Police back at Becky murder site after human bone found
Police in the field at Eastleach yesterday. In the foreground is the memorial to Becky Godden-Edwards, close to the site where her remains were found three years ago
DETECTIVES have unearthed new evidence after painstaking searches of the remote farmer’s field where the body of murder victim Becky Godden-Edwards was found almost exactly three years ago.
Teams of specialist officers were dispatched to the field in Eastleach, near Fairford, Gloucestershire, on Wednesday and made the new discovery, which police described only as a ‘bone’, on Thursday.
Searches continued yesterday and officers began carefully picking their way across the site near to where the tragic blonde’s body was found in early April 2011.
Two teams of specialists have been working in 20-minute shift patterns, with one team of eight turning over the earth before a group of seven pick their way on hands and knees through the churned soil.
The entrance to the field was being manned by a police guard to protect the investigation, and a land surveyor was also in attendance.
The area being searched is in the same location where Becky, who disappeared between the end of 2002 and early 2003, was discovered after police vistied the site as part of their investigations into the murder of Sian O’Callaghan.
While it is not clear at this stage what information has prompted Wiltshire Police to return to the site, they have confirmed that it is linked to the investigation into Becky’s murder.
A Wiltshire Police spokes-man said: “As part of the reinvestigation into Becky Godden-Edwards murder, investigators have been at Becky’s burial site, a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.
“While at this location on April 10, a bone, believed to be human, has been discovered in the vicinity of Becky’s grave. Further identification work will be undertaken regarding this.
“Detective Chief Inspector Sean Memory is the new senior investigating officer.
He has taken over the case in recent months and has undertaken a review.
The investigation remains open and any forensic or investigative opportunities will be thoroughly explored.
“A specialist search team are conducting a search at the site.”
The spokesman said it could be a number of weeks before the new evidence is identified and it was not clear how significant it could be at this stage.
Attention was brought back to the site at the beginning of the week after new information came to light.
Landowner Anthony Kinch said the field is due up for auction next week, and he has been helping officers with their enquiries.
“I had a phone call at the beginning of the week from the police saying that they would be looking at the field again,” he said.
“They are reinvestigating and continuing on the work that they were doing before. The next thing I knew they had search teams out in the field.
“That particular field has a protected monument, so part of it is not open for use. The remaining part of the field we are able to cultivate. The whole field is taken up by an environmental scheme of one option or another.”
Anthony said he was not surprised when he was told the police would be returning to the site following a thorough investigation of the area in 2011.
“It was not a surprise to me that they want to revisit the field, because it is an ongoing investigation,” he said.
“What was surprising was when they said they wanted to investigate a little bit further.”
A police spokesman added: “We continue to appeal to the public to contact us with any information relating to Becky’s disappearance in early 2003. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
“Wiltshire Police continue to offer support to Becky’s family.
“It is our intention to do everything we can to ensure Becky’s family get the closure they deserve by bringing Becky’s killer to justice.”
Anyone with any information should call Wiltshire Police on 101.
KILLER SERVING LIFE
DETECTIVES reopened the Becky Godden-Edwards file after mini-cab driver Chris Halliwell was jailed for life for the murder of Sian O’Callaghan.
The 49-year-old killer was originally charged with Becky’s death but it was withdrawn after a judge ruled there were breaches of police procedure rules by the lead officer, Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher.
Halliwell, of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, was told in October 2012 he would serve a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murder of office worker Sian, 22, after he abducted her from outside an Old Town nightclub on March 18, 2011.
But the second charge was withdrawn following four days of legal arguments at Bristol Crown Court after which a High Court judge ruled DSI Fulcher had breached the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
He had not cautioned Halliwell during an impromptu interview at Barbury Castle and again failed to do so when the father-of-three took him aside near the Uffington White Horse and asked him ‘Do you want another one?’
The decision had left Becky’s devastated family, including her mother Karen Edwards and father John Godden, without justice for their daughter’s murder and after a drawn out court process and disciplinary proceedings against DSI Fulcher, the case appeared to go quiet. But the latest development, with forensic teams searching the field where Becky’s body was found little more than three years ago, suggests officers have continued working behind the scenes and may have now made a breakthrough in the case.
It comes after Detective Chief Inspector Sean Memory took over the handling of the case recently.
The senior officer has a reputation as a cold case specialist and in February was given an Excellence in Investigation Award from The Investigator magazine for Best Cold Case for leading a team of detectives in solving a gunpoint sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl more than ten years after it happened.