Chilling find in heart of the woods
5:30am Thursday 22nd May 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
A HUGE quantity of female clothing has been pulled from the soil just yards from the Ramsbury pond where police discovered a shotgun and the boots of murdered Sian O’Callaghan last week.
More than 60 pieces of clothing, from various outfits, had been intentionally buried 100 metres from the pond where the grim discoveries were made.
The pond is currently being drained by teams of officers who will painstakingly sift through soil and silt to ensure nothing is left behind in the murky waters.
The clothes were found after a single item, a blue ladies jumper, was located buried next to the pond itself on Tuesday.
During searches of nearby woods officers spied a piece of cloth protruding from the soil, and had soon collected a mass of material.
Since Det Chief Inspector Sean Memory took over the murder case of Becky Godden-Edwards there has been a flurry of activity, including a bone fragment at the field in Eastleach where her body was found.
Until forensic examinations are concluded DCI Memory said he is keeping an open mind about the significance of these latest finds, but ruled out the possibility of them being connected to Sian O’Callaghan.
“The clothing Sian was wearing on the day she went missing has more or less all been recovered, so I am satisfied this clothing does not relate to Sian,” he said.
“Close to the pond there is a wooded area where search teams have uncovered partially buried female clothing. I am open-minded as to why someone would have buried these clothes, and a great many inquiries will now have to take place. There are more than 60 individual pieces, but some have rotted away. We are certainly looking at multiple items of clothing.
“They are all items of female clothing, including skirts and tops. We are looking at various outfits. It could well be that they all belong to one person.”
Two burial spots, inches apart, have now been cordoned off by police while the items have been sent away for forensic tests.
“The clothes were buried a few inches beneath the surface, and one was marginally exposed which is why we were able to find it,” said DCI Memory. “We do not yet know the significance of this, but someone has clearly made some effort to hide it.
“There could be a perfectly innocent explanation, but it seems a relatively strange location to be bringing clothes and burying them.
“The owner of the land has said he has never seen or heard of any fly-tipping in the area, but that could be a possibility.”
Drainage of the pond will continue over the coming days as a number of personal items belonging to Sian remain unaccounted for.
The pump can extract 4,000 litres at a time, and in two and a half hours 25,000 litres had been removed from the pond. The operation is expected to last for days as teams sift through the muck by hand for any crucial clues.
“The pond is about six to eight feet deep in the centre so it will be a couple of days more work for sure,” added DCI Memory.
“There is a foot of silt at the bottom of the pond to take out before we are done. It will be a painstaking task of searching all of it by hand, and it will all be filtered.
“We are still missing quite a lot of items for Sian and some personal effects. We are also missing the murder weapon Sian was killed with. We are looking for anything that is relating to Sian or any other crimes we may be investigating.”
DCI Memory would not specify what other active investigations the find could relate to except the ongoing case of Becky Godden-Edwards.
“The recent finds have been very encouraging from my point of view, because it is giving peace of mind to Sian’s family that they know what might have happened in the final moments of her life,” he said.
“It is unusual to find clothes buried in such an isolated location, and we need to identify the owners of that property.
“We would ask anyone who has frequented the area or may have seen anything suspicious to contact us to assist with our lines of enquiry.”
- THE FAMILY of Becky Godden-Edwards are watching the news now police have found yet more potential evidence at Ramsbury very closely.
Both Becky’s mum Karen Edwards and her father John Godden were surprised to learn of the latest twist in the tale as police investigating their daughter’s murder, thought to be around the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, continued to search a remote pond.
Their hope for justice for the then 21-year-old’s killing could be bolstered by the news, although police have not linked the findings to the investigation into Becky’s death and have said they are keeping an open mind.
Mini-cab driver Chris Halliwell was originally charged with Becky’s murder but it was withdrawn after the senior investigating officer breached police procedural rules in questioning the 50-year-old, of Nythe.
Reacting to the news yesterday, Karen, 52, said: “It’s news to me – how intriguing.
I hope to meet with the police so we can find out what it means.”
Anyone with any information relating to the inquiry should contact 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.