Mother of Christopher Halliwell victim demands to know where daughter’s missing body parts are


The mother of Christopher Halliwell victim Becky Godden-Edwards has revealed parts of her body were missing when police gave her back, and claims the killer kept her skull, hands and feet as ‘trophies’.

Karen Edwards believes mistakes in Wiltshire Police’s handling of her daughter’s case left some forensic evidence unaccounted for.

Halliwell strangled Becky In January 2003 and buried her body in a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.

But her murder only came to light in 2011 when Halliwell was arrested over the disappearance of personal assistant Sian O’Callaghan, 22.

Taxi driver Halliwell was found guilty of Becky’s murder in 2016 and the force released Becky’s remains in 2017.

Karen Edwards (pictured) believes mistakes in Wiltshire Police's handling of her daughter Becky Godden-Edwards' case left some forensic evidence unaccounted for

Karen Edwards (pictured) believes mistakes in Wiltshire Police’s handling of her daughter Becky Godden-Edwards’ case left some forensic evidence unaccounted for

Sian O'Callaghan

Becky Godden-Edwards

Halliwell, 57, is currently serving two life sentences for murdering Sian O’Callaghan (left) and Becky Godden-Edwards (right) in Wiltshire

Taxi driver Halliwell (pictured) was found guilty of Becky's murder in 2016 and the force released Becky's remains in 2017

Taxi driver Halliwell (pictured) was found guilty of Becky’s murder in 2016 and the force released Becky’s remains in 2017

Ten years on: Sian O’Callaghan’s tragic death and Halliwell’s confession of the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards 

It is 10 years since Sian O’Callaghan disappeared on her way home from a night out and was murdered by taxi driver Christopher Halliwell. This is a timeline of events:

2011

– March 18: Sian O’Callaghan, 22, goes for a night out with friends in Swindon. She fails to return home and is reported missing the following day by her family.

– March 21: Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, leading the investigation, says he has been trying to establish Miss O’Callaghan’s movements.

– March 22: Christopher Halliwell becomes a ‘Tie’ – a person to Trace, Interview and Eliminate after his car is seen in the area where Miss O’Callaghan disappeared.

– March 24: Halliwell is arrested. An ‘urgent interview’ is carried out by detectives. Halliwell starts journey to Gable Cross police station but is diverted to Barbury Castle where he meets Det Supt Fulcher.

Halliwell shows detectives the location where he hid Miss O’Callaghan’s body and later directs them to Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where years earlier he had buried missing sex worker Becky Godden-Edwards.

– March 26: Officers announce they have found human remains following extensive searches at Eastleach. Mr Fulcher says he had been told they were those of a woman abducted in Swindon between 2003 and 2005.

– March 26: Halliwell is charged with the murder of Miss O’Callaghan.

– April 4: The police knock on the front door of Miss Godden-Edwards’ mother Karen Edwards and tell her they have found the body of her daughter. It would have been Miss Godden-Edwards’ 29th birthday.

– May 23: Halliwell is charged with murder of Miss Godden-Edwards.

2012

– January 30: A week-long abuse of process hearing begins at Bristol Crown Court. Barristers argue Halliwell cannot get a fair trial because of breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) codes and briefings given to the media by Mr Fulcher. The trial judge, Mrs Justice Cox, rules Halliwell’s confessions to the murders of both women are inadmissible because of breaches of Pace.

– October 19: Halliwell pleads guilty to the murder of Miss O’Callaghan during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court. He is jailed for life and told he will serve a minimum of 25 years by Mrs Justice Cox.

2014 

– May 15: Mr Fulcher resigns from the police force after he was found guilty of misconduct for not reading Halliwell his rights when he first confessed to killing Miss Godden-Edwards.

2015

– February 18: Halliwell is arrested on suspicion of the murder of Miss Godden-Edwards. He tells Superintendent Sean Memory he will accept responsibility for Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder provided the police do not ask further questions about other offences he may have committed.

2016

– March 30: Halliwell is charged with Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 5: Halliwell goes on trial at Bristol Crown Court for Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 19: Halliwell is convicted of Miss Godden-Edwards’ murder.

– September 23: Halliwell is sentenced to a whole life order by the judge, and will never be released.

Ms Edwards said she asked funeral director Hillier’s what size urn she would require to store them and gave permission for the ‘sealed box’ to be opened.

She said among the contents were containers with bone fragments and bench debris, small empty bags and a clear tube which contained nothing but blue paper.

