Wiltshire

Becky Godden murder detective faces misconduct hearing

Becky Godden Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Becky Godden's body was found during the search for Sian O'Callaghan

A detective who did not follow arrest guidelines in a double murder case has appeared at a misconduct hearing.

Det Supt Steve Fulcher did not read Christopher Halliwell his rights before the former taxi driver led him to the body of Becky Godden in 2011.

The failure to follow arrest guidelines meant Halliwell - who admitted the murder of Sian O'Callaghan - was not prosecuted for Miss Godden's murder.

The formal misconduct hearing follows an inquiry by police watchdog the IPCC.

Halliwell has never stood trial for the murder of Miss Godden, who was last seen alive by a police officer in Swindon in December 2002.

He led police to her body shortly after confessing to the killing of 22-year-old Miss O'Callaghan, for which he was jailed for life in October 2012.

'Right thing to do'

However, a High Court judge ruled his confessions over Miss Godden were inadmissible, as there had been "wholesale and irretrievable breaches" of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) guidelines.

Under Pace rules, which govern the questioning of suspects, Halliwell should have been cautioned several times during cross-examination.

But during a Bristol Crown Court hearing in 2012, Mr Fulcher, who advised officers across the country on how to conduct murder investigations, admitted he had not "considered it".

He added: "I believed that again, the right thing to do was take the information he was prepared to give, but I accept he was not cautioned at that time."

An Independent Police Complaint Commission report found Mr Fulcher had breached Pace rules and ignored orders from his own force during the inquiry into Halliwell.

The IPCC report recommended that Wiltshire Police should consider a charge of gross misconduct against Mr Fulcher for his management of the investigation.

The hearing - in front of a panel of independent members - is expected to last five days.

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