TAXI driver Christopher Halliwell has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of Sian O’Callaghan.

The 47-year-old of Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, appeared before Swindon magistrates yesterday and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

Wearing a black suit, with a navy and white striped shirt with the top button casually undone, Halliwell appeared to have a smirk on his face when he surfaced from the cells.

When asked if he was Christopher Halliwell by chief magistrate Angus MacPherson, he calmly replied “I am”.

Halliwell is accused of killing the 22-year-old, who disappeared in the early hours of March 19 after a night out with friends at Suju nightclub in Old Town.

Her body was found in Uffington, 15 miles from her home.

Halliwell, who looked gaunt with piercing blue eyes, showed no emotion as the murder charge was read out and magistrates remanded him in custody until March 30 when he will appear at Bristol Crown Court, before a preliminary hearing takes place on April 8.

He seemed unfazed by the abuse shouted at him by those in the public gallery, which was completely full, with some people being forced to stand.

Earlier, when Halliwell arrived at the court, a group of people jumped on the police van in which he arrived. He was taken from the vehicle into the court under a blue blanket.

A second outburst from a crowd of around 100 people took place as Halliwell was driven away in a police van after the court appearance.

After breaking out into a round of applause in support of Wiltshire Police who had around 25 police officers at the scene, the members of the public then shouted abuse at Halliwell before thumping the police van and chasing it down the road on to Fleming Way.

Resident Sandy Hawkins said they felt compelled to attend the court on behalf of all women in the town.

“We are here for Sian,” she said.

“I have daughters a similar age to Sian – this could have happened to any one of us, it could have been anyone’s daughter.

“If this happened to me, I would hope the rest of Swindon would do the same thing. We have done this out of respect for females.”

Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I have two young children and they can’t sleep at night because they are having nightmares about what has happened.”

One onlooker said he was shocked at the aggression from the crowd.

“I am quite surprised at the animosity but of course it is understandable considering what has happened,” he said.

“I have never been in this situation before and it is a horrible feeling, but it is quite shocking to hear what is coming out of people’s mouths.”