THE detective who cracked the Sian O’Callaghan murder investigation has been found guilty of gross misconduct by an independent panel, the Adver understands.
Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who led the investigation into the disappearance and murder of the 22-year-old in March 2011, faced three allegations of gross misconduct over alleged breaches of force policy and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
Last night he was reportedly found guilty of gross misconduct on two of the three charges but the Adver understands his sanction – which could include dismissal from the force – has yet to be decided. A spokesman for Wiltshire Police refused to confirm the verdict of the panel and said the outcome would be revealed today.
The spokesman said: “Wiltshire Police will not be in a position to comment on the Formal Conduct Hearing of Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher until this process concludes.
“We would ask media not to speculate on the outcome of the hearing until this finishes. It is likely it will conclude today.”
Last year, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found DSI Fulcher had a case to answer to over breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act while interviewing Sian’s killer Chris Halliwell at Barbury Castle and later in Uffington.
The detective’s actions led to evidence against Chris Halliwell for the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards being ruled inadmissible by a High Court judge, which was the subject of Becky’s father John Godden’s complaint to the police watchdog.
It was said DSI Fulcher failed to caution the 49-year-old mini-cab driver, of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, when he offered to take him to Sian’s body and to “another one.”
Becky’s body was found in a field in Eastleach shortly after Sian’s was discovered at Uffington, but a judge ruled his confession inadmissible due to breaches of the PACE code.
Halliwell was jailed for life for Sian’s murder but a second charge for Becky’s murder was withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.
The IPCC’s investigation also found DSI Fulcher had two counts of gross misconduct to answer to for going against the force’s media policy and guidance in a press conference and in talking to journalists from ITV and the BBC when instructed not to do so.
The panel, made up of a chief constable and chief superintendent from other forces and an independent member of the public, was tasked with deciding whether DSI Fulcher committed gross misconduct in relation to the case. The panel was directed to be heard in private by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and Wiltshire Police advised the media to stay away.