Taxi driver to serve life for murder of Sian O'Callaghan

Taxi driver Christopher Halliwell will serve at least thirty years in prison for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan, who disappeared after a night out in Swindon in March last year. But has escaped justice over a second murder after a police blunder.

ITV News Reporter Emily Morgan:

Halliwell, 48, pleaded guilty to killing Miss O'Callaghan during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

Halliwell, of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, was also accused of murdering Becky Godden-Edwards but that charge was withdrawn following a ruling by a High Court judge - even though he led police to her body.

Sian O'Callaghan
Sian O'Callaghan

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has confirmed it will investigate Wiltshire police over the investigations in to the deaths of both Sian O'Callaghan and Rebecca Godden-Edwards.

A separate IPCC investigation will focus on allegations that Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher from Wiltshire Police spoke about the case to some media outlets on separate occasions contrary to force instructions.

Christopher Halliwell
Christopher Halliwell Credit: CPS

Miss O'Callaghan, 22, disappeared after leaving Swindon's Suju nightclub in the early hours of March 19 last year after a night out with friends.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out at Savernake Forest to help in the search for her but police found her body in Uffington, Oxfordshire, on March 24 after being taken there by Halliwell.

Becky Godden-Edwards
Becky Godden-Edwards

On the night she disappeared, Halliwell had signed off from work but instead of going home he cruised the streets of Swindon in his green Toyota Avensis taxi looking for a victim.

Miss O'Callaghan left the nightclub at 2.53am for the short walk to the home she shared with boyfriend Kevin Reape.

Shortly after she walked past the Goddard Arms on the High Street in the Old Town area, she got into Halliwell's taxi.

Miss Godden-Edwards's remains were discovered at a Cotswold beauty spot after Halliwell was detained by detectives investigating the disappearance of Miss O'Callaghan.

Office worker Miss Godden-Edwards, who would have celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this year, was last seen by her family in Swindon more than eight years ago.

Speaking outside the court after Halliwell was sentenced Sian O'Callaghan's mother, Elaine O'Callaghan said, "Our lives have been changed forever as the result of a truly wonderful life being taken too soon."

Karen Edwards pleaded for help is securing justice for her daughter Becky, saying that; "after a very complicated and painful journey over the last eighteen months, Sian's family have today had the justice for the murder of their beautiful daughter. However our families' fight for justice for Becky has only just begun.

"I would like the full support of you all to help me get justice for my daughter Becky."