But Ms Edwards said the remains returned did not match the list of the box’s contents.

She said a colour-coded diagram of what police found also does not match a photo of what was in the makeshift grave – and a lower leg bone is apparently missing.

Ms Edwards said she wants to know how these discrepancies happened and where the rest of her daughter is.

Ms Edwards had re-buried some of Becky’s remains in 2011 after she had been found in the Eastleach field where Halliwell had buried her in 2003.

Ms Edwards had the headstone removed to bury Becky and her husband Charlie in the same plot and would like to restore it once the rest of her remains are found.

Speaking of what she was told by the funeral director, she said: ‘What I heard was shocking and at that point I felt sick but I knew I had to check for myself because I have lost all faith in Wiltshire Police.’

She added: ‘Becky should be in one grave. There’s bits of her all over the place and we don’t know where she is, it’s disgusting and utterly disgraceful behaviour.

‘This has been a nightmare, it’s one thing after another. My strength and determination has kept me going along with my fantastic family and support network of friends and the public, but I would hate the thought of someone else having to put up with this shocking treatment.

‘I understand there are other things going on and the police are struggling with the resources they have but my daughter needs to be put to rest, I need to finalise this and get closure.

‘I have a lot of respect for the police, many of my friends are in the police, but it’s the hierarchy that’s given me grief.

‘The police assigned someone to look into this back in 2018 after I complained but they didn’t visit the funeral directors until April this year. I think they went around all the laboratories first before going to check what they were actually looking for, putting the cart before the horse.’

Aside from her concerns about the police, Ms Edwards wonders what happened to the head, hands and feet of the 20-year-old which have never been recovered.

Ms Edwards recalls specialists giving evidence during the killer’s trial and wondering whether the removal of Becky’s head and extremities had been caused by human, animal or mechanical action.

She came to the conclusion the removal was too selective to be from animal behaviour and the body would have been damaged if machinery had been to blame.

Ms Edwards added: ‘This leaves only one option – Halliwell. Has he kept these parts as trophies? We know he went back to the site several times.’

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the concerns raised by Karen Edwards in relation to the remains of her daughter Becky Godden-Edwards.

‘We are working in conjunction with the IOPC to investigate these concerns and make sure Ms Edwards is kept up to date.’

Ms Edwards believes Mike Rees who is running as an independent candidate in tomorrow’s re-run of the election to be the county’s next police and crime commissioner can help her.

If he receives enough votes to become the successor to Angus Macpherson, Mr Rees will invite former detective superintendent Steve Fulcher to take on the role of deputy PCC.

Both were heavily involved in the Halliwell investigation but Ms Edwards was unaware of Mr Rees’ role until she met him a few months ago.

She added: ‘I’m a good judge of character and my first impression was he’s a listener, he has integrity and he gets things done. 

Some suspect Christopher Halliwell (pictured) of killing more than the two women he was convicted of murdering

Some suspect Christopher Halliwell (pictured) of killing more than the two women he was convicted of murdering 

‘He’s a very warm, caring and compassionate man with a lot of first-hand experience and knowledge of how the police works.

‘If it had not been for Covid, I would have given him a big hug because when we talked about the case, I learned he was one of the team who found Becky’s remains and he was the one who marked her grave, which helped bring her home. For that, I will be forever grateful.

‘I would like to think that if anyone went to him with a complaint, he would provide the same compassion he gave to Becky, myself and my family.’

Mr Fulcher heard Halliwell confess to Becky’s murder during the Sian O’Callahan investigation but because the senior detective had not properly cautioned the killer before hearing this shocking admission, a judge later ruled that evidence as inadmissible.

This led to the original murder charge against Halliwell in 2012 for Becky’s death to be withdrawn and Mr Fulcher’s career in the police force coming to an end.

Ms Edwards added: ‘Steve has a good record of excellence and is so admired despite the way he was treated by Wiltshire Police. If he accepts the invitation to be deputy, it would be a great thing for the county.

Martin Freeman, 47, plays Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher in the ITV show A Confession

Pictured: Former Wiltshire Police detective Stephen Fulcher

Martin Freeman, 47, played Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher in the ITV show A Confession in 2019

‘Mike Rees has always supported Steve around making a moral choice in an extraordinary situation.’

His four main priorities if elected as the new PCC for Swindon and Wiltshire would be a stronger police presence, wise and responsible spending, supporting communities, and safer streets.

He remembers the moment he met Ms Edwards and the small gesture which provided a lot of solace to the grieving mum during a traumatic time.

