Christopher Halliwell convicted of Becky Godden's murder - five years after police confession

Ewan Palmer
Christopher Halliwell

A taxi driver has been found guilty of murdering a woman five years after confessing the crime to police and even showing officers where he buried the body. Christopher Halliwell admitted murdering 28-year-old Becky Godden to detectives after telling them he had killed another woman, Sian O'Callaghan, who got into his car after a night out in Swindon in March 2011.

Halliwell, 52, told Wiltshire Police detective superintendent Steve Fulcher in 2011 that he had murdered O'Callaghan and showed him where he had buried the body near the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire. However, in a shocking development, the former bin man turned to the officer and said: "Do you want another one?"

Halliwell then took Fulcher to where he had buried Godden in a shallow grave in Eastleach in Gloucestershire. The details of the confession to Godden's murder only came out during the court proceedings at Bristol Crown Court as Halliwell was receiving a life sentence for O'Callaghan's murder.

Police believe Halliwell abducted Godden from the Destiny & Desire nightclub in Swindon in January 2003, close to where he took O'Callaghan in 2011.

Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC told the court: "Both were taken in a taxi. 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."

Halliwell described himself as a "sick f****r" before admitting to Fulcher that he had strangled Godden to death after having sex with her.

He was subsequently charged with Godden's murder following his confession, but a High Court judge later ruled Halliwell's admissions could not be used against him as Fulcher had breached police guidelines on interviewing suspects. The confessions came during a three-hour private interview between Fulcher and Halliwell which took place at remote Barbury Castle in Wiltshire - where police suspected O'Callaghan might be - instead of a formal interview at a police station.

The charge against him for Godden's murder was eventually dropped until Wiltshire Police were able to uncover more evidence against him. Halliwell then denied murdering Godden, resulting in a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

A jury has now found the father-of-three guilty of murder after deliberating for less than two hours. He is now facing life in jail when he is sentenced on 23 September.

Ian Harris, head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said: "After Christopher Halliwell had led Wiltshire Police to the body of Sian O'Callaghan, he also confessed to the murder of Rebecca Godden, who had been missing since January 2003.

Sian O'Callaghan

"That was in 2011. Since then, our focus has been to get justice for Becky and her family as well. My team in the Complex Casework Unit in CPS Wessex has worked tirelessly with Wiltshire Police to build up a strong case against Christopher Halliwell and this meant that earlier this year we were able to re-start the prosecution for Becky's murder.

"In the course of his defence, Christopher Halliwell dismissed his legal team and then maintained that he had not been involved in Becky's murder. This meant we could ask the court to reverse the ruling which prevented the jury from being told about his confession. We succeeded and this meant that we could tell the jury not only that he was serving a life sentence for Sian's murder but also that he had confessed to Becky's murder and knew where she had been buried.

"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.

"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."

Speaking outside court, Detective Superintendent Sean Memory said Halliwell may have had other victims. He added: "I am really open-minded there may be others - there is an eight-year gap between Becky and Sian.

"I would appeal to Christopher Halliwell, actually, if he wants to speak I'm willing to speak with him. I can't rule out that there are other victims, however I have no direct evidence at the moment to suggest there are.

"He's demonstrated at this trial his ability to lie, his ability to kill women who both in their own way were very vulnerable.

"Becky because of drugs and her life of prostitution and Sian because she had just been on a night out, had a few drinks and fully expected in the position of responsibility that he had to be taken home as any other taxi driver should have done."

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