CLAUDIA: Halliwell Antecedent Investigation Re-assessed
by TIM HICKS & CHRIS CLARK
The NYE has for some time been running a series of articles by the authors on murders we believe were committed by Serial Killer Christopher John Halliwell that he has not been convicted of. This has been a major investigation, which is still on-going. We are grateful to the NYE for supporting us in this task.
Halliwell was convicted of the murders of Becky Godden-Edwards aged 20 in 2003 and Sian O’Callaghan aged 22 in 2011, in Swindon. He is currently serving a full term sentence and will die in prison. However, the true extent of his crimes has never been revealed, despite the relentless efforts by Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher, -the officer that destroyed his career, finances and health to ensure Halliwell was arrested and jailed for a full life term- to have the full extent of his offending resolved.
The full story of the investigation is told in Fulcher’s book “Catching a Serial Killer”; which in the author’s opinion should be required reading for all police officers aspiring to a senior CID role.
The NYE is the only media organisation that has conducted an in-depth ongoing investigation into Halliwell. Links to our articles are below. They constitute the most up to date and continually updated source of information available to the public.
The NYE Christopher Halliwell series
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read the others in the series:
- The breaking of Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher. By Tim Hicks
- Book review: “Catching a serial killer” by Stephen Fulcher. By Tim Hicks
- Christopher Halliwell and Peter Sutcliffe compared. By Chris Clark & Tim Hicks
- Christopher Halliwell how many victims? By Chris Clark & Tim Hicks
- Christopher Halliwell: The Secret Murders. Parts 1 – 14
(1. Wiltshire Police, 2. North Yorkshire Police and 3. Cleveland Police).
(4. Greater Manchester Police. 5. Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner).
- York: Did Halliwell murder Claudia Lawrence? 1: Operation Cabin Part 1
- York: Did Halliwell murder Claudia Lawrence? 2: Operation Cabin Part 2
- York: Did Halliwell murder Claudia Lawrence? 3: Operation Essence. Part 1
- York: Did Halliwell murder Claudia Lawrence? 4: Operation Essence Part 2
- The Swindon and Bristol
- InsideOut Justice. Who murdered Linda Razzell?
- Scotland 2: Caroline Glachan re-assessed
- Manchester 2: The murder of Helen Sage re-assessed
- Bristol 2: Jacky Waines AKA Linda Guest
- Claudia: Halliwell antecedent Investigation re-assessed
- Sharon Harper re assessed
As a result of these articles, the NYE has developed a specialist following of police officers and readers interested in Cold Case investigations.
The police response to antecedent investigations into serial killers who are imprisoned for a full life terms
Chief Constables are not enthusiastic about antecedent investigations into serial killers who are in jail on a full life term. There are three reasons for this:
- Historic cold case investigations are notoriously difficult to resolve, so any resources applied to them are unlikely to lead to any positive result and will involve excessive effort.
- They do not want to expend resources on investigating crimes where the perpetrator is in jail, because this does not lead to any protection for the public.
- Such an investigation could expose failings in previous investigations which will lead to criticism of his or her force. Especially if the murderer was a serial killer.
The authors disagree with this view for the following reasons:
- The victim has a right to justice and it is the police who are charged with providing this.
- The authors have identified four other cases where men were accused of murders that may have been committed by Peter Sutcliffe. These are:
- The 1972 murder of Judith Roberts. Wikipedia article here.
- The 1974 murder of Wendy Sewell. Wikipedia article here.
- The 1977 murder of Carol Wilkinson. Wikipedia article here.
- The 1977 murder of Stephanie Spencer. Northern Echo article here.
- The 1979 murder of an unknown woman known as “Bedgebury Forest woman”. NYE investigation here
Resolution of cold cases by serial killers will prevent these miscarriages of justice.
- The victim’s family have a right to know what happened to their loved one, particularly if the police have been unable to identify the body.
