The Telegraph’s front-page stroy
It was a tip-off to crime reporter Zoe Corney last Friday morning that gave the Evening Telegraph the first inkling that the spotlight so relentlessly on the village of Soham for the past fortnight was about to focus on Grimsby.
The tip revealed the name of someone who had lived in the town and a quick trawl through the paper’s files turned up more information on Ian Huntley, the Soham school caretaker now charged with murdering Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.
Huntley’s appearance on television, appealing for the return of the girls, had jogged the memory of a reader who recognised him. At that point, Huntley had been neither quizzed by the police nor arrested. Telegraph editor Michelle Lalor thought the paper had just gleaned an interesting bit of information.
While her reporters knocked on doors in the streets where Huntley used to live, Lalor contacted the police, who passed on the information to Cambridgeshire Police. "We thought we had a few days to work on the story at that stage," said Lalor.
Then came the alert that two people were being quizzed by police about the crime. The Telegraph put two and two together and, over the next two hours, fielded calls from the nationals on to the same angle of the story.
Lalor decided to print at 5am on Saturday and the whole staff worked through the night. By then, they also knew that Maxine Carr, charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, had lived in the area. They produced five pages on their scoop.
Local contacts had produced a wealth of information, much of which found its way into the Sunday nationals. The Telegraph talked to Huntley’s former landlord, among others,
On Saturday morning, the Telegraph learned that Huntley and Carr had been arrested on suspicion of murder. The first two pages of its Sports Telegraph 5pm edition were changed to breaking news.
There was another all-night session on Sunday and again on Tuesday night, after Huntley was charged.
"It’s been very hectic," said Lalor. "Everyone has worked hard. But you have to remember it is a horrendous story of two murdered girls. It’s easy to become blas about it."
By Jean Morgan