'Sian's Law' for cab driver safety checks to start tomorrow after murder of Sian O'Callaghan

  • Watch Robert Murphy's report.

The family of murdered taxi passenger Sian O'Callaghan has won a change in the law to improve driver safety checks.

Miss O'Callaghan was killed by Swindon taxi driver Christopher Halliwell in March 2011. He later confessed to murdering Becky Godden-Edwards in 2003.

From tomorrow, if a taxi or private hire driver loses their licence following a claim of sexual harassment, that information will be shared nationally among all licensing authorities.

If the driver applies elsewhere, the new authority will be able to see the reasons why they lost their licence.

'It's an incredibly vulnerable position to be in,' said Elaine Pickford, Sian's mother.

"To be on your own, in a vehicle where the driver can lock you in, effectively take you wherever they want to take you, which is what happened to Sian. The industry should be as regulated as possible."

Christopher Halliwell murdered Sian after picking her up in his cab in 2011 Credit: Wiltshire Police

The law change follows years of campaigning by Sian's family.

"Hopefully no other families will have to go through a similar situation that we had to.

"More lives will be protected and the good drivers out there are protected as well," said Liam O'Callaghan, Sian's brother.

Sian was on a night out in Swindon in March 2011, when she left a nightclub and started the short walk home.

She was picked up by taxi driver Christopher Halliwell and killed soon afterwards.

When he was arrested days later, Halliwell confessed to the 2003 murder of Becky Godden-Edwards.

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, the lead detective in the case, broke the arrest guidelines ahead of that confession.

The story was dramatised by ITV in "A Confession" in 2019.

Halliwell is serving a whole life order after admitting in court to Sian's murder in 2012 and being convicted of Becky's killing in 2016.

From tomorrow (27 April), licensing authorities must check the database to see if a driver has previously lost their licence - and the reasons why.

Sian's family say they would like further laws to be put in place, including mandatory CCTV in all taxis and private hire cars.

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