Detective who jailed Christopher Halliwell joins call for fresh probe

Detective who put Wiltshire serial killer Christopher Halliwell behind bars joins call for fresh police probe to find ‘more victims’ beyond first two women

  • Halliwell is serving life terms for murdering Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden
  • Some have always suspected the 57-year-old of killing even more women
  • Police investigation was turned into ITV drama starring Martin Freeman in 2019
  • Now a local PCC candidate has pledged to re-investigate Halliwell if elected
  • His policy has received backing of ex-Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher

The detective who put serial killer Christopher Halliwell behind bars has joined calls for a fresh police probe to find ‘potentially more victims’ beyond the two women he was convicted of murdering. 

Halliwell, 57, is currently serving two life sentences for murdering Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden-Edwards in Wiltshire.

But some have always suspected him of murdering more women, and in 2019 he was linked with four other unsolved cases. 

That same year, the police investigation into Halliwell was turned into an ITV drama titled A Confession, starring Martin Freeman as Mr Fulcher.

Now police and crime commissioner candidate Mike Rees, a retired detective himself, has launched a pledge to re-investigate Halliwell if elected next month, and has received the backing of Steve Fulcher, the police chief who brought the killer to justice. 

Some suspect Christopher Halliwell (pictured) of killing more than the two women he was convicted of murdering 


Halliwell, 57, is currently serving two life sentences for murdering Sian O’Callaghan (left) and Becky Godden-Edwards (right) in Wiltshire


Martin Freeman, 47, played Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher in the ITV show A Confession in 2019

Ten years on: Sian O’Callaghan’s tragic death and Halliwell’s confession of the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards 

It is 10 years since Sian O’Callaghan disappeared on her way home from a night out and was murdered by taxi driver Christopher Halliwell. This is a timeline of events:

2011

– March 18: Sian O’Callaghan, 22, goes for a night out with friends in Swindon. She fails to return home and is reported missing the following day by her family.

– March 21: Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, leading the investigation, says he has been trying to establish Miss O’Callaghan’s movements.

– March 22: Christopher Halliwell becomes a ‘Tie’ – a person to Trace, Interview and Eliminate after his car is seen in the area where Miss O’Callaghan disappeared.

– March 24: Halliwell is arrested. An ‘urgent interview’ is carried out by detectives. Halliwell starts journey to Gable Cross police station but is diverted to Barbury Castle where he meets Det Supt Fulcher.

Halliwell shows detectives the location where he hid Miss O’Callaghan’s body and later directs them to Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where years earlier he had buried missing sex worker Becky Godden-Edwards.

– March 26: Officers announce they have found human remains following extensive searches at Eastleach. Mr Fulcher says he had been told they were those of a woman abducted in Swindon between 2003 and 2005.

– March 26: Halliwell is charged with the murder of Miss O’Callaghan.

– April 4: The police knock on the front door of Miss Godden-Edwards’ mother Karen Edwards and tell her they have found the body of her daughter. It would have been Miss Godden-Edwards’ 29th birthday.

– May 23: Halliwell is charged with murder of Miss Godden-Edwards.

2012

– January 30: A week-long abuse of process hearing begins at Bristol Crown Court. Barristers argue Halliwell cannot get a fair trial because of breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) codes and briefings given to the media by Mr Fulcher. The trial judge, Mrs Justice Cox, rules Halliwell’s confessions to the murders of both women are inadmissible because of breaches of Pace.

– October 19: Halliwell pleads guilty to the murder of Miss O’Callaghan during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court. He is jailed for life and told he will serve a minimum of 25 years by Mrs Justice Cox.

2014 

– May 15: Mr Fulcher resigns from the police force after he was found guilty of misconduct for not reading Halliwell his rights when he first confessed to killing Miss Godden-Edwards.

2015

– February 18: Halliwell is arrested on suspicion of the murder of Miss Godden-Edwards. He tells Superintendent Sean Memory he will accept responsibility for Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder provided the police do not ask further questions about other offences he may have committed.

2016

– March 30: Halliwell is charged with Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 5: Halliwell goes on trial at Bristol Crown Court for Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 19: Halliwell is convicted of Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 23: Halliwell is sentenced to a whole life order by the judge, and will never be released.

In 2011, Halliwell led Mr Fulcher to the spot where he had dumped Sian’s body and offered him the chance to find another victim.

He then took officers to the place where he’d buried the remains of Becky – who was just 20 when she disappeared.

Taxi driver Halliwell was found guilty of Becky’s murder in 2016.

Mr Rees, who retired from Wiltshire Police as a detective inspector in 2014 and was involved in the search for victim Becky’s remains 10 years ago, said: ‘It has long been suspected that there are potentially more victims.

‘The Wiltshire public and in fact the UK public need to be satisfied that all lines of inquiry have been exhausted.

‘From my personal knowledge of the case, I don’t believe this to be the case.

‘Wiltshire Police is one of the most poorly funded in the country and I suspect this is one of the reasons this has not been pursued vigorously.

‘If elected, I intend to speak with and encourage the Chief Constable to re-visit this matter and will support him by seeking extra funding, if required, allowing us to exhaust every avenue to find out if there are other victims of this killer.

‘There could be other families out there still waiting for news on their missing loved ones.’

Mr Fulcher was the detective superintendent who led the initial investigation into Halliwell and subsequently lost his job over breaches of police procedure rules after his initial arrest of the cab driver.

The former detective, who is supporting Mr Rees’ political campaign, backed a new inquiry looking into other crimes potentially committed by Halliwell.

He said: ‘It’s a matter of justice that crimes attributable to Halliwell are thoroughly and vigorously pursued.

