Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hunt for missing woman becomes double murder investigation

Caroline Gammell in Swindon

The hunt for missing Sian O'Callaghan turned into a double murder investigation last night as detectives disclosed that they were dealing with not one but two bodies.

The gruesome discovery came six days after 22-year-old Ms O'Callaghan was last seen alive leaving a nightclub in Swindon.

Last night police disclosed they believed they had found her body in a shallow grave near the White Horse beauty spot near Uffington, Oxfordshire.

However, in an extraordinary twist, officers then said they had been told about a second as yet unidentified body, which they have yet to find.

Police were led to Ms O'Callaghan's grave by a taxi driver -- believed to be 47-year-old Chris Halliwell -- who is now being held on suspicion of kidnap and double murder.

Inquiry

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who is leading the inquiry, said: "A 47-year-old man from Swindon is in custody, having been arrested for kidnap and two murders.

"The locations of two bodies have been identified to me by this individual, one of whom has yet to be identified formally, but I'm quite clear it is Sian."

He said Ms O'Callaghan's parents Mick (51) and Elaine (48) had been told about the discovery and were deeply distressed.

However, Det Fulcher would not be drawn on the identity -- or even the gender -- of the other person.

The development came after the arrest of Mr Halliwell at a taxi rank outside an Asda in north Swindon yesterday.

Officers towed away his green Toyota Avensis which was said to contain a number of pictures of Ms O'Callaghan, as well as several police missing posters of the woman.

Mr Halliwell, a divorced father of three, was born and lives in Swindon with his partner Heather Widdowson.

Their end-of-terrace house was cordoned off yesterday and a white tent erected on their gravel driveway. Forensic officers were seen searching the property and back garden.

Ms O'Callaghan's disappearance sparked a major police search and more than 400 volunteers joined the hunt.

Irish Independent

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