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A grooming victim of Soham murderer Ian Huntley has told of her guilt after refusing to report the killer when he had sex with her at 15.

Emma Rawson said she fears her silence left him free to kill Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.

She lied to social services about her fling with “first love” Huntley seven years earlier.

She added: “Had I said we were sleeping together things might be different. I feel guilty. He’s evil.”

Emma, now 42, was so under the spell of her manipulative lover she lied to social workers who asked if she was having sex with him.

Emma, who was just 15 at the time, fears her silence back then may have left him free to go on and cruelly cut short the lives of the 10-year-old pals seven years later. And she has lived with the guilt ever since.

As the 20th anniversary of the Soham murders approaches, she has lifted the lid on the torment she suffered at the hands of her “first love” Huntley.

Holly (above) and her friend Jessica were just 10 at the time of the horrifying killing ( Press Association)
Evil Huntley is serving 40 years in prison ( PA Archive/PA Images)

Emma said she got pregnant by the monster but when she told him he gripped her by the throat and warned her: “I’ll kill you.”

She also revealed police told her she was “lucky” she survived his abuse.

Emma started dating Huntley, now 47, in 1995 after being kicked out of her abusive family’s home.

The mum-of-three said: “I’m sorry for lying to social services and saying we weren’t in a relationship.

“Had I said we were sleeping together, things might be different, he might not have been free to kill those girls. I feel guilty. I’m also angry that no one stopped him.

“He’s evil. He’ll be grinning about how many lives he’s ruined. That’s the sort of person he is. He’s clever, manipulative. He preyed on me because I was vulnerable.”

The deaths of Holly and Jessica (pictured) shocked the nation ( Press Association)

Emma said that within weeks of moving in with former school ­caretaker Huntley and his then partner, he coaxed her into switching to his mother’s home with him.

She added: “He was a really, really nice guy. He couldn’t do enough for me. He said, ‘If you ever need to talk I’m always there for you.’

“For some reason we all slept in the same bed. It was just a living ­arrangement. The next thing I know he had split up with his girlfriend and we’d moved into his mum’s flat where he had a proper bedroom.”

Within days Huntley convinced Emma to play cards, which turned into a “strip game”.

It sparked a 12-month campaign of abuse during which abusive Huntley became “coercive and controlling”.

Emma said: “All of sudden he just started kissing me. I had never been intimate with anyone before and I wasn’t expecting anything.

“I thought I was in love and this was a relationship. This guy had taken me in and I was super grateful to him.

“We’d hold hands down the street and go shopping together. He didn’t care that everyone knew he was with a 15-year-old.

The murderer was assisted by his girlfriend Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant at the victims’ school ( Press Association)
Huntley worked as a caretaker at the school ( PA)

“He was helping me. I had nothing, I had no clothes. His mum went out and bought me stuff.

“I felt fortunate. He never asked anything of me.”

Social workers later found ­themselves ­investigating a “rumour” Emma was sleeping with Huntley.

But without the co-operation of the youngster or her parents they were powerless.

Emma told how Huntley even set up a bed for her in a spare room at the flat in Immingham, Lincs, to dupe social services into thinking they were not together.

She said: “He had made it it look like I was sleeping in there, but I wasn’t, I was sleeping in Ian’s room.

“It was so ­calculating. I was happy to go along with it, because I had a roof over my head and I was in love.

“It was easy to deceive social services, easy. How can a 15-year-old girl make them believe I wasn’t in a sexual relationship?

“Looking back, the police should have been banging the door down. It was a missed ­opportunity to stop him.

“If he was put on a register he would never have got a job at Holly and ­Jessica’s school.”

But their relationship turned sour when Huntley began working at a Grimsby fish factory and came home one night to tell Emma: “I’ve met someone else.”

She said: “I thought everything was hunky dory. Then this woman moved in and I had to pretend that I was his sister. My heart ripped in two.” Weeks later Emma discovered she was carrying Huntley’s baby.

Emma Rawson ( Paul David Drabble)

But when she told him he grabbed her and barked: “If you spoil this for me, I’ll kill you.’” Emma said: “He said, ‘If my new ­girlfriend finds out about this, you’re dead’. I knew he was capable, I was already scared of him.”

Emma then left the home but had a miscarriage. She said: “I’m very happy I lost the child. I wasn’t ­devastated. At that point I was 16 and pregnant to a scumbag. I hated him.

“I’m so relieved. Can you imagine trying to explain to your child that their dad is Britain’s most evil killer?

“Or even telling people you had a child with Ian Huntley?”

Holly and Jessica disappeared at Soham, Cambs, in August 2002, sparking a frantic two-week search.

Huntley killed them after they called in to see his girlfriend Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant at their school.

Emma was by then living in West London and working in a pub.

How she read about his crimes

She told how she opened a newspaper to see Huntley’s face and added: “I just said, ‘Oh my God.’ They were still looking for the girls at this point. I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach, I felt sick.

“He likes young girls. I’ll never get the image of Holly and Jessica out of my head. I can see them now, clear as day with the Man United T-shirts on. I don’t think that will ever leave me.

“I don’t want to imagine what he put those young girls through.”

Huntley was jailed for life in 2003 with a minimum sentence of 40 years.

Carr got three and a half years for giving him a false alibi. She served 21 months. Despite being fully aware of Huntley’s deceit and ­manipulation, Emma has “no sympathy” for his ex.

She said: “She may not have helped kill those girls, but she tried to cover it up and she’s as guilty as he is.”

Emma has lived in Coningsby, Lincs, for the past 18 years, with husband Kevin, 42, and children Luke, 13, Charlie, nine and 20-month-old Frankie.

But she is still haunted by Huntley.

Emma said: “I have nightmares about Ian. My husband will wake me up in the middle of the night when I’m screaming. When people say, ‘Do you remember your first love?’ and I say, ‘Ian Huntley,’ they just say I’m lying. It’s horrific.

“I can’t believe he’s still alive. I thought he would have killed himself in prison because he’s a coward.

“I’ve never hated anyone like that. He doesn’t deserve to be alive.

“I remember them [police] saying to me how lucky I was that I could have been a victim of something much worse. It’s terrifying. I trusted him.”

Nation haunted by killings

The murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman shocked Britain and left an indelible mark on Soham.

It is nearly 20 years since the schoolgirls vanished while wearing replica Manchester United strips on August 4, 2002, after attending a family BBQ.

They had left to buy sweets when they were lured into the home of evil Ian Huntley.

He claimed his girlfriend Maxine Carr was in the house. She was a teaching assistant at Holly and Jessica’s school.

But when the girls went inside, Huntley murdered them and hid their bodies.

A manhunt was launched with more than 400 officers working around the clock.

For 13 days the world’s media camped out in Soham as it progressed.

Huntley was even interviewed by reporters and helped in the search.

Carr, who gave an alibi for the killer, bragged about how much she had meant to Holly especially.

She showed off a card the pupil had made for her on the last day of term to thank her for being such a good teaching assistant.

Speaking to a TV reporter, Carr said: “She was just really lovely.”

Two weeks later, the girls’ burnt remains were discovered in a ditch at an air base 14 miles away at Mildenhall, Suffolk.

Huntley denied murdering the pair when he appeared in court. But he later admitted to killing Jessica to prevent her from raising the alarm, after Holly died in his bath in
an “accident”.

Carr was charged with assisting an offender and jailed for three and a half years. She served 21 months. Huntley got life and told he would serve at least 40 years.

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