CRIME writer Ian Rankin has hinted the actions of detective Steve Fulcher in interviewing killer Chris Halliwell were of the kind that his most famous character Inspector Rebus would take.
The 53-year-old Scottish author was speaking about his new novel, Saints of the Shadow Bible, on Radio 4’s Front Row programme, when he alluded to the case involving Sian O’Callagahan and Becky Godden-Edwards, overseen by Det Supt Fulcher in March 2011.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission found DSI Fulcher had a case to answer to over breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. He now faces a Wiltshire Police internal conduct hearing over actions he took while interviewing Sian’s killer Halliwell at Barbury Castle and later in Uffington, failing to caution the suspect when he offered him ‘another one’.
Halliwell, 49, of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, was jailed for life for Sian’s murder but a second charge for Becky’s murder was withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.
Responding to a question on Front Row about the ‘old-school’ methods Rebus uses, Rankin revealed he took inspiration from reality.
He said: “Specifically, a true story about a cop in England recently who took a suspect out for a drive, the suspect admitted to murder and said ‘I’ll show you where the body is’. When he got to the site he said ‘do you want another one’.
“This was a second murder the police knew nothing about. They went to the second site but the cop should not have done that, he should’ve followed protocol and everything else so they could not actually charge the guy even though he admitted it.
“I thought ‘that’s what Rebus would do, Rebus would do that’. He would think about getting justice and getting closure first and following the rules later on.”
Becky’s mum Karen Edwards, 52, said she was surprised to hear the author citing her daughter’s case but was pleased it was still in the public eye.
She has been a keen supporter of DSI Fulcher throughout the case and is leading a campaign to change PACE laws around interviewing suspects.
Karen said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard it, it was amazing. I’ve read some of his books and for him to mention Becky’s case on national radio is great.
“Without Steve Fulcher I would still believe my daughter was alive and out there somewhere. He does not deserve what he is going through now.”
Karen’s petition for changing PACE has reached 30,000 signatures and she has spoken to a host of organisations in the town.
To listen to the podcast visit http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/frontrow/frontrow_20131128-1335a.mp3. Anyone with petition packs can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for collect.