Sian cop is given readers’ backing
11:20am Saturday 14th September 2013 in Latest News
THE people of Swindon have thrown their backing behind the under-fire detective who led the Sian O’Callaghan investigation as his job hangs in the balance.
Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher is to face a conduct hearing by a panel of senior officers from other forces outside Wiltshire Police to decide what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken against him.
More than 900 people voted in the Adver’s online poll and 813, or 88 per cent, voted that Det Supt Fulcher did the right thing by persuading Chris Halliwell to take him to the location of Sian’s body and also of Becky Godden-Edwards.
Her mum Karen Edwards, who is campaigning to change PACE in light of the case, said she hoped the detective is allowed to keep his job and was delighted the Swindon public backed him.
The 52-year-old said: “I’ve written a letter to the chief constable about this and I hope they do not sack him. The results of the poll are amazing news, I’m so pleased.”
It comes after a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission released on Monday found that Det Supt Fulcher had two cases to answer for gross misconduct relating to his actions during Operation Mayan in early 2011.
His actions while questioning Chris Halliwell, who was jailed for life for murdering Sian, led to vital evidence being ruled inadmissible and the charge against the mini-cab driver for murdering Becky Godden-Edwards being withdrawn.
Wiltshire Police had 15 days in which to respond to recommendations that he should face a conduct hearing but within days they confirmed a panel of senior officers from external forces is being brought together to ensure a fair process.
Det Supt Fulcher took charge of the investigation after Sian, 22, disappeared after leaving Suju on March 19, 2011 and by March 24 he had identified Halliwell and arrested the 48-year-old.
But the officer then decided to divert Halliwell to Barbury Castle, where he questioned him without cautioning him and was then taken to Sian’s body and later that of Becky.
The IPCC report found he had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act by not cautioning Halliwell and not taking him straight to a police station to give him access to a lawyer.
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