webber, dated Huntley for 15 months and left him when she was pregnant with Bryan. 

Bryan, now 18, said she didn't know the true identity of her dad until she was seraching on the internet for a school project. Her mother has told her that she is "nothing like him," and that he raped her when she was a teenager.

"I try not to even say his name, as to do that is to acknowledge his existence. I hate him. He’s never been my dad, he’s nothing more than a sperm donor. To know he is genetically connected to me sickens me."

“I’m speaking out, as I refuse to be ashamed for existing, otherwise I’d become just another of his victims. To acknowledge him as anything else would be to give him a power I will never let him hold over me."


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5. He sent her a letter from jail.

Fifteen years after Holly and Jessica's murders, Huntley wrote to his daughter from prison. Bryan read the letter outloud during a documentary.

"I have given an awful lot of thought...about how best to respond, and what, if anything. I should say I realise I can't just say no and expect you to accept that."

"Firstly I truly don't relish the idea of discussing or you listening to the details of what was unimaginably the most horrendous day of my life. Furthermore, I can promise that even if you did, you wouldn't feel any better for it. Nor would you feel any closer to understanding. Fifteen years on, I still don't understand what the hell went wrong that day.''

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Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture and true crime.