Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who was criticised for breaching the rights of murderer Christopher Halliwell during the hunt for Sian O'Callaghan, has been suspended.

Mr Fulcher is now the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following two separate referrals by his force.

The detective, who for the past year has advised officers around the country on how to run murder investigations, has been suspended because of allegations of "inappropriate contact with the media", Wiltshire Police said.

During a series of legal hearings at Bristol Crown Court Mr Fulcher was accused by Halliwell's barrister of using "good old-fashioned threatening conduct" to force information out of the killer cabbie.

The confessions Halliwell made to murdering Miss O'Callaghan and Becky Godden-Edwards on the day of his arrest were ruled inadmissible by a High Court judge because Mr Fulcher breached strict police regulations governing the interviewing of suspects.

With no other evidence to link Halliwell to Miss Godden-Edwards's murder, the Crown did not resist a defence application to withdraw the charge.

Her family reacted with anger and blamed police for bungling the investigation.

With the jailing of Halliwell for life for Miss O'Callaghan's murder, Wiltshire Police announced that Mr Fulcher, who returned to the force in August following the end of his secondment with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), had been suspended on full pay and referrals made to the IPCC.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kier Pritchard, head of protective services at Wiltshire Police, said: "Wiltshire Police has referred several matters to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"In addition to this I wish to clarify the position around Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher.

"Steve took up a post with the NPIA in June last year and has not been directly involved in the management of the investigation since that point.

"His secondment came to an end in August and he returned to Wiltshire Police.

"We had kept him fully informed throughout all stages of proceedings.
Following the findings of the voire dire Wiltshire Police made a referral to the IPCC.

"Not in connection with this, a separate matter, the alleged inappropriate contact with the media has been referred to the IPCC and the force has made the difficult decision to suspend Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher.

"Due to the IPCC referrals it would not be appropriate for me to pass any further comment.

"We are of course fully co-operating with the IPCC and their investigations."

Mr Pritchard said the second referral was linked to the investigation into Miss O'Callaghan and Miss Godden-Edwards but was separate to issues raised in the voire dire - that of breaching the Pace regulations and the information Mr Fulcher gave in several press briefings.

"It is as a result of a new allegation - quite separate to those - that a fresh referral has been made," Mr Pritchard added.