Becky Godden death: Wiltshire Police sorry for arrest mistake

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

Wiltshire Police is to apologise to the family of a woman whose body was found during the hunt for murdered office worker Sian O'Callaghan.

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 Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating and the leading officer has been suspended.

It means Miss Godden's family do not definitively know who killed her.

The IPCC also upheld three complaints from Miss Godden's family about the way they were treated by police officers.

Her father John Godden said he would never put his trust in the police again.

"I'll go to my grave and not know who killed Rebecca Godden and I'll never forgive them for it. Never."

Wiltshire Police said following recommendations from the IPCC, it would be writing to the family to apologise for any distress caused and was reviewing its family liaison officer policies.

'Persuade defendant'

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.

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.

Image caption Halliwell killed Miss O'Callaghan in Savernake Forest

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".

The police and Crown Prosecution Service said the murder charge in relation to Miss Godden had not been dropped.

Det Ch Supt Kier Pritchard, head of protective services at Wiltshire Police, said that while the charge had never been put in court, "it is very much our intention to continue the live murder investigation and bring that final closure for Becky's family".

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