Wiltshire Police apologize to family of murdered sex worker Becky Godden for delay in bringing murderer Christopher Halliwell to justice

Wiltshire Police have apologized to the family of murdered sex worker Becky Godden after they were criticized for failing to bring her killer to justice.

Christopher Halliwell, a taxi driver from Swindon, killed Miss Godden, 20, in January 2003 and Sian O’Callaghan, 22, in March 2011.

The police watchdog found there was a “fog of confusion” over who was commanding the inquiry into Miss Godden’s disappearance.

Halliwell, now 57, confessed to killing Miss O’Callaghan six days after abducting her and led police to her body before giving the “other” and confessing to Miss Godden’s murder.

He then led police to the spot where he had buried Miss Godden in January 2003.

Flaws in the way the investigation was handled between 2011 and 2014 meant he he was not prosecuted for Miss Godden’s murder until 2016. He was jailed for murdering Miss O’Callaghan in 2012.

A judge ruled that the way his confession was obtained broke Police rules and the Criminal Evidence Act, meaning the charge of murdering Miss Godden was dropped at his first trial.

In a report published on Friday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that between 2011 and 2014 the investigation into Ms Godden’s death was “poorly progressed and supervised, that reasonable lines of inquiry were not followed and key evidence was not were forensically examined”. .

Examples of poor practice identified by the IOPC included that a soil sample taken from a spade belonging to Halliwell in 2011 was not forensically examined until three years later.

It was then found to match the rare earth in the field where Miss Godden was found.

A pond in Ramsbury, Wiltshire, which was identified as Halliwell’s “trophy store” of women’s clothing and other items, was not investigated until 2014, by which time much of the evidence had badly degraded.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, of Wiltshire Police, apologized to Miss Godden’s family.

“As Chief Constable of the force, I fully accept the findings and recommendations set out in today’s report and have had the opportunity to personally apologize to members of Becky’s family,” he said.

“This was definitely an opportunity for deep personal reflection for me. I recognize that there was confusion at the time about the oversight of the Becky murder inquiry, as outlined in the IOPC inquiry. This arose, in part, because of the major criminal collaboration being at the beginning. For that, I am very sorry.

“The crime investigation was a complex case with very unique circumstances. We have always strived to bring justice to Becky’s family following the tragic and shocking loss of their much-loved daughter.”