Next month marks the tenth anniversary of the deaths of
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were murdered in
Soham by Ian Huntley.
Last week, the parents of Holly Wells told of their
devastating loss after her remains were found two weeks
after the girls went missing.
Here, Kevin Wells reveals how, step-by-step, his family
are rebuilding their lives... and also reflects on the
striking parallels between their ordeal and that of the
parents of Madeleine McCann.
On August 4, my daughter Holly will have been dead for
ten years. She was murdered with her friend Jessica on a
Sunday afternoon, a few minutes’ walk from their
In the time it took to boil a kettle, two innocent ten-year-old
girls’ lives had been cruelly taken. I make no apologies
for the starkness of this statement.
I am aware that ‘softer’ words could easily be used to describe no
longer having Holly in our lives. ‘Lost’, ‘slipped
away’, ‘gone to a better place’ would fit the bill, but
none of these words allow me to adequately express my
ever-present sense of injustice and anger.
Coming to terms with tragedy:
Kevin and Nicola Wells reveal how,
step-by-step, they are rebuilding their
My beautiful daughter has gone, never to be seen again. And, yes,
murdered. Is time a healer? I have been asked this
question more than any other and the answer is
Any suggestion that there is a day, week, month or year ahead where
everything is simply forgotten and the sun shines just a
little bit brighter thereafter should be tossed to one
side. Time lessens the acuteness of effects such as
despair, confusion, anger and loss. Time is no more than
But this does not mean there is not a future to be enjoyed and
embraced. For both my wife and I, the effort of holding
fast together and trying to take on any challenges in a
positive way began immediately after the word ‘guilty’
was announced in the Old Bailey courtroom in December
We had to travel home with someone who needed our immediate
support and guidance: our 14-year-old son Oliver. Olly,
now 22, has achieved a level of independence and
confidence that we could only have dreamed when our
family lives were torn apart.
Our beautiful daughter:
Holly, aged four, with her mother Nicola on
a family holiday
Now he is buying his first house, in Soham. It is a double-edged
sword to see him leave, but there is no greater gift for
a parent than to see your only child fly from the nest,
fully equipped for the journey ahead.
Olly has joined me in our window-cleaning business, which I’m
pleased to say is up and running once again.
Our turnover now sits somewhere close to where it once was. We will
never be world beaters, but it is a fair day’s money for
a full day’s work. Our future looks stable and
structured and we look forward to embracing it.
During these past ten years we have always tried to look forward.
We never mention the names of those two vile people
responsible for so much carnage and upset. And I really
do mean absolutely never.
When you are surrounded by great family and friends, there are
plenty of opportunities to socialise, interact and
create some fun times and happy memories. We have had
many over the past few years.
So, it seems we have survived the biggest upheaval any family could
ever endure, although Olly’s departure has left us
rambling around in a house that grows ever quieter.
Moving home is all the talk around the dinner table at our house.
We have lived in our current house at Soham since 2006,
having left – and rented out – our previous home for
I do not profess to understand too deeply how the human mind works,
but the desire to return to Red House Gardens has become
very strong indeed. It is time to return to where our
memories of being a complete family are.
In hindsight the decision not to sell this house has proved to be
an informed one. When the current tenants are ready to
relocate, we will make our way back ‘home’.
The disappearance of
Madeleine McCann was a desperate story for
the Wells'. They believe there will not be a
happy ending for her parents
The media spotlight on Soham has thankfully diminished over the
years. I believe the principle reason for Soham’s
retreat from centre stage is the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann. The search for Madeleine dominated
tabloid coverage for a long time.
It was a desperate story for Nicola and me to follow, but follow it
we did, praying for a positive outcome throughout. We
were constantly asked for media interviews but chose not
to intrude on someone else’s tragedy.
Despite many leads, Madeleine remains missing. As outsiders to this
tragedy, we can only conclude with heavy hearts that
there will not be a happy ending. Please do not think
about criticising the McCann family.
They have been forced to use the media of the world solely to raise
awareness of their missing daughter. Some of the media
comment and speculation they have had to endure, on top
of dealing with their private grief, is nothing less
My wife Nicola and I believed, but more importantly hoped, that the
ten-year anniversary of the ‘Soham Murders’ would
somehow slip under the radar. To me, this year’s
anniversary is no different to the last nine or indeed
the next nine, but we accept that the ‘Ten Years’ tag
will resonate as a time to listen and to learn how
things have evolved.
It is another emotional milestone – both girls would have been 21
this year – and another occasion for reflective thought.
Holly’s school prom, the driving test, university, engagement,
marriage and childbirth. These key dates and moments,
all of them missing, continue to ensure a lifetime of
grieving and regret. A small price to pay for someone we
loved so deeply.
Finally, a message to all who have stood alongside us throughout
these times of adversity. Thank you from the bottom of
our hearts. We remain deeply touched and forever
Soham: A Parents’ Tale will be screened on ITV1 on
Friday at 9pm. Goodbye, Dearest Holly - Ten Years On by
Kevin Wells will be published on Friday as an ebook
available only from Amazon.