The mother of Becky Godden-Edwards who disappeared in early 2003, and whose remains were found in a field north of Swindon in 2011, is seeking 100,000 signatures on a petition to trigger a parliamentary debate on changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984.
See where to sign the Justice4Becky petition below
Swindon taxi driver Christopher Halliwell was convicted on 19 October 2012 to serve a minimum of 25 years for the murder of Sian O’Callaghan. But although Halliwell took the police to the bodies of both Sian and then Becky, the court ruled that information relating to the way the police secured this was not admissable because PACE rules were breached.
Karen Edwards, who lives in Nine Elms, launched her campaign after the detective who found her daughter was suspended by Wiltshire Police earlier this year for not following PACE procedures.
Karen with her petition featuring Becky’s picture, right. Image by Richard Wintle of Calyxpix
Halliwell’s confession to Becky’s murder during the search for Sian’s body was ruled inadmissible in court because senior investigating police officer Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher had not taken Halliwell to Swindon police station to be interviewed with a lawyer present as required by PACE – even though Halliwell had taken the police to the place where Becky’s body was buried.
Karen said: “Steve Fulcher, who has a degree in criminology had built up a rapport with Halliwell. He secured Halliwell’s confession to Sian’s murder under the conditions of an urgent interview without a lawyer present. But when Halliwell proceeded to tell Mr Fulcher about the whereabouts of Becky’s body he did it without being formally cautioned, meaning that the confession was thrown out by the judge.”
DS Fulcher’s future now depends on the decision of a panel independent of Wiltshire Constabulary.
Defending his actions Karen said: “If he hadn’t done what he did I would never have got Becky back to give her a proper resting place instead of being in a lonely field.
“PACE needs to be more flexible in how senior investigating officers deal with suspects. The law needs to be better balanced to protect the human rights of the victim and their family, not just of the perpetrator.”
By mid-October Karen and a team of mums had attracted well over 20,000 names on the petition after spending several weeks collecting at Asda Walmart in North Swindon and the Brunel Arcade. She said: “The people of Swindon have been so amazingly supportive by signing and also helping me promote the campaign. So many strangers have come forward to help – we’re not stopping until we have those 100,000 signatures to force a debate about this unfair law.”
Justice for Becky on Facebook
Where to sign the Justice for Becky petition
Karen will be collecting signatures at various times at:
West Swindon Centre from Monday 28 October to Saturday 2 November.
Brunel Arcade in Swindon Town Centre from Monday 4 to Saturday 9 November
Sainsbury’s Bridgemead: 14 & 28 November and 2 December, 12noon to 6pm
Petition Hotspot. Sign the petition at these locations:
Hinds Jewellers, 8 The Arcade Brunel Centre
Aqua G Hair & Beauty Salon, 30, The Arcade, Brunel Shopping Centre
Caroline Collis Hair Salon, Peatmoor Village Centre, West Swindon
HairWorks Salon, Freshbrook Village Centre, West Swindon