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Twisted taxi driver “could have killed six more people”

Christopher Halliwell
Christopher Halliwell

A taxi driver who will die behind bars after being sentenced for his second murder could be responsible for six others, a former senior detective has said.

Christopher Halliwell, 52, formerly of Swindon, Wiltshire, murdered Becky Godden, 20, in January 2003 and Sian O'Callaghan, 22, in March 2011.

He was handed a rare life sentence - meaning he will never be released - at Bristol Crown Court last week after a jury convicted him of Miss Godden's murder.

Wiltshire Police are now working with other forces and the National Crime Agency to identify further victims of Halliwell, who also worked as a chauffeur and groundworker.

Halliwell spoke of his desire to become a serial killer while in prison in 1985 and spoke of strangling a woman during sex.

Former detective superintendent Steve Fulcher, who led the investigation into Miss O'Callaghan's disappearance, said there was "no question" that Halliwell had killed others.

 Steve Fulcher

"I spent a lot of time with Christopher Halliwell," Mr Fulcher, who now works as a consultant in Somalia, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"He was contrite, fully contrite, crying on my shoulder when I dealt with him.

"There's no question, from all the information I gathered when I was running this inquiry in 2011, that he has committed other murders.

"The principal thing he said was 'the police want to interview me about eight murders'."

When asked if that meant Halliwell could have committed six other murders, Mr Fulcher replied: "Well, that's what I'd conclude from his saying that."

Halliwell was brought to speak to Mr Fulcher following his arrest for kidnapping office worker Miss O'Callaghan, who disappeared after a night-out in Swindon.

He eventually confessed to her murder and led officers to where he had left her partially-clothed body in Uffington, Oxfordshire.

While at the site, Halliwell told Mr Fulcher "we need to have a chat" before revealing he had strangled another woman between 2003 and 2005.

The father-of-three led police to Oxo Bottom field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where the skeletal remains of Miss Godden were discovered.

A High Court judge ruled the confessions could not be presented to a jury as Mr Fulcher had breached rules governing the questioning of suspects.

Mr Fulcher was found guilty of gross misconduct by a police disciplinary panel and resigned, ending his 27-year police career, months after receiving a final written warning.

He told the programme the judgement was "flawed" and called for changes in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

"There's a flaw in PACE that doesn't allow police officers to act in the interests of parties who are threatened," he said.

"It is particularly pertinent in crimes in action, kidnap cases and terrorism offences."

Mr Fulcher said police investigating Halliwell were aware of missing chef Claudia Lawrence and Linda Razzell, who vanished in Swindon in 2002.

Mrs Razzell's husband, Glyn, is currently serving a life sentence for her murder but claims he is innocent.

"We know that Halliwell has killed women, has a propensity for killing women, and had a direct relationship with Linda Razzell," Mr Fulcher said.

"We have a clear multiple murderer and we have concerns about his association with particular women."

Following Mr Fulcher's comments, Elaine Pickford, the mother of Sian O'Callaghan, said: "Despite my belief that there is likely to have been 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.

"Having been through the awful five-day experience when Sian was missing, you, as a parent and a family, imagine all sorts of things, as well as trying to retain some small hope.

"Public speculation I don't feel would have helped us, just facts which we were kept up to date on during those days and sadly when Sian was found."

A spokeswoman for Wiltshire Police said a "key aspect" of investigations into Halliwell was the possibility that he may have killed others.

"It remains our commitment to keep an open mind and follow the evidence wherever that may take us, so if there are further victims of Halliwell, then our investigation will work tirelessly to bring justice for all those concerned," she said.

"To assist us in this, we strongly discourage speculation as this will cause further distress to families and friends of people who are currently missing across the country, who will clearly be desperate to have news of their loved ones.

"We would, however, welcome any new information from the public, or indeed, from Halliwell himself."

She added that Halliwell would no longer pose a danger to the public following his whole life order.