There are another six victims of the multiple murderer Christopher Halliwell. This is the claim of the former detective who caught him, Steve Fulcher.
But while the former detective superintendent has named four possible victims, the mother of one of the women he was convicted of killing has described the speculation as ‘unhelpful.’
Halliwell, a 52 year old former cabbie, was found guilty of murdering Becky Godden and sentenced to a life in prison with no chance of parole last week.
The grandfather was already serving a life sentence for the murder of Sian O’Callaghan in 2011.
Mr Fulcher has gone further - in an interview with the Sunday Express he named four women he believes Halliwell had killed:
- Claudia Lawrence
- Linda Razzell
- Sally Ann John
- Melanie Hall
His claims have been backed by Karen Edwards, Becky’s mother.
But what is the evidence - as known to us at present?
Two of the victims disappeared on or around the same day of the year as Sian O’Callaghan - March 19.
Sian vanished overnight on March 19th in 2011. Linda Razzell on March 19 2002 and Claudia Lawrence on March 18 2009.
Let’s look at the facts in each case:
The 35 year old chef vanished in York in 2009.
The Express reports Mr Fulcher as saying: “Claudia Lawrence disappeared from York seven years ago. Halliwell’s father lived a few streets away from where Claudia went missing. It fits his pattern of behaviour – abducting women walking alone either late at night or early in the morning.”
But: There is no evidence that Halliwell was anywhere except Swindon at the time. North Yorkshire Police say: "The investigation team is aware of this matter and they will carefully assess the information in line with the on-going review of the Claudia Lawrence case.
"However, to be clear, the team is not aware of any evidence that would link this individual [Halliwell] to the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia."
The 41 year old mother of four disappeared from Swindon 14 years ago.
Mr Fulcher says in the Express: “Linda is thought to have had a relationship with her builder. Halliwell did building work at her house. She has been missing since March 19, 2002, and there are potential issues with the forensics in the investigation.”
But: Wiltshire Police sources say that while she did have a relationship with a builder, it was not Halliwell.
And her husband Glyn was found guilty of her murder 2003. Her DNA was found in the boot of Mr Razzell’s car. He has tried to appeal his conviction, but those attempts have failed.
The 25 year old vanished after leaving a nightclub in Bath in 1996. Her remains were found next to the M5 in South Gloucestershire 13 years later.
Mr Fulcher told the Express: “The circumstances match his modus operandi in abducting a girl, late at night, from a nightclub.
“Evidence of her being tied up with rope is consistent with Halliwell’s interests.”
But: there is no evidence Halliwell was in or operating out of Bath at that time. Avon and Somerset Police have gone even further - distancing themselves from the speculation. A force source told me: "There are no links between Christopher Halliwell and our ongoing investigation into the murder of Melanie Hall."
Sally Ann John:
This is a more compelling case for a link with Halliwell.
Sally Ann John was a 23 year old sex worker when she disappeared from Swindon in 1995.
Mr Fulcher is reported to have said: “She was a prostitute from Broad Street in Swindon, where Halliwell lived. He is known to have had a relationship with Sally Ann.”
Sally Ann’s body has also never been discovered. Three men from Swindon and Chippenham were arrested for her murder last year. All three were released on bail.
The detective who took over Becky’s case and secured Halliwell’s conviction last week is Det Supt Sean Memory. After Halliwell was sentenced to life he told reporters: “There must be other victims out there, whether they are sexual offences or other women that he has taken. He talked candidly in 1985 about wanting to be a serial killer. I believe that’s a distinct possibility.”
Privately, senior officers at Wiltshire Police are furious with Steve Fulcher’s comments. They say he is being irresponsible and may be misleading the grieving families of the women who have either died or disappeared - starting a new life elsewhere.
Mr Fulcher will not be worried about annoying his former force. He was found guilty of two counts of gross misconduct and resigned in 2014. There is no love lost between the detective and his former constabulary.
He believes Wiltshire Police has not done enough after he handed over the Halliwell investigation.
Today Sian’s mother Elaine Pickford said: "Having read a lot over the weekend in various newspapers and online I cannot help but feel there is too much speculation going on around Christopher Halliwell and suspected victims.
“Despite my belief that it is likely to there are more victims, I personally do not feel it is helpful to either the police or those families to publicly speculate on those victims, scenarios and to presume.
“For parents and families of these missing women who continue to suffer must be dreadful, I do hope that anyone who is experiencing a missing loved one does have their questions answered by good police work and facts."