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Saturday, 24 September 2016
Taxi driver Christopher Halliwell will die behind bars for second murder
Akiller taxi driver who murdered two young women made his victim's family's pain worse by not confessing to her death despite showing police where he had buried her body.
Christopher Halliwell, 52, is already serving a life sentence for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan, 22, who he abducted in his taxi as she made her way home from a night out in Swindon in March 2011.
He has been told he will now die in prison as police reveal there might be more victims after the killer confessed to a fellow inmate about murdering a girl and asking his how many people he needed to kill to become a serial killer.
Halliwell confessed to killing Miss O'Callaghan and took police to her body before offering "another one" and leading them to where he hadburied missing prostitute Becky Godden in January 2003.
The killer then later denied murdering Miss Godden but was convicted following a two-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, at which he represented himself.
He smirked at Miss Godden's family as the jury of six men and six women returned their verdict on Monday following less than three hours of deliberations.
Retired High Court judge Sir John Griffith Williams sentenced Halliwell to a whole life order on Friday and told him he will die in prison.
Passing sentence, the judge described Halliwell's account of Miss Godden being buried in the field by two drug dealers as a "cock and bull story".
He added: "Your account of the circumstances in which she met her death bears all the hallmarks of a contrived explanation designed to avoid conviction in the hope that the minimum term you are presently serving will not be increased.
"But the account in which you advanced so glibly with little or no regard to the truth made no sense at all.
"I have had the opportunity of observing you throughout the trial and listening to your evidence. I have no doubt that you are a self-centred and domineering individual who wants his own way. You are both calculating and devious."
Becky's mother Karen Edwards said she spent years searching for her daughter until police told her the devastating news on what would have been her daughter's 29th birthday.
"That feeling of total devastation, disbelief, loss, pain, the flash of sudden panic that hits me in the stomach and just repulses me. It has changed my world. The world as I knew it has been totally destroyed and will never be the same, complete, ever again," she said.
"I will never be able to give her a hug ever again and make things right for her, or take her shopping, brush her hair, have a moan at her for not keeping her room tidy or taking my make-up.
"No waiting up half the night for a phone call to pick her and her mates up after a night out.
"The little things we all take for granted every day. I go to the supermarket and see her favourite biscuits and sweets and I go to put them in the trolley for a split-second, then I remember she is not here.
"She is dead. That sends a wave of panic and pain in my chest, just like a knife through my heart.
"The only thing I can buy her is flowers for her grave.
"Since Becky was found, my future has become very different. Tell me, how can anyone get over such an enormous ordeal and loss? Just pictures and memories, a broken heart and a grave. That is all I have left of my beautiful daughter."
Detective Superintendent Sean Memory, who led the investigation, said: "I am very, very clear there must be other victims out there, whether they are sexual offences or other women that he has taken.
"The offending behaviour for killing Becky - it was cold, it was calculating, as the judge said.
"I can't believe that was his first offence, from being a burglar in the 1980s to a murderer in 2003. There was a significant gap in his offending behaviour.
"On top of that, Sian wasn't murdered until 2011 so what happened in the interim eight years?
"He talked candidly in 1985 about wanting to be a serial killer and I genuinely believe that's a distinct possibility.
"I will now seek to review outstanding cases, I will appeal to Christopher Halliwell again to tell the truth for once in your life and come and speak to me."
A three-week hearing was scheduled to take place next month after High Court judges ruled the first inquest in October 2014 was "irregular" after it lasted just seven minutes and called no evidence.
However the hearing in Kendal, Cumbria, is on hold as the CPS again looks at the circumstances of the toddler's death at her home in Barrow-in-Furness in December 2012.
A judge in the family courts earlier this year ruled that Poppi's father, Paul Worthington, 48, probably sexually assaulted Poppi before her sudden death. Mr Worthington denies any wrongdoing.
Mr Worthington was originally arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013 but no action was taken against him.
The CPS reviewed that decision in the wake of the family court judgment but in July it concluded there was there again insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
On Friday, David Roberts, HM senior coroner for Cumbria, announced the suspension of the scheduled inquest on October 10.
He said he was advised on September 20 that the CPS was to carry out a fresh review of the evidence, and a day later was asked to stop his own investigation.
There was an acknowledgement that there are families who share similar histories and presentations as [Poppi] - multiple births, children’s social care involvement with several generations of the same family - and that this is normalised in some communities and amongst some professionalsSerious Case Review report
He said such a suspension was mandatory when a prosecuting authority requests it "on the ground that a person may be charged with a homicide offence involving the death of the deceased...".
