One Of The UK's Most Notorious Killers Has Written To His Daughter To Explain His Actions
In the UK, it's impossible to hear the name Ian Huntley without thinking of Holly Marie Wells and Jessica Aimee Chapman: the two 10-year-old girls he murdered back in 2002.
Known as 'The Soham Killer', Huntley is one of the most notorious murderers to have made headlines over the past few decades - but for a long time, his daughter had no idea what he had done.
Samantha Bryan, now 20 years old, was only a toddler when her father lured the girls to his home and killed them. Her family never told her about what he'd done. When she was 17, however, she saw a picture of Huntley online and recognised her mother alongside him.
After that point, Samantha's mother, Kate, presented her with a box of newspaper clippings that went into detail about the Soham murders. The teenager was, understandably, devastated.
"My mum told me she had a box with everything in it and she would show me when I was ready," she said. "I waited for the time I was ready to see them from her. I didn't ask much about Ian because I didn't want to upset mum or my adopted dad."
She recalls that she "couldn't stop crying" when reading about her father.
"I feel like because of who I am that people think I am like him," Samantha said. "I would definitely say he is evil. And I would definitely say he is a monster."
Rather than ignore her father's actions, though, Samantha decided to confront her father with a letter in 2017. She explained who she was and asked what drove him to kill those two young girls all those years ago. Now, in a new documentary, The Killer in my Family, the 20-year-old reveals what her father wrote back.
"I have given an awful lot of thought... about how best to respond, and what, if anything. I should say I realise I can't just say no and expect you to accept that," Huntley wrote.
"Firstly I truly don't relish the idea of discussing or you listening to the details of what was unimaginably the most horrendous day of my life.
"Furthermore, I can promise that even if you did, you wouldn't feel any better for it. Nor would you feel any closer to understanding. Fifteen years on, I still don't understand what the hell went wrong that day."
The motive for Huntley's evil actions has never been established, and it is believed that he acted impulsively after having an argument with his then-girlfriend. He had a history of sexual crimes before the killings.
"I didn't want people knowing who my biological father was because I knew certain people would know who he was," Samantha said. "I wanted it to be something I would keep to myself."
But now, almost 17 years after the murders and three years after she discovered the truth, Samantha is ready to talk about what happened, and how her family has been permanently scarred by Huntley's decision to kill.
Huntley is currently serving a life sentence for the murders.