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Justice needed after daughter Becky murdered: please help!

(7 Posts)
josieone25charity Fri 06-Sep-13 17:07:32

I've been spending time with Karen, who our charity knew through her daughter Becky Godden Edwards. One25 are a charity helping women like Becky to escape street-work and addiction and rebuild their lives with their families. Tragically, in Becky's case, her hope of this reunion was cut short at 20 when she was murdered. Her killer has never been charged.

We are helping Karen to promote her petition to the government to amend the law after her daughter's suspected killer, Christopher Halliwell confessed but was never charged due to a legal loophole. We have until November to generate enough signatures - or a big enough vocal movement - to get the government to take note. Please help this incredibly brave mum to raise awareness of this tragedy, change an inflexible law and start to get some closure.

Many thanks


More information on this case

Becky Godden-Edwards was a beautiful woman who was much loved and is sadly missed by her family and One25. Becky was murdered in 2003 and her suspected killer, Christopher Halliwell, confessed: however he escaped all charges for her murder due a loophole in the law.

One25 remembers Becky as a bright, sensitive, pretty girl in her late teens. She had a huge amount of potential ? to go to University, help others, reunite with her mother ? but she struggled with a heroin addiction. Becky often said how much she missed her family but did not want to hurt them so One25 often encouraged her to ring her mum to let her know she was still alive. Even through her life controlling addiction, Becky sent mum, Karen a mothers day card without fail each year.

In 2002, Becky went missing. On 4th April 2011, on what would have been her 29th birthday, Christopher Halliwell confessed that he had murdered both Becky and Sian O?Callaghan and led detective Steve Fulcher to two places where he?d buried each woman. Halliwell was found guilty of murdering Sian O?Callaghan, to whom he was forensically linked, but escaped charges for Becky?s murder. Astoundingly, his confession and Becky's body was ruled inadmissible evidence by the court as, in his hope of finding Sian still alive, Fulcher had not risked delays but instead breached the PACE rules on how to question suspects: he made the tough decision between the rights of a victim and the rights of a murderer. Indeed, when Halliwell was given a solicitor afterwards, he refused to talk further about the case and will not respond to Karen Edwards pleas.

Please sign and share the petition, started by Becky's mum, Karen, to ask the government to urgently review Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act [PACE] to ensure future families do not have to suffer what Becky's family have gone through.

We now have only nine weeks left to secure 100,000 signatures for this petition be considered in parliament. We have captured lots of paper signatures and around 2000 online signatures. Please also write to your local MPs with this campaign, asking them to raise it in the House of Commons.

We hope that with the support of Mumsnet, the media and other groups of people who care about justice that we can gain the attention of the government.

For more on this story, see Becky's webpage, follow One25 on Twitter or Facebook, read the latest news on this case or hear Monday's radio interview with mum, Karen Edwards and me, Josie Forsyth

Screwfox Fri 06-Sep-13 17:08:11

You might find more replies if you post this in the petitions section. smile

Screwfox Fri 06-Sep-13 17:09:14

What was the loophole anyway ?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 06-Sep-13 23:46:42

Josie so sorry for Karen's loss. I cannot imagine the depth of loss she must feel. I hope she can find some peace eventually.

Screwfox The petition is simply asking for a review of code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence act. There is currently a consultation on some changes to code C, it seems unlikely they'd be pertinent but without knowing what the breach was it's hard to know whether to support a review or change. The code provides (amount other things) protection against coercion and oppression for suspects being questioned. It being broken in an attempt to find someone alive does not mean that that breach was something that should be lawful, but it might be. Without knowing what changes are wanted it's hard to know whether to support.

josieone25charity Mon 09-Sep-13 11:23:26

Thank you Screwfox and EmmelineGoulden. Code C of the PACE Act is a code of practice for detaining, treating and questioning people by police officers. Figures recently released by the Crown Prosecution Service show that over 1,300 suspects of crime have been released because of breaches of PACE by police officers over the last five years, including violent criminals and sex offenders.

The changes Karen Edwards (Becky's mum) is seeking is for the government to review Code C - not by any means to eradicate it - so that very senior officers like Detective Superintendant Steve Fulcher can have the power in that split second decision to exercise more flexibility when arresting people.

So in Becky's case, instead of taking Halliwell back to the police station and read him his rights and provide a lawyer after Halliwell had confessed to murder, Det Sup Fulcher allowed him to take him to Becky's body. Halliwell confessed in great detail how he'd murdered Becky and there was talk of having killed and buried others too. But when he got back to the station his lawyer told him to not speak any more and that he could get away free for Becky's murder because of the detective's breach of PACE: that's the loophole. Karen found out that the confession that Fulcher had skillfully gained from Halliwell could not be used, just minutes before the trial was due to start.

Karen says if Fulcher had followed the inflexible PACE guidelines she'd still be out driving around Swindon at night searching for her daughter and she would never have found her daughter's body and been able to start the grieving process. She says "I don't want any family to go through what I've gone through ever again."

Does that help?

josieone25charity Mon 09-Sep-13 11:24:54

Where is the petitions bit?

EmmelineGoulden Mon 09-Sep-13 18:14:56

Josie, the thread has already been moved to the petitions section by the Mumsnet team.

I am really sorry for Karen. There is nothing that can make things right. I can absolutely see that for her the law seems to favour the criminal. But the right to legal counsel is pretty basic and was introduced and intended to protect the innocent. I don't think police officers should be allowed to override that.

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