He drove like a man demented

THE man seen apparently struggling with two children near the spot where Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were last seen was driving 'like a man demented', a key witness said today.

THE man seen apparently struggling with two children near the spot where Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were last seen was driving 'like a man demented', a key witness said today.

Taxi driver Ian Webster today described the moment he spotted the vehicle travelling along the A142.

"It was driving in a very, very erratic manor, the standard of driving could only be described as appalling."

Mr Webster reportedly contacted another force last Tuesday, two days after the incident on Sunday evening, as soon as he realised the importance of what he had seen.

The Cambridgeshire police team investigating the disappearance of the two ten-year-olds were notified the next day, Wednesday

Mr Webster, who works for Diamond Taxis in Cambridge, told GMTV: "I endeavoured to make this statement and get the facts over six days earlier from when this media news has broken.

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"The inference is I am at fault for not coming forward when this is not the case."

Detectives also defended the delay in issuing a public appeal.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hebb said: "We accept that people may feel frustrated that they do not receive an immediate police response to the information they're providing.

"You can be assured that it does not mean it is seen as unimportant. All information received is taken extremely seriously. We remain focused on tracing Jessica and Holly and returning them both to their parents and families alive and well.

"The information from the taxi driver may have been in the incident room for a number of days. The sheer size of the inquiry, the number of calls that we have, means there are many priorities. Even with the considerable resources we have, we can only do so many tasks at one time."

A car similar to the one driven by the man police want to trace was seen in Soham shortly before the suspected abduction, fuelling fears the driver was an opportunistic abductor on the prowl who now has the schoolgirls captive.

Police were today scouring CCTV footage and speed camera films from along the route for any sign of the car.

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