‘There are clear indications there are other victims. For the next of kin of those victims, there are consequences of their daughter missing day after day, when there appears to be no effort to seek at least to resolve the matter

‘For the next of kin of victims they don’t cease to suffer as a consequence of missing their daughter. The cost of the crimes that Halliwell committed is incalculable.

‘If you don’t investigate homicide then there’s really no reason to have a police force.’

Last month marked 10 years on from the disappearance of Sian and subsequent arrest of Halliwell. 

The cab driver led police to the remains of Becky, who was buried in a Gloucestershire field.

Becky’s mother, Karen Edwards, said earlier this month that she believed there were other victims.

She said: ‘Becky had her life taken in the cruellest of ways. There are lots of things you can forgive but I will never, ever forgive Halliwell for what he did not just to Becky but to Sian and, I still believe, many others despite what Wiltshire Police will say.’

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said in March: ‘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.’

The police and crime commissioner elections will be held on May 6.

In 2019, a witness claimed that he saw Halliwell drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley.

He was also linked with three other female victims, all of whom had been alone and were probably enticed into a car in a city area before being dumped in a more rural location.

Carol Clark, 32, was picked up from the Bristol red light district in March 1993 before being dumped in a canal at ­Sharpness, Gloucestershire.

It is believed she she had either suffered a heavy blow to the neck or been strangled.

Joe Absolom as Christopher Halliwell and Martin Freeman as Steve Fulcher in the ITV drama

Halliwell lived 40 miles away at the time and had a good knowledge of the canals, as he was a narrowboat enthusiast.

The victim’s brother-in-law Terry Townsend said her family had noticed similarities in A Confession between the murders the killer was convicted of.

Jackie Waines, 35, was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985. 

Yvonne Fitt, also a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992 and, like Ms Waines and Ms Clark, was snatched from red light districts. 

The police investigation into Halliwell was turned into an ITV drama titled A Confession, starring Martin Freeman as Mr Fulcher. 

The detective’s career was left in tatters when he was found guilty of misconduct after prompting a second murder confession from the killer. 

He quit in 2014 after a disciplinary hearing, but Hobbit star Mr Freeman defended Mr Fulcher’s actions at the time the show was aired, telling the Series Linked TV podcast in 2019: ‘There aren’t enough police on the ground. 

‘You’re going to get rid of good ones as well? It’s a very dodgy road to go down, I think, for us as a society.’

How Haliwell has been linked to four other unsolved murders 

A witness claimed in 2019 that he saw the murderer drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley. 

Ms Finley, 23, was found strangled with her naked body dumped in a field in Rainford, Lancashire on August 5, 1994. 

The witness now claims that taxi driver Halliwell lived just four miles from the field.

He is urging police to reinvestigate Halliwell, 55, who has been portrayed in ITV drama A Confession.  

The man adds that he is willing to give the police a statement, which could prove to be a breakthrough in Ms Finley’s 25-year unsolved murder.  

Halliwell was given life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. 

The story of her murder and the hunt for her killer is being portrayed in the new ITV drama. 

After being jailed for the first murder, Halliwell was later convicted of the killing of Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been missing since 2007.

Halliwell was given life imprisonment with a whole life order, meaning he will not be eligible for parole.

DS Steve Fulcher, who arrested ­Halliwell in 2011, believes he committed other murders. 

He said: ‘There’s no question, from all the information I gathered when I was running this inquiry in 2011, he committed other murders.’

Now, he has been linked to the killing of Ms Finley, as well as the murders of Carol Clark, Jackie Waines and Yvonne Fitt. 

Halliwell was given life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. The story of her murder and the hunt for her killer is being portrayed in the new ITV drama A Confession, starring Martin Freeman and Joe Absolom

Ms Finley vanished from the centre of Liverpool a day before she was found strangled.   

The witness claims that Halliwell stayed in nearby Aughton, where he worked as a window fitter, from Monday to Friday before returning to his home town of Swindon.

He also added that the killer drove a 1986 D-reg Ford Transit van, which is similar to the one spotted near the scene. 

A woman calling  herself Tina told police soon after Ms Finley’s killing that she was going to see a taxi driver. 

Another witness also claimed that a woman matching Ms Finley’s description had been seen arguing with a man, who was trying to force her into a van. 

A witness has claimed that he saw Halliwell, who is currently serving life in prison for two murders, drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley


Yvonne Fitt (left) , also a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992. Jackie Waines, 35 (right), was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985

It appears as if Ms Finley’s murder, and those of the other three women, match a pattern to the killings Halliwell was convicted for. 

Former murder detective Peter Kirkham told the Mirror: ‘When you have got the modus operandi and the suggestion he was living in the area at the time, it makes it something the police should firm up.

‘It’s worth Merseyside police having a good look at, and if those things are correct, setting up a cold case investigation.’ 

In all of the unsolved cases, the women had been alone and were probably enticed into a car in a city area before being dumped in a more rural location.

Carol Clark, 32, was picked up from the Bristol red light district in March 1993 before being dumped in a canal at ­Sharpness, Gloucestershire.

It is believed she had either suffered a heavy blow to the neck or been strangled.

Halliwell lived 40 miles away at the time and had a good knowledge of the canals, as he was a narrowboat enthusiast.

The victim’s brother-in-law Terry Townsend said her family had noticed similarities in A Confession between the murders the killer was convicted of.

Jackie Waines, 35, was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985. 

Yvonne Fitt, also a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992 and, like Ms Waines and Ms Clark, was snatched from red light districts. 

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