A VITAL log-book that disappeared for several years before double killer Christopher Halliwell was jailed has now re-emerged, prompting allegations of a cover-up.

Independent police investigators have confirmed that Wiltshire Police have now located the book, which disappeared in 2011 prior to a standards hearing for the chief officer in the investigation, former Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher.

The Gold Group policy book, which noted key decisions during the investigation, is said to have contained a verbatim record of a press statement issued in March 2011.

In September 2013, an Independent Police Complaints Commission report found Mr Fulcher guilty of gross misconduct. He was accused of breaching police arrest guidelines and unauthorised contact with journalists.

Mr Fulcher claims the policy book was suppressed because it shows his contact with journalists and the press statement had been sanctioned by Wiltshire Police.

The former detective also claims that no further investigations were carried out after he left the force in May 2011 and no further evidence was developed.

“All the evidence presented in Halliwell’s trial in September 2016 was available in the Holmes account in May 2011 [the police computer that logs all information],” said Mr Fulcher.

He claims that subsequent pronouncements by Wiltshire Police to the public via the media regarding a ‘detailed investigation’ were untrue.

Mr Fulcher told the Adver that Wiltshire Police first lost the Gold Policy File then tried to PII it (obtain Public Interest Immunity from a judge).

“Given that the Halliwell case is the most significant in the history of Wiltshire Police, this failure is a significant scandal,” he said.

Mr Fulcher caught taxi driver Halliwell in 2011, who has since been convicted of killing Swindon girls Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden-Edwards.

Following a disciplinary hearing in January 2014 for breaking official guidelines and not cautioning Halliwell immediately, Mr Fulcher was allowed to keep his job but resigned two months later.

Becky’s mum Karen Edwards made an official complaint earlier this year over the way her daughter’s case had been handled by Wiltshire Police. She questioned why it had taken five years for Halliwell to be convicted of Becky’s death when, she says, crucial evidence was already sitting in police stores – including a spade that was used to bury the girl’s body in a Cotswolds field.

The complaint was passed by the IPCC to Wiltshire Police, who confirmed another constabulary would investigate the grievance. Later this year they wrote to Mrs Edwards to say the policy file (logbook) had been recovered but said there was no indication that it had been deliberately concealed.

The IPCC’s original report into Fulcher’s behaviour has since been removed from its website.

Mrs Edwards claims that if Mr Fulcher had not been removed from the murder enquiry he would have without doubt actioned the evidence as it came to light.

She told the Adver this week: “I feel angry. Why couldn’t they find that book before? To me it looks like one big cover-up.”

She says she wants answers about “police inactivity” between Fulcher’s suspension from the case in 2011 and the appointment of Det Supt Sean Memory, who took Becky’s case to trial in 2016.

She also believes Mr Fulcher should have been awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal, the highest honour that can be given to a police officer.

“At least Steve Fulcher can sleep at night knowing that he’s taken a serial killer off the streets,” said Mrs Edwards.

“There are families out here in Swindon who should thank their lucky stars [for Fulcher]. How many more girls could have gone missing [if Halliwell wasn’t jailed]?”

Mr Fulcher has always maintained that a media strategy and interviews with key journalists were sanctioned at the time by superior officers at Wiltshire Police, a claim he also makes in his recently published book about the case, Catching a Serial Killer.

Wiltshire Police said this week of the complaint by Karen Edwards: “This remains a live investigation for Wiltshire Police so we are unable to comment further at this stage.”

A spokeswoman for the IPCC said: “Having carefully considered the material received we determined that there was no requirement for further action by the IPCC, as there was no indication that the information received could have had any potential impact on the previous independent investigation or subsequent proceedings.

“Given the time elapsed since the publication of the report in 2013 and subsequent events including misconduct and criminal proceedings, we have decided that it is no longer necessary or appropriate for the report to continue to be published in full on our website.”

“This decision does not have any bearing on the conclusion of our investigation. A summary of the matters relating to the investigation is available in place of the report.”