IT WAS the news the whole town was desperate not to hear.

Last night, police confirmed they had not only found a body which they believe to be that of missing Sian O’Callaghan, but also a second body – turning the missing person appeal into a double murder inquiry.

For almost a week, Swindon has rallied in the hope of finding 22-year-old Sian.

Yesterday those hopes were dashed.

And, as friends laid flowers, lit candles and left loving messages on Facebook, a 47-year-old Swindon man was being quizzed by police about her death.

The man, believed to be taxi driver Chris Halliwell, is now in police custody after initially being arrested and questioned over Sian’s kidnap and now suspected of two murders.

The man leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, was visibly moved as he announced to the nation’s media that he was confident one of the recovered bodies was Sian.

He thanked every person in the town who had helped with the search for the bubbly PA and asked that police be given the time and space to recover the bodies with the “dignity and respect they deserve”.

He said: “A 47-year-old man from Swindon is in custody, having been arrested for kidnap and two murders. The location of two bodies l Turn to Page 2 l From Page 1 have been identified to me by this individual, one of whom has yet to be identified formally, but I am quite clear is Sian.

“I have informed Sian’s family, who are obviously deeply distressed, and I would ask you please to give them time and space to come to terms with what’s happened.”

Hours before the announcement, police swooped on the car park at the ASDA Walmart store in the Orbital Retail Park in North Swindon.

There, they arrested a man and removed a green saloon car – matching the description of the taxi they were keen to find as part of the investigation.

Officers then began searching a house in Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, where a white police tent was erected in the front garden of the semi-detached house, which was cordoned off and had three police vans parked outside.

Along with the swelling public support for Sian’s safe return, the reward offered for information leading to her whereabouts was upped to £40,000.

Her parents Mick, 51, and Elaine, 48, brother Liam, 24, and sister Lora, 19, along with her boyfriend Kevin Reape, 25, with whom Sian shared a flat, now face the agony of coming to terms with their loss but having the full support of a town which has been rocked to the core.