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Day by day: How the Sian O'Callaghan investigation unfolded
5:40pm Friday 19th October 2012 in News
We look at the events, people and places that let to a butal killer's murder
Friday, March 18, 2011
Sian O’Callaghan goes for a night out with girl friends in the Old Town area, while boyfriend Kevin Reape returns home after and day out in Cheltenham.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The night of Sian’s disappearance.
1.10am: Christopher Halliwell picks up his last recorded fare while on the clock for private hire firm Five Star Taxis. Later, at 1.51am he indicates he will be going home within 30 minutes and at 2.13am his GPS-tracked handset is turned off, but he did not go home.
2.34am: Halliwell’s car is seen on CCTV outside the Goddard Arms and making a number of slow passes along High Street, past Suju.
2.53am: Miss O’Callaghan is caught on CCTV leaving the Suju club on the High Street. Just a few minutes later, at 2.57am, She is seen on CCTV walking past the Goddard Arms and towards Halliwell’s cab, which police believe she entered of her own volition and asked to be taken home.
3.24am: Kevin Reape sends a text message to Sian’s mobile phone. Cell site analysis reveals her phone was in the Savernake Forest area, near Marlborough, when the message was received; 5.35am: Kevin persistently tries to reach Sian on her phone but gets no response.
9.49am: Kevin contacts police and reports his girlfriend missing. 11.30am: Halliwell wakes up and tells his partner he is going to visit the taxi office but at 12.18pm is seen on Automatic Number Plate Recognition travelling along the A346 to Marlborough before returning to Swindon at 12.47pm.
6.51pm: Halliwell sends a message to taxi control to say he will start work at around 10pm, before switching his handset off again. ANPR then captures him travelling to Marlborough and towards Oxford on the A420 in the three hours until he turns on his GPS device at 9.49pm to start work in Covingham.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Early hours: Halliwell’s taxi handset is activated in the cul-de-sac where Sian lived. No details of her address had yet been released to the press yet Halliwell seemed to know Sian’s personal details. 4.08am: Halliwell signs off from work saying ‘night night I’m knackered going home’ [sic], but ANPR again captures his vehicle on the A346 to Marlborough at 4.18am and back again at 4.48am. Later the same day police issue a public appeal for information and release a description of the 22-year-old. Detectives say the office administrator’s disappearance is out of character and that her family are “extremely worried”, while they also reveal they had been searching the 4,500-acre Savernake Forest.
Monday, March 21, 2011
2.22am: Halliwell signs off from work but is again seen travelling to Marlborough at 2.46am. Rather than returning the same way, he is captured by ANPR on the A420 heading back towards Swindon. Police believe this was when he moved Sian’s body to a field near Uffington.
10am: Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, leading the investigation, tells the media he is trying to establish Sian’s movements between 3.15am and 4am on Saturday in the Savernake area.
3pm: Kevin Reape and Sian’s family make a tearful appeal at a police press conference for information to find her. Kevin said: “We all want to know where Sian is and we want her home safe and well.” Police rule out Mr Reape as a suspect in the inquiry. Detectives also release CCTV of Sian leaving the club on Saturday morning.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Thousands of people, including friends of Sian and Kevin, join the search of Savernake Forest after police appeal for help in combing the dense woodland. An anonymous benefactor offers a £20,000 reward for information.
3pm: Halliwell is placed under police surveillance, who note him cleaning the rear passenger seat of his car and later see him walking to the police point set up outside Suju to collect a missing persons appeal poster and display it in his cab.
10am: Halliwell is seen at the car wash in Hobley Drive, where officer later finds he has deposited a car seat cover and head rest covers into a wheelie bin. Forensic officers identify blood staining on the back seat cover and it is matched to Sian’s DNA.
9pm: Halliwell goes into the office of Five Star Taxis to collect his wages and remarks to a colleague “who knows what or who you find buried out there, there could be loads of people over the years”
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
02.11am: Surveillance officers see Halliwell’s car being driven towards Wanborough from Covingham. The officers later find a fire in the road at Pack Hill. The charred remains are similar in appearance to the material in the car seat covers, some of which were missing.
Morning: Using mobile phone technology, police are able to narrow the search of the forest, having identified ‘hot spots’ of particular interest. The public are asked not to join the day’s searches. DS Fulcher says the inquiry is moving at a “rapid pace” with “significant lines of inquiry being developed”.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
11.05am: Halliwell is arrested, initially on suspicion of kidnap, outside Asda Walmart, while his house in Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, is cordoned off. Police later confirm they have found two bodies – one of which they believe to be Sian O’Callaghan.
