A hearing is due to begin later to decide whether the lead detective who investigated the murder of Sian O'Callaghan is guilty of gross misconduct relating to the case. A panel will meet in private, with a result expected by the end of this week.
Wiltshire Police has confirmed a date for a hearing to decide whether the detective who investigated the murder of Sian O'Callaghan committed gross misconduct in relation to the case and to the investigation of the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards (also known as Becky Godden).
A panel of independent members will meet from 20th January 2014 for a private hearing expected to last five days.
The panel was established after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that Detective Superintendent Fulcher had a case to answer for gross misconduct relating to three alleged breaches to the Standards of Professional Behaviour, as outlined by the Police Conduct Regulations 2008. It would be inappropriate for Wiltshire Police to make any comment until the hearing has concluded. We will inform the media of the panel’s decision when it has been made."
– Wiltshire Police statement
Christopher Halliwell was convicted of Sian O'Callaghan's murder in 2011. He later showed police where Becky Godden-Edwards was buried, but a judge ruled he could not be charged with her murder because he had not been read his rights by police.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to investigate breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in the investigation into the deaths of Sian O'Callaghan and Rebecca Godden.
"Now that the criminal process has concluded the IPCC can start its investigation into the police investigation into the tragic deaths of these two young women. We were unable to start work before criminal proceedings concluded on the advice of the Crown Prosecution service.
"I have no doubt that there will be considerable interest in the circumstances that led to the IPCC investigations but I would urge patience while we find out what happened.
"The IPCC has already concluded an independent investigation into five complaints against Wiltshire Police relating to the actions of the police during the investigation. Three of these complaints were upheld and the force has agreed our recommendation to offer the complainant an apology. The force has also confirmed to the IPCC that it has accepted our recommendation that it reviews its family liaison policy.”
– IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik
The three complaints that were upheld by the IPCC were not related to Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher and are not subject to any misconduct proceedings.
The IPCC is to conduct a separate investigation into allegations that Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher from Wiltshire Police spoke about the case to some media outlets against force instructions, the force media strategy and policies. He has been suspended pending the investigation.
It has been revealed today for the first time that Christopher Halliwell, who admitted murdering Sian O'Callaghan, has escaped justice for a second murder because of a police error. The 48-year-old taxi driver was jailed for life today for killing Ms O'Callaghan after pleading guilty in court.
However, Halliwell was also accused of murdering Rebecca Godden during the course of the Wiltshire Police investigation. The charge was withdrawn following a ruling by a High Court judge - even though Halliwell had led police to Ms Godden's body.
Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who was leading the investigation into Sian O'Callaghan's disappearance, breached police guidelines governing interviewing of suspects. He did not caution Halliwell and denied Halliwell a solicitor.
Police have vowed to get justice for Rebecca Godden.