IAN Huntley and Maxine Carr drifted through a succession of jobs and homes in a journey that finally brought them to Soham last September.
The move to the Cambridgeshire village was clearly regarded by the couple as a fresh start - both of them changed their names as they introduced themselves to their new neighbourhood.
Huntley, 28, called himself Ian Nixon, using the maiden name of his mother Lynda, but later reverted back to his real surname. His partner, who has given her age as 25, changed her surname from Capp to Carr and decided to keep the new identity.
The couple both grew up 100 miles away in the Lincolnshire fishing port of Grimsby where they were known by neighbours as "somewhat detached", but otherwise friendly and pleasant.
Carr’s parents were separated and she was raised by her mother, Shirley Capp. She left school after her GCSEs to start work in a fish processing factory where she discussed her ambition to work with children with colleagues.
Although she was quiet and reserved, Carr enjoyed taking part in pub karaoke nights and at one stage owned a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Jason Wink, 24, a former boyfriend, said "Her life was very normal. She had no hobbies and not many friends that I knew of."
Carr lived with her mother and sister on an estate in Grimsby, where neighbours described the family as "completely normal."
Huntley, meanwhile, was working in a series of jobs he obtained through an employment agency after leaving Whitgift School in Grimsby in 1990. Among them were acting as a sales rep, a security guard, working at a fish processing factory and at a supermarket.
There were often periods of unemployment and one of his former girlfriends described how Huntley, who has a brother and sister, was always restless, moving house every few months.
For a while he lived with his parents at Immingham before moving to live in rented bedsits around Lincolnshire. Although he enjoyed drinking with friends, his main interest was airplanes.
In 1997, Carr started work as a telesales worker for an insurance firm in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. Also working for the company was Huntley in one of his many temporary jobs, this time as an office supervisor.
He had just finished a two-year relationship with Katie Webber, and he and Carr began dating shortly after meeting at the office.
During 1998, Huntley lived in a flat in Grimsby where he received mail under the name of Nixon. His former landlord, Len Smith, recalled: "He was very smart and presentable. He wore a suit and tie and said he worked as a rep."
It was at the start of 1999 that Carr moved in with Huntley, setting up a new home together at a flat in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Neighbours said the couple occasionally had noisy rows and sometimes appeared aloof, but they were otherwise unremarkable.
By this time, Huntley was working as a security guard and his partner was a hotel receptionist.
Huntley’s parents separated and his father, Kevin, moved to Littleport, a town less than ten miles away from Soham, where he had a new job as a caretaker at Littleport Primary School.
It is believed to be through this family connection that Huntley learned of the vacancy at Soham Village College last summer for the post of caretaker there. His application and interview for the job was said to be "spot on" and he was cleared by the routine police checks into his background.
Huntley said he had changed his surname to Nixon because his parents had separated and that he reverted back to using his real name of Huntley when they were reconciled.
With the job came a house at the edge of the grounds of the college, and the move south was completed in September last year in time for the new school year.
The couple told their families that they planned to marry, although no definite plans had been made for a wedding. Carr also found work in Soham, as a classroom assistant at St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School.
Among the pupils at the school were Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and the staff included Jessica’s mother Sharon, who was employed as a learning support assistant.
When Carr’s contract ended, she applied for a full-time job at the school but was unsuccessful. At the end of the summer term, Holly Wells had given her a box of Roses chocolates and a handmade card. Inside, she drew a smiley face and wrote: "I’ll miss you a lot."
The parents view: Shirley Capp stands by her daughter
THE mother of Maxine Carr said she was "no killer" and urged her to tell the police everything she knew.
Shirley Capp, 56, said nothing would break the bond between her daughter and fellow suspect, boyfriend Ian Huntley.
She said: "Maxine is in love with the man. Nothing will break them. She adores the ground Ian walks on, and she is no killer.
"Maxine is standing by Ian. She is standing by him for reasons even I do not know. But it is now up to her to tell the police everything she knows.
"I cannot vouch for him. I don’t think anyone can. But I can vouch for my daughter and I believe she is innocent."
Mrs Capp, from Grimsby, north Lincolnshire, told the Daily Mirror that her daughter fell in love with Huntley three years ago, but they recently broke up for a while.
"She was heartbroken," she said. "Then they seemed happy again. When she is up here, he is always on the telephone to her."
She said Mr Huntley would often drive Miss Carr up from Cambridgeshire to visit her.