Adjourning the hearing to a date to be fixed, Mr Roberts said his inquiries would be suspended until November 30 "having been advised that the review should be completed in about 56 days".
Poppi was rushed to hospital after she collapsed at home on December 12 2012.
A post-mortem examination found she had a fracture to her right leg and suspected acute injuries to her anus.
Her death had been shrouded in secrecy, with a 2014 fact-finding civil court judgment by Mr Justice Peter Jackson being kept private so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings.
Cumbria Police conducted no real investigation for nine months as senior detectives thought a pathologist who examined Poppi's body "may have jumped to conclusions" that the girl had been abused, concluded Mr Justice Jackson.
A list of basic errors in evidence-gathering by detectives was also highlighted, which Cumbria Police later apologised for.
In January this year during care proceedings in relation to other children in the family, the full damning judgment was finally made public, prompting heavy criticism of Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council and calls for a public inquiry.
The judge concluded that Mr Worthington had, on the balance of probabilities, abused his daughter shortly before her death.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission report into Cumbria Police's handling of the investigation is still to be published.
At a preliminary hearing in July for the fresh inquest, lawyers for Mr Worthington argued he should be allowed to give evidence via videolink because of death threats he had received.
Leslie Thomas QC, representing Mr Worthington, said the evidence relied upon by Mr Justice Jackson in finding a sexual assault took place by his client would be "hotly and robustly challenged".
A CPS spokesman said: “On 19 September the CPS Appeals and Review Unit received a request under the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme in relation to the death of Poppi Worthington.
"The case material will be considered and the review will be completed as soon as possible.”
A convicted killer has been found guilty of murdering Becky Godden, whose body was found in a shallow grave in 2011.
Christopher Halliwell, a taxi driver from Swindon, killed the 20-year-old at some point between 2003 and 2005.
The 52-year-old laughed and smiled as the verdict was returned by the jury, and he will be sentenced on Friday.
Judge Sir John Griffith Williams said he was considering either a whole life order or a "significant" minimum jail term for Halliwell.
Miss Godden's mother, Karen Edwards, broke down outside Bristol Crown Court after the verdict was delivered, and said: "It has been a painful journey but today we have received the justice that has felt like an eternity coming for our beautiful little girl Becky.
"My message to any family out there who have waited so long for justice, as we have, is to never give up hope."
Miss Godden had turned to sex work to fund a drug habit and police believe Halliwell was a client who had become possessive.
She was reported missing in 2007 but was last seen alive in January 2003.
Halliwell is already serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan, who went missing in March 2011 after being seen on CCTV leaving a nightclub in Swindon and getting into Halliwell's taxi.
Days later, Halliwell was arrested on suspicion of kidnap and he led officers to a field in Uffington, Oxfordshire, where he had dumped the 22-year-old's body.
He then took the detective leading the case, Steve Fulcher, to a field in Eastleach where he said he had buried Miss Godden's naked body years before.
At the time, Halliwell had initially confessed to strangling Miss Godden, but the confession was ruled as inadmissible in court in 2012 because Mr Fulcher broke arrest guidelines and refused Halliwell's requests for a solicitor.
In a statement after the verdict, the detective defended his actions, saying: "Halliwell is an evil and depraved violator of women. I caught a serial killer, preventing any further girls being murdered."
Mr Fulcher resigned from Wiltshire Police in 2014, months after being given a final written warning for gross misconduct.
The trial of Halliwell for the murder of Miss Godden, which has lasted two weeks, saw the killer represent himself in court.
He claimed he had never met Miss Godden and that two drug dealers were responsible for burying her body.
He said he drove two men, who he refused to identify, to Oxo Bottom field after they told him "something went wrong".
Months later, he claimed they told him they had buried a prostitute from Swindon.
In summing up the case, the judge described Halliwell as a "liar whose word should be taken in some instances with a pinch of salt".
A friend of Miss Godden's, Rebecca Boast, said she last saw her getting into a taxi outside Destiny and Desire nightclub in Swindon in January 2003.
Halliwell called the RAC after running out of fuel in the early hours of 3 January 2003 near Highworth, close to Eastleach.
Later that day, he visited his GP with a broken finger and scratches to his face.
Soil samples found on a shovel in Halliwell's garden shed also matched those taken from the grave site where Miss Godden's remains were found.
Miss Godden's father, John Godden, told Sky News he wants his daughter to be remembered as the "wonderful, caring human being she was".