Wiltshire

Becky Godden misconduct detective Steve Fulcher keeps job

Steve Fulcher
Image caption Steve Fulcher was led by Christopher Halliwell to the body of Becky Godden

A detective who did not follow arrest guidelines in a double murder case has been allowed to keep his job.

Det Supt Steve Fulcher failed to caution Christopher Halliwell when the former taxi driver led him to the body of Becky Godden in 2011.

Halliwell was never charged over her death but was jailed for life in 2012 for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan.

The misconduct charge was brought after an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The detective was given a final written warning following the three-day hearing, which was held in private.

Thankful for support

He was found guilty of breaching police guidelines for arrests and a second charge relating to "inappropriate contact with the media" 12 months after the case.

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

A third charge, of alleged breaches in relation to information released to the media, was dropped.

A statement from Det Supt Fulcher's lawyers thanked Becky Godden's mother, Karen Edwards, and Sian O'Callaghan's partner, Kevin Reape, for their support.

"Steve Fulcher wishes to express his thanks to those who have supported him throughout this very sad case," the statement said.

"At all times Steve Fulcher has been motivated by a desire to serve the public and do the best that he can for the victims, their families and for Wiltshire Police."

The force's Chief Constable, Pet Geenty, said the case had been "emotive" and had attracted a lot of interest.

"I have great admiration for senior investigating officers across the country who have to make life and death decisions," he said.

"As always, it is vital that investigations are rigorously reviewed in order that good practice, lessons learnt and areas for development are identified."

Changes to guidelines

Miss Godden was last seen alive by a police officer in Swindon in December 2002.

Halliwell led police to her body in a shallow grave in Gloucestershire in 2011, shortly after he confessed to killing 22-year-old Miss O'Callaghan, from Swindon.

But, a High Court judge ruled his confessions over Miss Godden were inadmissible because Det Supt Fulcher breached the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) guidelines.

Image caption Christopher Halliwell led police to the bodies of his victims

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

The detective said at the time he had made the decision to not take Halliwell to a police station in a bid to "appeal to the killer's conscience".

Angus Macpherson, the police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire, said he backed calls for changes to Pace guidelines.

"The MP for South Swindon, Robert Buckland, who is an experienced barrister, was asked by the policing minister to look at the workings of Pace as a result of this case.

"I support Mr Buckland's conclusion that some changes would be helpful."

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