Sian O'Callaghan murder detective allowed to keep job

Salisbury Journal: DS Steve Fulcher DS Steve Fulcher

A WILTSHIRE Police detective has been allowed to keep his job despite a formal conduct hearing ruling he was guilty of gross misconduct.

The hearing heard that Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who headed the investigation into the murder of Landford man Reginald Baker in 2008, did not follow police arrest guidelines during the Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden murder case in Swindon in 2011.

He failed to caution Christopher Halliwell, 48, when he led police to Miss Godden’s body in 2011.

Halliwell, a former taxi driver, was jailed for life in 2012 after admitting killing 22-year-old Miss O’Callaghan but he was never charged over the death of Miss Godden-Edwards, who was last seen alive in Swindon in 2002, as there was no other evidence linking him to her death.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found DS Fulcher did have a case to answer and an independent panel was set up for a formal conduct hearing.

The hearing ruled he was guilty of breaching police guidelines for arrest in the treatment of Halliwell and of “inappropriate contact with the media” about 12 months later. Another allegation relating to information he released to the media was dropped.

The panel, which heard evidence over three and a half days, ruled the appropriate action was for DS Fulcher to be given a final written warning.

Chief Constable Patrick Geenty said: “Clearly, this case has been very emotive and has attracted a high level of public interest due to the tragic circumstances surrounding it.

“Serious and major crime investigations are a complex aspect of policing and are often fast-paced and highly charged, I have great admiration for senior investigating officers across the country who have to make life and death decisions.

“As always, it is vital that investigations are rigorously reviewed in order that good practice, lessons learned and areas for development are identified.”

He also said he expects the highest level of professional conduct from all officers and respected the findings of the panel. He offered his respects to the family and said he hoped they could now “move forward”.

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