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  1. ITV Report

Killer taxi driver convicted of murdering Becky Godden

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

A convicted murderer has been found guilty of killing another young woman 13 years ago.

Mini cab driver Christopher Halliwell, 52, was convicted by a jury for the murder of Becky Godden, 20, and burying her in Oxo Bottom field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire in 2003.

He is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years after admitting stabbing and strangling officer worker Sian O'Callaghan, 22, in 2011.

Halliwell, who escaped justice five years ago due to police blunders, smiled as the verdict came in.

It took jurors just under three hours to settle on a verdict.

Halliwell is currently serving life in prison for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan.

Bristol Crown Court heard Halliwell initially confessed to strangling Miss Godden, a drug addict and sex worker, and led police to the exact spot of her remains.

But Halliwell, formerly of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, later pleaded not guilty to the murder and represented himself at his trial.

Miss Godden's remains were found in 2011 after Halliwell led police officers to a location after showing them where he had buried Miss O'Callaghan.

En route he told them: "I'm a sick f***** … Normal people don't go around killing each other."

But his admission five years ago was ruled inadmissible in court as as Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher had breached police guidelines by failing to caution him and offering him a solicitor.

The detective resigned from Wiltshire Police in May 2014, months after being handed a final written warning when he was found guilty of gross misconduct following a formal conduct hearing.

Miss Godden's mother, Karen Edwards, launched a campaign for changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) following the case.

Speaking outside of court, Mrs Edwards said she would like to thank Mr Fulcher from the "bottom of my heart" for "bringing my little girl home".

Mr Fulcher said he was "very pleased that Karen Edwards has finally seen justice done for her beautiful daughter Becky", describing Halliwell as an "evil and depraved violator of women".

He said that Mrs Edwards fought a "dignified battle" and commended her for her "resilience" and "determination" to obtain justice.

He said: "It is perfectly clear that, had I not acted as I did, neither Sian nor Becky would ever have been found and Halliwell would be free to abduct and kill other girls."

I caught a serial killer; preventing any further girls being murdered.

I remain convinced that the action that I took in allowing Halliwell to take me to the bodies of both Sian and Becky, was the right and moral thing to do.

Despite everything that has happened to me, I cannot regret the decisions that I took that day. Ultimately, that decision ensured the return of two beautiful young women, which bought comfort to their families and ensured that Halliwell has been duly convicted of both murders.

– Stephen Fulcher
Christopher Halliwell represented himself in court.

The charge of murdering Miss Godden was withdrawn until March this year following an investigation by Wiltshire Police that uncovered overwhelming evidence against Halliwell.

The father-of-three denied murder and represented himself during the two-week trial, claiming that Miss Godden had been murdered by drug dealers.

But under cross examination by Nicholas Haggan QC, Halliwell told the court that he had strangled her and had led them to the "exact spot" where her body was.

Today Christopher Halliwell has been found guilty of Becky's murder. We have waited over five years for this momentous day. It has been an extremely painful journey but today we've received the justice that has felt like an eternity coming for our beautiful little girl Becky.

– Becky's mum, Karen Edwards
John Godden said that his daughter can now be at peace.

Becky's dad John Godden wept outside court as he paid tribute to his daughter.

Our time has come to put Becky to rest and she can now be at peace.

We as a family have had some very dark days and it has been difficult for us to listen to the evidence in court and thankfully we now have some closure.

We would like to thank the investigating team for all they have done and would like you all to remember Becky as she was to us - our little girl."

– Becky's dad, John Godden

Police believe Halliwell abducted Miss Godden from Destiny & Desire, a nightclub in Swindon town centre close to where he took Miss O'Callaghan.

"Both were taken in a taxi," prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC told the hearing.

"Both bodies were deposited in rural locations on the eastern side of Swindon. Becky is believed to have been buried naked. When Sian was found she was only partially clothed."

Ian Harris said Halliwell made every attempt to evade justice.

New evidence uncovered by Wiltshire Police included witness accounts and forensic analysis of a spade and garden tools.

Ian Harris from the Crown Prosecution Service said that after Halliwell dismissed his legal team, they asked the court to reverse the ruling preventing the jury from hearing of his 2011 confession.

"Even then, despite all the evidence, including his own confession, Mr Halliwell continued to fight the case. In the process, he has put Becky’s family through untold suffering on top of the terrible pain he has caused them by murdering Becky," Mr Harris said.

"In the end, despite his every effort to evade justice, he has been convicted and I hope that this will finally give some comfort and closure to Becky’s family. Our thoughts have been very much with them, and also with Sian’s family, throughout this dreadful ordeal."

Family and friends of Miss Godden cheered and wept in the public gallery as the verdict was read out.

He will be sentenced on Friday. The judge said he is considering a "whole life sentence".