Police camera plea by tragic mother

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Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The mother of a murdered woman has called on David Cameron to address Britain’s “unjust” justice system after a man who confessed to the killing avoided conviction.

Karen Edwards wept today after she handed a 42,000-strong collection of signatures to 10 Downing Street asking for changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) following the death of her daughter Becky Godden-Edwards.

Miss Godden-Edwards, 21, disappeared in 2003 but in 2011 Swindon taxi driver Christopher Halliwell unexpectedly admitted killing her while being questioned over the disappearance of another woman, Sian O’Callaghan, 22.

Miss Godden-Edwards’ remains were subsequently found in a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.

Halliwell also admitted killing Miss O’Callaghan but both confessions were ruled inadmissible by a judge because a senior detective repeatedly failed to caution him, breaching his rights and Pace rules.

Halliwell was later jailed for life for killing Miss O’Callaghan but the charge of murdering Miss Godden-Edwards was dismissed. No one has faced a court over her murder.

Mrs Edwards, 54, is now calling for police officers and patrol cars to be fitted with cameras and microphones and Pace rules changed so that any such off-the-cuff confessions can in future be used in evidence.

Speaking outside Number 10, she said: “I’m hoping the Prime Minister will look at what’s happened because this isn’t an isolated case. I’m hoping they’ll balance our justice system out.

“It makes my feel very angry. It makes me feel our justice system is unjust.

“We’ve been on a dreadful journey. I’ve put my energy into trying to change our law, our justice system, so that other parents won’t go through what we we’ve been through.

“I still feel my daughter’s life has been taken in vain and nobody has been convicted for her murder. That makes me feel sad.”

She added: “I have spoken to so many people who have had a similar experience to me. They have had an injustice.

“If we had something that would back-up everything it is there in black and white, you cannot argue with that.

“The law has a lot of grey areas and this is one of them.”

Police launched a high-profile inquiry when Miss O’Callaghan failed to return home after a night out with friends in March 2011.

Under the leadership of Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, Halliwell quickly became a suspect in her abduction and murder. But the repeated failure of Mr Fulcher to caution the father of three meant that a judge ruled the confessions to the killing of Miss O’Callaghan and Miss Godden were inadmissible in court.

In January last year Mr Fulcher was found guilty by an independent panel of two counts of gross misconduct and handed a final written warning as punishment. He later resigned from Wiltshire Police.

Mrs Edwards said she does not blame Mr Fulcher, saying that without his actions her daughter’s body would not have been found.

She said cameras would also help protect innocent people against potential mistreatment and miscarriages of justice, adding: “It protects both sides. That is why Pace was put there in the first place. So why not protect them even more by adding cameras?”

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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