1. ITV Report

Wiltshire detective in misconduct row resigns

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher repeatedly failed to caution Christopher Halliwell Photo: PA

A detective who was found guilty of gross misconduct over his handling of a high-profile double murder case has resigned.

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher repeatedly failed to caution Christopher Halliwell as the taxi driver showed him where Sian O'Callaghan, 22, and Becky Godden were buried in 2011.

Christopher Halliwell was jailed for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan Credit: Wiltshire Police

A High Court judge later ruled Halliwell's confessions inadmissible because the Wiltshire Police detective had broken Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) rules.

The father-of-three later pleaded guilty to the murder of Miss O'Callaghan, from Swindon, Wiltshire and was jailed for a minimum of 25 years.

Sian O'Callaghan went missing after leaving a Swindon nightclub in 2011 Credit: Facebook

But a charge of murdering Miss Godden was ordered to lie on file, as there was no other evidence linking Halliwell to the crime.

An independent panel found Mr Fulcher guilty of two counts of gross misconduct relating to the case during a three-and-a-half day formal conduct hearing in January.

A third misconduct allegation was withdrawn and Mr Fulcher was handed a final written warning - meaning he was allowed to retain his position.

Becky Godden was reported missing in 2007. Her body was found in 2011 Credit: Family

But a charge of murdering Miss Godden was ordered to lie on file, as there was no other evidence linking Halliwell to the crime.

An independent panel found Mr Fulcher guilty of two counts of gross misconduct relating to the case during a three-and-a-half day formal conduct hearing in January.

A third misconduct allegation was withdrawn and Mr Fulcher was handed a final written warning - meaning he was allowed to retain his position.

However, a spokesman for Wiltshire Police today confirmed that Mr Fulcher had resigned from the force.

"Wiltshire Police can confirm that Steve Fulcher has resigned from his post in the Force," the force spokesman said.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further on this matter."

The formal conduct hearing followed a report in September 2013 by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the running of Operation Mayan, which heavily criticised Mr Fulcher and recommended gross misconduct charges.

Speaking after the formal conduct hearing, Mr Fulcher, in a statement issued through his legal team and the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, said he was looking forward to "serving the public" again.

"At all times Steve Fulcher has been motivated by a desire to serve the public and do the best that he can for the victims, their families and for Wiltshire Police," it said.

"He is grateful for the support he has received from many people and, in particular, humbled by the support he has received from Becky's mother, Karen Edwards, and Sian's partner Kevin Reape, when they have suffered such tragic loss."

Halliwell was jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court in October 2012, after admitting he murdered Miss O'Callaghan as she made her way home from a night out in Swindon in March 2011.

The 50-year-old taxi driver, of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, was arrested days later on suspicion of kidnapping the 22-year-old office worker and taken to Mr Fulcher.

Over a three-hour period, Halliwell confessed to murdered Miss O'Callaghan and took the experienced detective to her shallow grave in Uffington, Oxfordshire.

He then made the startling admission that he had killed another woman and led Mr Fulcher to where Swindon prostitute Miss Godden was buried in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.

During a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in 2012, Mr Fulcher said that after Halliwell offered him "another one" - another body - he was not cautioned.

"I believed that again, the right thing to do was take the information he was prepared to give, but I accept he was not cautioned at that time," Mr Fulcher told the court.

Halliwell later exercised his right to silence and refused to answer further questions when he finally spoke to a solicitor later that day.

"I thought it was utterly ridiculous that someone would take me, 12 other people and a surveillance helicopter to the deposition site of two bodies and then seek to find some loophole or quirk in the law to get away from the fact he was a multiple murderer," Mr Fulcher said.

Mrs Justice Cox ruled that Halliwell's confessions were inadmissible, as there had been "wholesale and irretrievable breaches of Pace and the codes".

With no other evidence tying Halliwell to the murder of Miss Godden, the prosecution did not oppose an application by his defence team to dismiss the charge.

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