11.51am: After detectives conduct an urgent interview with the mini-cab driver, Fulcher, against the advice of his deputy, diverts Halliwell’s arresting officers to Barbury Castle rather than Gablecross so he can personally conduct a further urgent interview.
12.11pm: Halliwell arrives at Barbury Castle, where police search teams are already in place, and Fulcher makes a last ditch appeal to the mini-cab driver to tell him where Sian is hidden. The exchange last nine minutes and Halliwell agrees to take Fulcher to Sian’s body.
1.21pm: After taking police to the area where Sian has been buried, Halliwell indicates to Fulcher he wants to talk and asks if the officers “wants another one”.
1.53pm: Following a further exchange on a hill in Uffington over a cigarette, Halliwell agrees to take Fulcher to the site of a second body and they set off for Eastleach in Gloucestershire.
2.43pm: Having identified to the detective the field where the body of a woman he had killed some time in 2003 or 2004, Halliwell is taken to the police station where, Fulcher tells him, he will have his rights explained to him. Later that evening the 47-year-old is revealed at a press conference at Gablecross to have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and two murders.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Police confirm they are search for the body of another person who went missing several years ago at Eastleach in Gloucestershire.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thousands of people pack into the Polo Ground, off Marlborough Road, to pay tribute to Sian. A two-minute silence is followed by a round of applause, then children release balloons and thousands of lanterns are set off, lighting up the night sky in memory of the 22-year-old.
Police are granted until the early hours of Monday to question the man being held in connection with the murder, while officers find a second body in a farmer’s field.
9.20pm: Christopher Halliwell, 47, of Ashbury Avenue, is charged with the murder of Sian O’Callaghan.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Halliwell is remanded in custody by Swindon magistrates, following angry scenes outside court. Sian’s father Mick says the family’s pain at hearing of her death is “raw and overwhelming”.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Halliwell is remanded in custody to appear via video link at Bristol Crown Court on 8 April. No application for bail is made.
Friday, April 1, 2011
An inquest into Sian’s death is opened and adjourned at Oxford Coroner’s Court. The hearing is told she is likely to have died of head injuries. Hundreds of people march through Swindon in her memory.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Police say they have identified a woman whose remains were found near Eastleach in Gloucestershire.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Police name the woman whose remains were found near Eastleach as Becky Godden-Edwards, from Swindon, who had been missing for eight years.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Karen Edwards, Becky’s mother, is joined by 20 friends and family to lay flowers at the site where her body was discovered.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Halliwell appears via video link at Bristol Crown Court from Long Lartin prison. The case is adjourned until July 14 for a plea and case management hearing.
Monday, April 11, 2011
A week after what would have been her 29th birthday, Becky’s friends organised a memorial where 200 balloons will be released adorned with pictures of her. Monday, April 18, 2011 Hundreds line the streets to pay their respects as Sian’s funeral cortege makes its way to Kingsdown Crematorium, where a private service is held.
Tueday, April 19, 2011
Halliwell appears in court charged with the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards. He is remanded in custody after making a three-minute appearance at Worcester Magistrates’ Court. The charge against the 47-year-old alleges that he murdered Becky in Swindon, on a day between December 27, 2002, and January 1, 2006.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Hundreds of mourners wearing splashes of pink pour into Old Town for Becky’s funeral at Christ Church.
Tuesday, February 18, 2012
Halliwell appears at Bristol Crown Court as prosecution and defence lawyers conduct intense legal arguments over the admissibility of evidence and whether he can get a fair trial.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Friends and family mark a year passing since Sian went missing.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Halliwell appears via video link from prison at a preliminary hearing at Preston Crown Court. The second charge of murder in respect of Becky is formally removed from the indictment and a provisional murder trial date is set for January 2013.
Thursday, MAY 31, 2012
Halliwell pleads not guilty to the murder of Sian O’Callaghan.
DS Fulcher, the man who led the investigation codenamed Operation Mayan, is suspended by Wiltshire Police on full pay pending an Independent Police Complaints Commission enquiry following a referral by the Force itself.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Halliwell changes his plea to guilty for the murder of Sian O’Callaghan and is sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. It is revealed that DS Fulcher's decision not to caution Halliwell befiore he led the detective to Becky's grave means that the evidence could not be used in court. It means Halliwell cannot be charged with Becky's murder. Outside court her heartbroken family call for help in bringing him to justice.