Tim was therefore very surprised to see the above headline from a tweet to the effect that the antecedent investigation into Halliwell had been re-opened.
Wiltshire Police only initiated the investigation codenamed Operation Major in 2016. It has been kept secret and was only revealed by some very good journalism by the Sunday People though a Freedom of Information Act request.
However, Tim was not surprised to see that Operation Major had only been allocated a miserable £40,000 budget, which is still not enough to perform anything like a thorough review. In the author’s view, this indicates the complete lack of interest in antecedent investigations in the police service.
Wiltshire Police released this statement to the NYE:
“Detective Superintendent Jeremy Carter said: “The figure of £40,000 does not cover any of the salaries of those working on this case but relates purely to specialist work such as forensic digs and searches, and specific expert advice. Officers working on this case carry out a vast amount of work as part of their daily duties which would not be captured in this figure. The Force continues to maintain dedicated staff who work on this job.”
Needless to say, Joan Lawrence, the mother of Claudia Lawrence who is missing presumed murdered, and Becky Edwards the mother of Halliwell’s victim Becky Godden-Edwards, have been scathing in their criticism of the funding of this investigation. Please see this excellent Daily Mirror article Claudia Lawrence’s mum blasts peanuts budget.
It also indicates why it is so important that journalists cover these cases and keep them in the public eye, otherwise they would be forgotten and no progress would be made on them.
The mirror article states that Halliwell is being considered a suspect in twelve murders, the authors believe he should be considered as a suspect in thirty, set out in table Halliwell 1 below:
The twelve murders specified in the mirror article are below. The authors do not believe that Halliwell was involved in three of them:
- Case 4: Jacky Waines AKA Linda Guest 1985. Please see NYE article here: Jacky Waines AKA Linda Guest.
- Yvonne Fitt: 1992. The authors believe that Yvonne Fitt was murdered by Serial Killer John Taylor. NYE article here.
- Case 9: Carol Clark 1993. NYE article in preparation.
- Case 11: Sandra Brewin 1994+. NYE article in preparation.
- Case 13: Julie Finlay 1994. NYE article here.
- Case 15: Sally Anne John 1995. NYE article in preparation.
- Case 16: Melanie Hall 1996. NYE article in preparation.
- Vera Holland 1996. Although Vera Holland’s body was found near a fishing location and it may have been kept at a different location to where the body was found, the authors both believe there is not enough evidence to fit with Halliwell’s modus operandi. Further, Mrs Holland did not fit his victim profile and Halliwell buried bodies to ensure they were not discovered. Guardian article here.
- Tina Pryer 2001: There is not enough information publicly available for the authors to form a view on Halliwell’s possible involvement.
- Case 24: Linda Razell 2002. NYE article in preparation.
- Case 27: Thi Hai Nguyen 2005. NYE article in preparation.
- Case 29: Claudia Lawrence 2009. See NYE articles: Operation Cabin Part 1: Operation Cabin Part 2.
More positively, the authors and Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher believe that Halliwell should be considered as a very strong suspect in the murder of Claudia Lawrence.
This news does confirm that their belief is credible and being taken seriously by the police.
As always, we will finish with an appeal for information.
Christopher Halliwell in North Yorkshire – NYE Appeal
The authors have reason to believe that Christopher Halliwell operated in North Yorkshire.
Christopher Halliwell (shown below) had interests in narrow boating and fishing. He led an itinerant lifestyle working in the building industry, as a driver and as a grave-digger. He routinely used prostitutes.
He had a slim athletic build and spoke with a slight Swindon accent. You can see and hear him in the video in the article here taken while he was in custody.
Did you see Christopher Halliwell at:
- Fishing at Scarborough?
- Fishing at Whitby?
- Fishing along the River Tees?
- Fishing at Scaling Dam?
- Truck stops along the A19?
If so, you can talk to a journalist by contacting the North Yorks Enquirer using our firstname.lastname@example.org address. All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.