Family remember Sian O’Callaghan 10 years after her murder

Sian O'Callaghan and Kevin Reape Credit: PA Media

The family of Sian O’Callaghan are supporting calls for laws on safety checks for taxi and private hire drivers to be strengthened, 10 years after her disappearance and murder.

The 22-year-old office worker was killed by Christopher Halliwell after getting into his car when she left a Swindon nightclub during the early hours of March 19, 2011.

Her disappearance sparked a major investigation by Wiltshire Police and her body was found five days later in a shallow grave near to the famous White Horse pub in Uffington, Oxfordshire having been taken there by Halliwell.

Sian O’Callaghan was murdered by taxi driver Christopher Halliwell in 2011 Credit: family handout/PA

Private hire driver Halliwell, 57, was later handed a whole life order after being convicted of a second murder – that of Swindon sex worker Becky Godden.

Following his sentence, police said there is a “distinct possibility” Halliwell is a serial killer, highlighting the eight-year gap between the murders.

In the decade since Miss O’Callaghan’s death, Wiltshire Police have continued to investigate her killer – but they do not currently have any open inquiries.

Miss O’Callaghan’s family said on the 10th anniversary of her death, they are left with many questions unanswered about her life and what she would be doing now.

Her mother Elaine Pickford told the PA news agency: “Ten years and people say time is a healer but the passing of time also brings home the time Sian hasn’t lived, how much she and us have missed out on, all the experiences she should have had and where she would now be in life.

“We as a family are coping and going forward, which I know is what Sian would want for us.

“My personal heartfelt sympathy and empathy goes out to the family and friends of Sarah Everard.”

Ms Everard, 33, was found dead after going missing in London earlier this month, and her death has led to an outpouring of grief and anger at violence against women.

Miss O’Callaghan’s mother Elaine Pickford said the 10th anniversary of her death ‘brings home the time Sian hasn’t lived’ Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Personal safety charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which was set up following the disappearance of 25-year-old estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, is campaigning for legislation on national minimum standards for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing and the establishment of a national database.

The charity said: “We join her family in again calling on the Government to support our campaign to implement legislation to tighten up safety checks on taxi and private hire vehicle drivers.

“We believe that current taxi and private hire vehicle licensing requirements are not fit for purpose and should be urgently addressed as part of a much-needed push by Government to prioritise the safety of women in public spaces and transport.”

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said Halliwell is not currently under investigation for any other crimes.

He added: “We continue to keep an open mind in relation to any further offences that Christopher Halliwell may have committed and will follow the evidence wherever that may take us.

“It is important to stress that we would not encourage unhelpful speculation as this may cause distress to families involved who are desperate to have news of their loved ones.

Christopher Halliwell is serving a whole life term for the murders of Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden Credit: Wiltshire Police/PA

“Although we are not currently investigating any offences alleged to have been committed by Halliwell, at the time of his arrest all forces were notified of the circumstances of both murders and, importantly, the facts that were known at that time.

“This is in line with good investigative practice and is recognised by senior investigating officers across the country as appropriate action to take.

“Furthermore, engagement with the National Crime Agency throughout ensured that the investigation which secured Halliwell’s conviction was shared with other organisations accessing the NCA services for homicide inquiries and this close liaison remains ongoing.

“We intend to continue this transparent approach with other forces and sharing of best practice.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further.”