Breaking silence: Maxine Carr used the Mail on Sunday to condemn her coverage in the press
Soham murder case defendant Maxine Carr gave her first media interview to the Mail on Sunday because she was furious at the way she was portrayed in the press.
Chief reporter Ian Gallagher won the trust of Carr’s family and was interviewing them when her sister, Hayley, passed him a mobile phone and said Carr was on the other end.
He said: “It took some months to win the family’s trust and it was a case of convincing them that their side of the story needed to be told.
“It was a question of persuading them that we could be trusted to tell their side of the story in a sensible way. We approached the family via a friend, they were totally distrustful of the press and had had a lot of bad experiences.”
Gallagher met Carr’s mother and sister in a country hotel in North Lincolnshire on Saturday morning and was not expecting to speak to Carr herself.
He said: “I was quite shocked, there was no warning. I was aware that Maxine had spoken to her sister on the phone a number of times while I was there but there was no indication she would talk to me.”
Carr spoke for two or three minutes and said she was angered by a story in the Daily Mail that morning which had suggested she was living a pampered lifestyle at the taxpayer’s expense. She said: “I am sick of the rubbish being written about me, when will it ever stop?” Carr’s family used their interview with Gallagher to express concern at the way Carr had been, as they saw it, unfairly vilified in the press.
After having spoken to them again this week, Gallagher said: “They were happy that someone had stuck up for them and told their side of the story.”
The Mail on Sunday interview was the first time Carr has spoken to the press since her arrest in August 2002. She was released in May after serving half of a three and a half year sentence for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Mail on Sunday deputy editor Rod Gilchrist said: “This exclusive was achieved in a brilliant old-fashioned way. It was a very good reporter using tenacity, charm and intelligence to win the trust of the family and Maxine. They do not trust the media and refused to have anything to do with the media.”
He added: “She is not Myra Hindley but she is being treated as if she was. All she did was tell a lie and give an alibi to a man she loved and who she believed was innocent. When she realised she had made a mistake she regretted it and she is full of remorse.”
When Carr was released her lawyers obtained an injunction banning the press from identifying her. The order was contested at the time by lawyers acting for News International and the Mirror group but a date has yet to be set for their challenge to be heard.
There was speculation this week that Carr had forfeited her right to anonymity by speaking to the Mail on Sunday. But her lawyers have said they will fight any attempt to overturn the ban.
By Dominic Ponsford