THE trial of Chris Halliwell, who is charged with double murder, has been postponed after a series of legal discussions between defence and prosecution teams.

The mini-cab driver, 48, of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, was set to appear at Bristol Crown Court next month for his trial over charges of killing Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden-Edwards, to which he has yet to enter any pleas.

The trial was due to begin on March 5, almost a year since Sian, 22, disappeared following a night out with her friends in Old Town. But after a four-day hearing in Bristol last week that date was postponed.

Sian’s family, including mother Elaine and her partner Pete Shawe, father Mick and brother Liam were in the public gallery throughout the intensive legal discussions.

Office worker Sian was never seen alive again after leaving Suju nightclub, in High Street. Her disappearance sparked a major missing persons hunt.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out at Savernake Forest to help in the search but police later found Sian’s body in Uffington, Oxfordshire on March 24, 2011.

The investigation eventually led to Becky’s remains being found in a farmer’s field in Gloucestershire on March 26, 2011 – eight years after she last had contact with her family.

At its peak, 150 police officers were involved in the investigation and families of both victims paid emotional public tributes to the young women.

The inquiry sparked a mass outpouring of grief in the town and led to several vigils and memorials held for both Sian and Becky, who would have been 30 this year.

Both families have since been coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones and mourners turned out in their hundreds for the funerals of both girls on 18 April 2011 and 18 July 2011. Sian’s family spent their first Christmas and New Year together without the popular 22-year-old.

There will be a further hearing on February 28 at Bristol Crown Court.