a show about the Soham murders that is both pointless and dangerous
review: Turns Ian Huntley’s girlfriend from villain to victim
In 2003, Maxine Carr was found guilty of giving her lover, Soham killer Ian Huntley, who killed
students Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, a fake alibi. She received a three-and-a-half-year prison
term for tampering with the course of justice.
Despite having no direct involvement in the August 2002 killings of Jessica and Holly, two 10-year-old
girls, Carr’s name was associated with the child killer Myra Hindley due to public confusion. Because of
this, Carr was granted a lifelong order of anonymity. But was she really a bad girl? Maybe a victim? The
new three-part drama Maxine on Channel 5 plays around with this issue.
In the first episode, author Simon Tyrrell took a cautious, middle-of-the-road course. Carr, who was
portrayed by the recent arrival of Jemma Charlton, was obviously smitten with Huntley. She prepared
him for the Soham Village School interview for the position of caretaker and consoled him when he felt
he’d blown it. In response, Huntley disparaged her work as a teaching assistant, erupted when she
warmly embraced the father of one of her students, and referred to her as a “slag” when she “deserted”
him for a while to go see her mother in Grimsby.
Carr was in that location when Huntley killed Holly and Jessica, a crime that thankfully went unnoticed
and was only hinted at by Huntley (Scott Reid) looking guiltily into the empty boot of his car.
Carr fully participated in fabricating his alibi while rushing back home to comfort a
weeping Huntley, who had previously told the police that he had seen Holly and Jessica
on the night of their abduction. When the girls called to ask her out, she pretended to be
at home taking a bath.
Did she accept Huntley’s claim that he feared being wrongfully convicted as a result of his earlier
acknowledged sexual assaults? Or did she decide to participate in the scheme because it gave her the
upper hand in their tense relationship? In this version of the story, Carr appears to be gathering
evidence, such as Huntley’s unusual usage of the washing machine and a fractured bathtub (a little but
chillingly unanswered detail that luckily leaves us to speculate as to what transpired).
After interviewing Huntley and Carr, local journalist Brian Farmer—played by Steve Edge
—notified the police of his suspicions. The latter attempted to cover up her boyfriend’s
contradicting statements, and she was overly pleased to be seen holding up a card of
gratitude from Holly, a former student.
It’s possible that Maxine did nothing more than offer a new perspective to a broadcaster eager to
satisfy the public’s ostensibly bottomless thirst for true-crime drama. The first episode of Maxine,
however, was a shining example of responsibility and restraint when compared to, for instance, Ryan
Murphy’s outrageously obscene Netflix series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
When Carr looks, I did worry about what she could be contemplating. Could this not be her greatest
achievement given how proud she was in the drama to have her photo taken by the press photographer?
Or will she merely start a brand-new risky chapter in her unending struggle to maintain her secrecy?
If there is a significant narrative still to be told about the Soham tragedy, it is how Huntley went unchecked until he committed child
murder. He had a history of rape, underage sex, and violent accusations, so the police and social services were aware of him. No arrests or
accusations led to a trial. Locals were aware of his preferences, and the Bichard inquiry—which was launched in the wake of his murder
conviction—found that police had destroyed crucial files about the threat he presented while failing to communicate relevant evidence.
What happened to that show? A bagatelle, Carr.