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Taxi driver pleads guilty to murder of 22-year-old Sian
4:50pm Friday 19th October 2012 in News
A MAN from Swindon has pleaded guilty to the murder of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan whose disappearance in March 2011 led to a major search centred on east Wiltshire and the Savernake Forest.
This statement was read outside Bristol Crown Court today by Detective Chief Superintendent Kier Pritchard, Head of Protective Services at Wiltshire Police: Today, Friday 19 October 2012, Christopher Halliwell, a taxi driver aged 48 of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, has pleaded guilty to the murder of Sian O’Callaghan on the 19 March 2011.
Firstly I’d like to express our deepest sympathy for the family and friends of Sian. I can only imagine how hard the last 18 months has been for them and how difficult it must have been to have heard in court today how violently Sian was attacked before her death. Sian’s family and loved ones have shown great dignity throughout the court process, resulting in Halliwell’s guilty plea today. I hope this conviction will in some way help the family to move forward with their lives.
Sian’s disappearance received high profile media coverage and unprecedented support from the whole community. Hundreds of people went out of their way to help and support Wiltshire Police in our search for Sian who disappeared after a night out with friends in Swindon.
Shortly after leaving a local nightclub Sian was abducted by Christopher Halliwell, a taxi driver. He had booked off duty but had continued to circle around the area of Old Town, Swindon looking for a victim. After he took Sian, he then drove her to the outskirts of Swindon and into the Savernake Forest area near Marlborough. He violently attacked her, subjected her to a sexual assault and murdered her. Six days later police officers found her body in a remote location south of Uffington. This was a complex and fast moving investigation and from the outset the priority of the Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher was always to try and find Sian alive but unfortunately this was not possible. This was a violent and brutal murder of a young woman in the prime of her life. It is likely that Sian suffered horrifically from the point that she was abducted. Halliwell, in committing this crime, betrayed his position of trust as a taxi driver as he preyed on a lone vulnerable female. Today the court heard that there was clear evidence of premeditation. We can only imagine how Sian must have suffered throughout this ordeal and in those last moments.
Christopher Halliwell went on to conceal Sian’s body and attempted to destroy the evidence of his violent crime. He has shown himself to be a despicable man and has shown no remorse throughout. Whilst Halliwell’s admission of guilt today may go some way to help the family grieve, it will not bring Sian back who was needlessly and tragically taken from them.
Finally, crimes of this nature are extremely rare in Wiltshire and I would particularly like to thank our local communities for their overwhelming support and compassion. Today’s hearing was about bringing justice for Sian’s family. They have continued to display great courage and dignity and we hope this will provide them with some comfort at this most difficult time.
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