Justice at last for Becky Godden as Christopher Halliwell is convicted of murder, 13 years after committing the crime

A convicted killer has finally been found guilty of murdering a second woman - five years after initially escaping justice for the crime because of a blunder by a senior detective.

Christopher Halliwell, 52, is already serving a life sentence for the murder of Sian O'Callaghan, 22, who he abducted in his taxi as she made her way home from a night out in Swindon in March 2011.

He confessed to killing Miss O'Callaghan and took police to her body before offering "another one" and leading them to where he had buried missing prostitute Becky Godden years earlier.

A High Court judge later ruled Halliwell's admissions could not be used as Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher had breached police guidelines on interviewing suspects.

The charge of murdering Godden was withdrawn until March this year following an investigation by Wiltshire Police that uncovered overwhelming evidence against Halliwell.

The father-of-three denied murder and represented himself during a two-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, but the jury of six men and six women took less than three hours to convict Halliwell of the charge.

(Tim Ireland/PA)
Flowers laid at the site where Godden was found in 2011 (Tim Ireland/PA)

During the new investigation, Wiltshire Police uncovered vital evidence to pin Halliwell to Godden's murder without his confession. This included witness accounts and forensic analysis of a spade and garden tools.

One witness saw Godden getting into a taxi in early January 2013 - crucially this was days after the last confirmed sighting of her by a police officer in Swindon in December 2012.

Another saw Halliwell and a woman, who he believed to be Godden, arguing in a pub in Eastleach at that time.

(Ben Birchall/PA)
Godden's mother read a statement after the verdict (Ben Birchall/PA)

Godden's mother, Karen Edwards, launched a campaign for changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) following the case.

She had made several attempts to find her daughter, who she believed was living in the Bristol area, and did not learn the truth until police knocked on her door on April 4 2011 - on what would have been her 29th birthday.

Godden had turned to prostitution after becoming addicted to heroin.

Halliwell laughed and smiled as the verdict was returned by the jury.

Members of the Godden family cheered, wept and hugged each other when they heard the guilty verdict.

As Halliwell was led away from the court he paused to stare and smile at Godden's family. He will be sentenced on Friday.

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