Becky Godden was 20 years old when she was murdered by Christopher Halliwell

Becky Godden, 20 years of age at the time she was killed by Christopher Halliwell

After admitting that they had missed “significant opportunities” to capture Christopher Halliwell, the Wiltshire Police offered an apology to Becky Godden’s loved ones. 

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), found that the investigation by Wiltshire Police into Becky Godden’s 2003 murder was ‘poorly progressed’ and supervised. Additional reasonable lines of inquiry weren’t pursued, and important evidence wasn’t examined.

Halliwell strangled Ms Godden and then buried her in an Eastleach field, Gloucestershire. 

Her murder was only discovered in 2011, when Halliwell, her personal assistant Sian O’Callaghan (22), disappeared.

While he was incarcerated for O’Callaghan’s killing in 2012, the judge had determined that confessions to Ms Godden’s crime were not admissible. Halliwell wasn’t brought before a new judge in September 2016.

According to the watchdog, there were many lines of inquiry that Wiltshire Police did not follow. This included soil discovered on Halliwell’s spade in 2011, but not examined forensically until 2014. The soil was similar to soil located where Ms Godden was.

The force also discovered evidence that Halliwell visited their clinic in January 2003, with serious scratches and hand damage. He claimed that he was assaulted in a taxi by a passenger.

The IOPC stated Detective Inspector Matt Davey as the senior investigation officer was inexperienced, and added that Ms Godden’s murder was his first inquiry into murder. 

Haliwell was finally jailed for the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards in 2016, having been found guilty of killing Sian O'Callaghan in 2012

After being found guilty in 2012 of the killing of Sian O’Callaghan, Haliwell was eventually sentenced to prison for murdering Becky Godden Edwards.

Wiltshire Police published its inquiry into the Becky Godden Edwards murder investigation and concluded that there were several opportunities the force missed. In a Tweet the force said it had apologised to her parents

Wiltshire Police has published the results of its investigation into Becky Godden Edwards’ murder investigation. The force also tweeted that it had apologized to Becky Godden Edwards’ parents

Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard (pictured) has apologised to Ms Godden's family following the criticism from the IOPC. He said he was 'very sorry for the impact that failures in this case have had on Becky's family'

After the IOPC’s criticism, Police Chief Constable Kier Preitchard (pictured), has apologized to the Godden family. After the IOPC’s criticism, he said that he regretted any harm done to Becky by his failures.

Watchdog found that neither Mike Veale, the then-deputy chief constabulary chief constable, nor Mr Davey have a case and found the former not to be responsible for oversight of the murder investigation.

After the IOPC’s criticism, the Police Chief Constable Kier Preitchard apologized today to Ms Godden. 

The force issued a statement saying that he accepted all findings and recommendations in the report. Becky’s family members have also been able to offer their condolences.

“This was a time for reflection and deep personal growth for me. It was difficult to understand the circumstances surrounding the oversight of Becky’s murder investigation. This confusion has been highlighted in the IOPC investigation. 

“This occurred partly due to major crime collaboration still being in its infant stages. I really regret that.

Pritchard claimed that the case of murder was complex and had unique circumstances.

Becky Godden, pictured, was murdered in Swindon in 2003 by cab driver Christopher Halliwell. Today  Wiltshire Police have apologised to her family after admitting the force's investigation missed opportunities

Ms Godden's murder only came to light in 2011 when Halliwell was arrested over the disappearance of personal assistant Sian O'Callaghan, 22. Halliwell strangled Ms Godden in January 2003 and buried her body in a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire

Becky Godden was killed in Swindon by Christopher Halliwell in 2003. Halliwell, a taxi driver who was driving in Swindon at the time of Ms Godden’s death, was later arrested for her disappearance.

He said, “We tried to do justice to Becky’s family. This was in addition to the shocking and tragic loss of their daughter.

“But all of that said, Becky and her family have rightly sought justice. I can understand their grief and despair. 

“While justice was done, Becky’s family is deeply sorry that it was delayed.

“It is my personal regret that the opportunities missed during this investigation were not taken into consideration and I accept full responsibility.”

After stating his acceptance of the IOPC recommendations, Mr Pritchard said that he regretted the repercussions on Becky’s loved ones. 

Catrin Evans, regional director of IOPC said that the organization’s sympathies were with Becky Godden’s family for their terrible loss. Ms. Edwards, her mother has been patiently waiting for the result of her lengthy and complicated investigation into her grievance that Halliwell had not been brought to justice for her daughter’s murder sooner.

After the dismissal of the first murder charge against Becky in February 2012, our investigation discovered serious shortcomings in the manner the force conducted the murder investigation. The issues we found stemmed, in our opinion, from both systemic and personal weaknesses at the force.

“Our investigation showed that Wiltshire Police did not take responsibility for the progress of the murder inquiry.

“We have been communicating with Wiltshire Police. They have cooperated fully during the investigation. A number of their recommendations have been implemented to prevent the same mistakes that were made in the investigation into the direction and accountability for the murder.

Karen and Charlie Edwards, mother and father of Rebecca Godden, pictured outside Bristol Crown Court in 2016 after Halliwell was found guilty of the murder of their daughter. Wiltshire Police have now apologised to the couple for their 'failings' in handling the case

Pictured outside Bristol Crown Court, after Halliwell’s murder trial, are Karen Edwards and Charlie Edwards. Wiltshire Police now has an apology for the failures of Wiltshire Police in dealing with the case.

