Becky Godden's mother starts petition to change law
- 9 November 2012
- From the section Wiltshire
The mother of a woman whose body was found during the hunt for murdered Swindon office worker Sian O'Callaghan has set up a petition calling for a change in the law.
Christopher Halliwell led police to Becky Godden's body shortly after he confessed to killing Miss O'Callaghan.
But he was not prosecuted over Miss Godden's death after a judge ruled detectives ignored arrest guidelines.
The petition calls for a review of PACE (the Police and Criminal Evidence Act).
Miss Godden's mother, Karen Edwards, launched the petition this week and so far it has more than 300 signatures.
It calls on the government to urgently review Code C of the Act, the code of practice for the detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The Police and Criminal Evidence Act and its codes of practice are designed to protect the rights of all those in the criminal justice system, including victims and interviewing officers.
"The Act was introduced as a direct response to concerns over the conduct of the police in significant miscarriages of justice in the early 1980s and has stood the test of time ever since."
But Ms Edwards told BBC Breakfast: "I feel there should be more flexibility when police officers arrest people."
Halliwell was identified by police as the main suspect in 22-year-old Miss O'Callaghan's murder after CCTV caught him driving outside the nightclub in Swindon she went missing from last year.
Following Halliwell's arrest, he was taken not to a police station to be read his rights but to local beauty spot Barbury Castle by Det Supt Steve Fulcher.
Mrs Justice Cox said Det Supt Fulcher's decision to ignore guidelines in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act were "significant and substantial".
She added the move was intended to create "circumstances deliberately designed to persuade the defendant to speak".
And it led to Halliwell only facing charges over the murder of Miss O'Callaghan and not Miss Godden, also known as Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been missing for eight years.
Det Supt Fulcher said he had made the decision to not take Halliwell to a police station in a bid to "appeal to the killer's conscience".
Ms Edwards said she believed that if Det Supt Fulcher had followed the guidelines he would not have found her daughter's body.
"I don't blame Steve Fulcher at all," she said.
"I think a senior police officer should be able to make decisions about the arrest. He made a split second decision and this is the consequences.
"Yes, it's [PACE] been put in place to protect the arrested suspect and it's also been put in place to protect the police officer, but this was a very, very unusual circumstance.
"I don't want any family to go through what I've gone through ever again."
Letter to Halliwell
Ms Edwards said: "It's very frustrating. I mean there's a man who admitted in great detail that he had murdered my daughter. He even showed them where he hid her body, in a remote field in the middle of nowhere."
Ms Edwards has also written a letter to Halliwell, although she has not yet sent it to him.
"When the time is right he will get the letter," she said.
"I want him to admit guilt. I want to put this to bed once and for all.
"I want to move on with my life and just get on with my grieving."
The police and Crown Prosecution Service said the murder charge in relation to Miss Godden had not been dropped with Wiltshire Police previously saying it was their intention to continue their investigations.