A GODMANCHESTER-based detective who oversaw a major part of the investigation into the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman has been given a Queen s Police Medal. Detective Chief Superintendent, Russell Wate, head of Cambridgeshire CID, picked up

A GODMANCHESTER-based detective who oversaw a major part of the investigation into the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman has been given a Queen's Police Medal.

Detective Chief Superintendent, Russell Wate, head of Cambridgeshire CID, picked up the honour for distinguished service on Tuesday, October 14 at Buckingham Palace. Speaking to The Hunts Post on the phone just minutes before going in to the palace to pick up his award, DCS Wate, said: "I'm absolutely shocked but thrilled to be given this award. It is a tribute to the wonderful support of my family and my colleagues." He added: "The Cambridgeshire CID department is one of the best in the country and I am honoured to lead it."

DCS Wate, who lives in Wisbech, led the investigation of the ditch where the bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were found. This was one of the most complex forensic investigations in British criminal history.

Holly and Jessica, both 10, were found dead in August 2002, two weeks after disappearing from their home in Soham.

School caretaker, Ian Huntley was jailed after being convicted of their murders.

DCS Wate joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1979 at the age of 18 as a police constable in Wisbech and in 1983 he became a detective. He is now Cambridgeshire police's head of investigations and has received 13 commendations from judges and chief constables. He is also the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead expert on investigating child deaths.

The 48-year-old father of three grown-up children was one of 17 officers across England and Wales to receive this year's Queen's Police Medal.