Maxine Carr was the partner of child killer Ian Huntley, who 20 years ago in August 2022, committed the horrific murder of 10 year old girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Although Carr herself was not involved in Ian’s killing of the girls, she nonetheless lied to cover her boyfriend’s crimes and was convicted for “perverting the course of justice”, earning her a sentence of 42 months imprisonment (of which she served 21 months of).
After her release in 2004, Carr was given a completely new identity by police and moved to an undisclosed location, with her right to anonymity being a “lifelong” injunction. Carr’s release, however, would soon provoke a series of rumours and mass hysteria throughout Britain which led to numerous innocent women being attacked as her on mistaken cases of identity. This was also provoked by several false stories being published in Tabloids, which because of Carr’s inability to identify herself, she could do nothing to rectify the facts.
This mass hysteria soon found its way into Sunderland itself. Around the time of 2004, a rumour swept Sunderland that Maxine Carr was in fact living in Gilley Law flats. Being 18 years ago, it is no longer possible to source who created the story, and it of course had no evidence or substance whatsoever, yet went viral throughout the city, thriving on the public sense of injustice over Maxine’s role in those awful killings.
The obsession over spotting Maxine has since been described as akin to a “witch-hunt”, wherein people’s own confirmation bias override reasoned thinking. The original source is always “certain” it is the given person, which then leads the claim to spread like wildfire, exaggerate itself and soon the whole public are hysterical over the given falsehood. This meant any woman who even as much as looked like her was in danger.
A similar bizarre episode happened in 2021 in New Herrington, whereby local residents become convinced that their new neighbour was notorious online pervert Mark Feely, purely because he looked like him. This resulted in a mob attack against the home, bricks through the window and police having to take the completely innocent family away from the house! Worse still, false allegations were later put out that Sunderland Global Media had in fact started the rumour!
But irrespectively, to put it short: No, Maxine Carr did not ever live in Gilley Law flats. It was the product of a mass hysteria, curiousity and imagination which swept Britain following her release, with anger still being high over her role in lying and covering up over a vile child murderer.