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'monster - early 14c., from O.Fr. monstre, from L. monstrum "monster, monstrosity, omen, portent, sign," perhaps related to monere "warn." Abnormal or prodigious animals were regarded as signs or omens of impending evil. Monstrous is from L. monstruosus, from monstrum, originally (c.1380) "unnatural, hideous," later "enormous" (1500), then "outrageously wrong" (1573).'
- The Online Etymological Dictionary
19 December 2003
Of what is Ian Huntley, the monster, a sign? Of the loss of innocence? The impossibility of trust? The decay of civilization? Of Britain's descent into a mire of evil?
In fact, Ian Huntley signifies nothing - precisely because he *is* such a monstrosity. The only thing he represents is an aberration of the human mind. It is grotesque that anyone could feel and do what Ian Huntley felt and did on the day he murdered Holly and Jessica. We can't really imagine what was going on in his strange brain - any more than we can imagine what Saddam was thinking as he fired his pistol into the heads of Kurdish prisoners, hooting with laughter as he shot. Unless we're lunatics, which fortunately most of us aren't.
But in his mentalistic dealings with the 'normal' world, Huntley has inadvertently shone a torch on a part of Britain which is shocking when we see it in such stark relief: the bottom of Britain's barrel. And by thunder, some really bad lives are being lived down there. Grubby, pathetic, sorrowful, painful, useless existences.
Take Maxine Carr.
Christ Almighty, she's a poor excuse for a human being. Wet as a frog's dishcloth, and thick as all hell, so thick she can't even begin to see what a dreadful relationship she was in:
OFFICER: Have you been a victim of some sort of abuse by Ian?
CARR: No. I haven't been a victim of any bloody abuse by any
However, when pressed she admitted that Ian had actually hit her:
"I wanted to go out somewhere with his mum... and he got quite angry with me and I was just shouting at him and bantering at him. I can't really remember what the argument was about, but he just slapped me across the face and that is the only thing that happened really and because of my bone structure in my face it bruised."
An amazing last clause: because of my bone structure in my face it bruised. She's a well-trained gal: somehow managing accept the blame for her bruise (and, what's more, to *believe* that her peculiar bone structure is at fault).
When asked what made Huntley angry, she said "running out of muesli." You can just imagine that horrible controlling loon going purple in the face as he shakes a raisin and a couple of oat flakes into his bowl.
As ever, the ghastliness is in the detail.
This is the account, in the Daily Mail, of Maxine's night out in Grimsby on the night that Ian was back home, murdering Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells:
Maxine soon began chatting up male members of Rachel's party, and when they moved on to the Exchange, a dingy nightclub known for its pole-dancing nights, at around 10.15pm she tagged along...
One of the men that Maxine pulled that evening was Mark Thomas, a teenage rugby player who claims he only kissed her for a £20 bet.
He said: "The bet was who could pull the ugliest girl - I went one better and pulled a swamp donkey. That's how we described her."
A swamp donkey?
It's so sad. A 17-year-old hooting with his mates about snogging a swamp donkey in the Exchange. But perhaps nothing is sadder (apart from the actual murders, of course) than the testimony of Becky Bartlett, a former teenage girlfriend of Huntley's:
"I thought I was pregnant and I told him, and he just punched me in the stomach. I fell on the bed and I just said 'What did you do that for?' He just said 'I don't want no kids.' That's when I realised that I shouldn't really have been with him."
Good that she was able to pick up on these subtle signs.
What a tragic glimpse into a horrible life. A sad, stupid little girl desperate for affection - for any kind of affirmation - getting punched in the guts by a madman.
Amanda Marshall: another of Huntley's teenage girlfriends, another horrible life. This is how the Daily Telegraph summed up their relationship:
She was knocked unconscious when he struck her on the head with a pool cue. After another row, Huntley took a massive overdose and nearly died. Miss Marshall spent several months accompanying him on his appointments to see a hospital psychiatrist. The relationship ended in 1994 when he threw her down a flight of stairs and she miscarried their child.
Again, it's incredible to think this sort of thing goes on: girls stuck in these abusive relationships, trying and trying and trying to make them work. Just wanting their fella to be nice to them and not smack them round the head with a pool cue.
This is the flip side of Huntley's madness: the vulnerability, desperation and weakness of so many young girls. Throwing themselves away on terrible men. Desperate for a 'baaayyybeee' that they can hug and push round the town centre all proudly; a little someone who will love them unconditionally.
Poor Amanda Marshall. Poor, poor Becky Bartlett. Lucky to have escaped with their lives, but their lives must have been a sack of shit already before Huntley crapped all over them. Because, let's face it, you don't date Ian Huntley if you're a bright, self-confident girl going places in this world.
Ian Huntley was a bottom feeder. And he liked it down there.
Plenty to eat.