“The fog of confusion about who was the commander at that time caused by force allowed for confusion.

The murder investigation was stalled due to insufficient reviews. There were also obvious avenues of inquiry that might have led to Halliwell being convicted.

“It was only when DCI Memory assumed the murder investigation, under supervision from 2014 by then-assistant Chief Constable Pritchard that any earlier missed evidence opportunities were taken into consideration, which culminated in Halliwell being finally brought to justice.   

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said today: ‘We have formally apologised to the parents of Becky Godden-Edwards (also known as Rebecca Godden) further to the findings of an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation, that found the Force missed opportunities to bring about the earlier conviction of Christopher Halliwell for Becky’s murder.

Despite being convicted in Becky’s murder, the IOPC investigation was initiated by Becky’s mother. It found deficiencies in the management and conduct of the investigation. It took Halliwell four years to be convicted. However, the IOPC found that most of the evidence had been available for the investigators in 2012.

Halliwell was finally snared in 2016 after forensic experts were able to link the soil found on a shovel in his shed to the field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire

After forensic specialists were able link soil from a shovel found in Halliwell’s shed with the field in Eastleach in Gloucestershire, Halliwell was eventually caught.

Tributes left at the scene near Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where Ms Godden's body was found. An IOPC review today found the murder investigation was 'poorly supervised'

There were many tributes to Ms Godden at the site near Eastleach in Gloucestershire where her body was discovered. Today’s IOPC Review found that the investigation into Ms. Godden’s murder was ‘poorly supervised.

“We are sorry that Becky’s family was subject to such unnecessary delays during the investigation. This has only compounded their terrible loss and pain as a result of the death of their daughter.

‘The complaint allegations made, were directly attributed to three members of Wiltshire Police – two former employees and Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, when he was more junior in rank.

“We are fully accepting the results and recommendations from the IOPC managed inquiry, which was carried out by an external force.” 

Becky Godden’s death: How Christopher Halliwell was charged with her murder 


February 3, 2009Becky Godden is a 20 year-old sex worker. She was last seen early in the morning getting into a taxi outside Desire and Destiny nightclub, Swindon.


March 18, 2008Sian O’Callaghan (22 years old) is an office worker who goes out for dinner with her friends in Swindon. The next day, her family reported that she was not home.

23 MarchSteve Fulcher is the Detective Superintendent and is currently leading this investigation.

February 22nd, Christopher Halliwell transforms into a “Tie” – an individual to Trace/Interview and Eliminate. His car is found in the same area as Miss O’Callaghan’s disappearance.

March 24, 2009 Halliwell gets arrested. Detectives conduct an ‘urgent interview. Halliwell sets out for Gable Cross but is diverted towards Barbury Castle, where he meets Mr Fulcher.

Halliwell shows the detectives where Miss O’Callaghan’s corpse was hidden and then directs them to Eastleach in Gloucestershire where Miss Godden had been buried years before.

April 26After extensive search at Eastleach, officers announced that they had found human remains. Fulcher said he believed they belonged to an abducted woman from Swindon in 2003 or 2005.

April 26Halliwell was charged in the killing of Miss O’Callaghan.

April 4, 2009Karen Edwards is the victim of Miss Godden being murdered by her husband. This would have been Miss Godden’s 29th Birthday.

Stepfather Charlie Edwards (left) carries the coffin of Becky Godden-Edwards into Christ Church, Old Town, Swindon, for her funeral service in 2011

Charlie Edwards, Becky’s stepfather, carries Becky Godden Edwards’ coffin into Christ Church Old Town in Swindon for Becky Godden Edwards’ funeral service.

May 23, 2009 Halliwell was charged in the killing of Miss Godden.

June 4:In the end, Mr Fulcher is removed as the senior investigating officer (SIO). He later faces misconduct charges for the manner Halliwell’s confession was obtained.

This case has been without an SIO since more than one year.


February 30th:At Bristol Crown Court, a weeklong hearing on abuse of process begins. According to Barristers, Halliwell is not entitled to a fair trial for violating the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes and briefings provided by Mr Fulcher to the media,

Mrs Justice Cox is the trial judge and rules that Halliwell’s confessions about both murders are not admissible due to breaches of Pace.

October 19, 2009 Halliwell pleads guilty during the hearing at Bristol Crown Court to the murder of Miss O’Callaghan. Mr. Halliwell is sentenced to life imprisonment and Mrs Justice Cox tells him that he will be serving a minimum 25-year term.


February 18, 2008Halliwell, who is suspected of murdering Miss Godden, is being held. Superintendent Sean Memory asks him to accept the responsibility of Miss Godden’s death, provided that he does not answer any additional questions concerning other offenses he may be guilty.


March 30Halliwell has been charged with the murder of Miss Godden.

September 5, 2009 Halliwell will be tried at Bristol Crown Court as Miss Godden’s killer.

September 19, 2009 Halliwell is found guilty of the murder of Miss Godden.

September 23, 2009Halliwell was sentenced by the judge to an entire life order and will not be released.


September 2, 2009Independent Office for Police Complaints releases a report concluding that Halliwell was able to be prosecuted in 2011 for murder of Miss Godden.

The report shows that Wiltshire Police failed to follow up on some leads over many years.

Wiltshire Police offers Miss Godden’s loved ones a formal apology.