Published: October 07, 2019
Tonight (October 7) marks the final episode of ITV's A Confession, a drama based on the real-life police investigation into the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O'Callaghan in 2011, and subsequently Becky Godden-Edwards (also known as Rebecca Godden), who was 20 when she was reported missing in 2007.
Former Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher took charge of the case and his team's findings led them to taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, who murdered both women and is currently serving a double life sentence.
Steve is no longer working for Wiltshire police, having left the force back in 2014, but his decision to hand in his notice wasn't one he made lightly.
During the investigation, a complaint was made against him by Becky's father John, which resulted in a disciplinary hearing. Steve was found guilty of gross misconduct for breaching Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), which protects the rights of individuals during questioning and detention.
He was also reprimanded for speaking to a journalist about details surrounding Halliwell.
Throughout the investigation, Steve believed that Sian was alive, so when Halliwell was arrested, rather than taking him to the police station, he was driven to a remote location, along with Steve, in order for the detective to find out where she was.
Steve knew that not reading the suspect his rights and denying him a lawyer was in breach of the rules, but he believed that preserving the victim's life outweighed that. Halliwell eventually admitted that he had killed Sian, directing the police to where he had buried her body. He then asked Steve if he wanted "to go for another", which was, unknown to Steve at the time, a reference to Becky.
According to the police code, Steve should then have cautioned Halliwell and taken him back to the police station, where he could have spoken to a lawyer. He knew that Sian was dead, which meant that his argument regarding preservation of life was no longer relevant.
Instead he allowed the killer to lead him to the area where Becky's body was buried.
Matt Cardy Getty Images
Despite Halliwell being jailed for Sian's murder in 2012, his evidence concerning Becky was inadmissible in court because of the way Steve obtained it. That was the source of Becky's father's complaint. Steve has always argued that had he taken Halliwell into custody, Becky's body would never have been uncovered.
During the trial, Halliwell also accused the detective of threatening his family during questioning.
The taxi driver wasn't finally convicted of the murder of Becky till 2016 when new evidence arose.
In an interview with Bradford Zone earlier this year, Steve said that following his time in the police he went to work in Libya as part of a "development programme for the Libyan police force". Since 2015, he has "been on contract in Somalia as the adviser to the federal government".
Back in June 2017, Steve was interviewed for The Guardian in a piece titled 'How I caught a serial killer – and lost my career in the police'.
He went into more detail about his current role, which involves delivering aid from the Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DFID) programmes outside the heavily-guarded green zone.
He also revealed that finding work was difficult following his time in the police.
"I had people phoning me to offer me a job and when they do due diligence, which only consists of Googling me at the end of the day, not unreasonably they say: 'Look, I'm sorry, but we're not going to take this on. Why would we?'" he said.
Steve has appeared on the likes of Channel 4 and BBC Radio 4, among others, to talk about the case and his experience. He has also written a book, 'Catching a Serial Killer', and featured in the 2018 documentary To Catch a Serial Killer with Trevor McDonald on ITV.
Much of Steve's discourse following the events of the investigation focuses on both the need to review PACE and his belief that there were other victims.
"It is very unlikely that having killed Becky in 2003 and Sian in 2011 he committed no other offences in those eight years," he told Bradford Zone. "We interviewed over 100 prostitutes working in the Swindon area and found several of them to have had near misses with Halliwell taking them to Savernake Forest."
In his interview with The Guardian, he said, "If I'm right, he had a propensity for killing on average once a year... You're seriously telling me there's nothing in between or either side [the murders of Becky and Sian]? It doesn't even sound true."
It was reported in 2014 that police later found more than 60 items of women's clothing hidden in a forested area near Marlborough. One of those items was a pair of boots belonging to Sian, and another a cardigan that belonged to Becky.
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