British police charge taxi driver with murder

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Monday, March 28, 2011

The driver of a taxicab was charged on Saturday by Wiltshire Police with the murder of Sian O'Callaghan, a 22-year-old woman. 47-year-old male Christopher Halliwell was arrested on Thursday.

Cquote1.svg I have been working closely with Wiltshire Police and now have authorised them to charge Christopher Halliwell with Sian O'Callaghan's murder. Having reviewed the evidence, I am satisfied that there is sufficient to charge him, and that it is in the public interest to do so. I will keep liaising closely with the police as their investigation continues. Cquote2.svg

—Simon Brenchley, District Crown Prosecutor

Personal assistant Sian O'Callaghan disappeared after departing from a nightclub, called Suju, in Swindon, England on March 19, 2011. She was never seen publicly again. The remains of her body were discovered during examinations taking place near Uffington, Oxfordshire on Thursday; the discovery was announced on Saturday.

Christopher Halliwell is expected to appear in court in Swindon on Monday. Simon Brenchley, the District Crown Prosecutor, has stated: "I have been working closely with Wiltshire Police and now have authorised them to charge Christopher Halliwell with Sian O'Callaghan's murder. Having reviewed the evidence, I am satisfied that there is sufficient to charge him, and that it is in the public interest to do so. I will keep liaising closely with the police as their investigation continues."

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher is currently searching for individuals who may have been "lamping" (poaching) in the region of Ramsbury in Wiltshire or its surrounding area at approximately 0300 BST (0200 UTC) on March 19, 2011. He indicated that the police had no interest in prosecuting any poachers who came forward.

Various tributes have been paid to Sian O'Callaghan since her death. At an event held on Saturday night, hundreds of balloons and Chinese lanterns were released. Thousands of people held a two minute silence at the Polo Ground in Swindon. Bowling group members had a period of silence at the club where O'Callaghan used to play. Individuals also left messages of condolence on a sign at the ground.

On social networking website Facebook, a recent message from an event page entitled 'Lighting up the sky, for Sian' says: "In light of the recent tragic news of the discovery of a body police believe to be Sian's, we see it fit to change the purpose of this gathering. We are, sadly, no longer lighting Sian's way home, we are lighting the sky to show that a life has been taken, but will not be forgotten."

Meanwhile, during ongoing searches in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, the remains of a second woman were unearthed. The woman is aged 23–30 years old, according to police. Referring to the as of yet formally unidentified individual, investigation leader Fulcher noted: "It has been indicated to me that this young woman was taken from the Swindon area between 2003 and 2005. The remains will now be subject of further forensic laboratory tests and a post-mortem examination. The police search at the site is expected to continue for the time being."


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