Mr Rees added: ‘Until this year I’d not met Karen, which may sound strange. Even though I was directly involved in the recovery of Becky, I managed the scene and with my colleagues made a little cross, laid some flowers and observed a minute’s silence more than ten years ago. It was our quiet tribute.

‘When I met Karen face to face we were able to talk openly about that and she asked me about the flowers and it was emotional for us both.

‘Even now, a decade on I never underestimate the ongoing impact such a loss has on a family, parents and all loved ones.

‘I was, and am, so humbled that Karen has supported me and my campaign team.. As an independent every little effort made by anyone makes such a difference.

‘Regardless of the outcome of this election, Karen and I will be staying in touch. I count her as a friend.’

How Haliwell has been linked to four other unsolved murders 

A witness claimed in 2019 that he saw the murderer drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley. 

Ms Finley, 23, was found strangled with her naked body dumped in a field in Rainford, Lancashire on August 5, 1994. 

The witness now claims that taxi driver Halliwell lived just four miles from the field.

He is urging police to reinvestigate Halliwell, 55, who has been portrayed in ITV drama A Confession.  

The man adds that he is willing to give the police a statement, which could prove to be a breakthrough in Ms Finley’s 25-year unsolved murder.  

Halliwell was given life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. 

The story of her murder and the hunt for her killer is being portrayed in the new ITV drama. 

After being jailed for the first murder, Halliwell was later convicted of the killing of Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been missing since 2007.

Halliwell was given life imprisonment with a whole life order, meaning he will not be eligible for parole.

DS Steve Fulcher, who arrested ­Halliwell in 2011, believes he committed other murders. 

He said: ‘There’s no question, from all the information I gathered when I was running this inquiry in 2011, he committed other murders.’

Now, he has been linked to the killing of Ms Finley, as well as the murders of Carol Clark, Jackie Waines and Yvonne Fitt. 

Halliwell was given life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Sian O'Callaghan in March 2011. The story of her murder and the hunt for her killer is being portrayed in the new ITV drama A Confession, starring Martin Freeman and Joe Absolom

Halliwell was given life in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. The story of her murder and the hunt for her killer is being portrayed in the new ITV drama A Confession, starring Martin Freeman and Joe Absolom

Ms Finley vanished from the centre of Liverpool a day before she was found strangled.   

The witness claims that Halliwell stayed in nearby Aughton, where he worked as a window fitter, from Monday to Friday before returning to his home town of Swindon.

He also added that the killer drove a 1986 D-reg Ford Transit van, which is similar to the one spotted near the scene. 

A woman calling  herself Tina told police soon after Ms Finley’s killing that she was going to see a taxi driver. 

Another witness also claimed that a woman matching Ms Finley’s description had been seen arguing with a man, who was trying to force her into a van. 

A witness has claimed that he saw Halliwell, who is currently serving life in prison for two murders, drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley

A witness has claimed that he saw Halliwell, who is currently serving life in prison for two murders, drive a white van similar to the one spotted at the scene of the unsolved killing of Julie Finley

Yvonne Fitt, a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992

Jackie Waines, 35, was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985

Yvonne Fitt (left) , also a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992. Jackie Waines, 35 (right), was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985

It appears as if Ms Finley’s murder, and those of the other three women, match a pattern to the killings Halliwell was convicted for. 

Former murder detective Peter Kirkham told the Mirror: ‘When you have got the modus operandi and the suggestion he was living in the area at the time, it makes it something the police should firm up.

‘It’s worth Merseyside police having a good look at, and if those things are correct, setting up a cold case investigation.’ 

In all of the unsolved cases, the women had been alone and were probably enticed into a car in a city area before being dumped in a more rural location.

Carol Clark, 32, was picked up from the Bristol red light district in March 1993 before being dumped in a canal at ­Sharpness, Gloucestershire.

It is believed she had either suffered a heavy blow to the neck or been strangled.

Halliwell lived 40 miles away at the time and had a good knowledge of the canals, as he was a narrowboat enthusiast.

The victim’s brother-in-law Terry Townsend said her family had noticed similarities in A Confession between the murders the killer was convicted of.

Jackie Waines, 35, was a mother abducted in Bristol and murdered in 1985. 

Yvonne Fitt, also a mother, was found in a shallow grave outside Otley, West Yorkshire in 1992 and, like Ms Waines and Ms Clark, was snatched from red light districts. 



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