The brother of murdered Sian O’Callaghan has told how the family backed a detective’s unconventional methods as he forced the killer to talk.
Liam O’Callaghan said he ‘wholeheartedly’ stood behind Steve Fulcher and his ways of questioning, which led to two murder confessions.
On March 19 2011, 22-year-old Sian disappeared from Wiltshire after last being spotted at a nightclub in the area.
Just five days later her body was found in Oxfordshire. The investigation into her murder was headed up by detective Fulcher who charged cab driver Chris Halliwell with the abduction of the office worker.
Liam O’Callaghan (pictured above) said he ‘whole heartedly’ stood behind detective Steve Fulcher
Christopher Halliwell (left) confessed to the murders of Sian O’Callaghan (right) and later to the murder of Becky Gordon
Martin Freeman (pictured left) stars in the new ITV show with Joe Absolom (right) as Christopher Halliwell
However, during the investigation it was said that Fulcher used unconventional methods to garner a confession out of Halliwell.
Instead of taking Halliwell straight to the police station after his arrest, Fulcher ordered that Halliwell be taken to Barbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort on the Ridgeway route.
This method also led to Halliwell confessing to the murder of 20-year-old Becky Gordon. Despite the result, Fulcher was found to have broken Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence A which protects the rights of an individual from detention and questioning.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Liam said Fulcher had behaved exactly as the family wanted him to.
New ITV drama ‘A Confession’ stars Martin Freeman (pictured above) as detective Steve Fulcher
‘We backed his decision whole heartedly because when I first met him, when Sian was first missing, he was very straight talking and said he was committed to finding Sian.
‘That’s how you want a senior officer to come across and to be committed to do anything to take any reasonable option available and that’s what he did it’s just unfortunate in a court of law that it was deemed that he acted inappropriately.’
Following this, Fulcher was left with a career in tatters, and claims from Halliwell that Fulcher had threatened his family in the process. In 2014 he was found guilty of misconduct.
Screenwriter Jeff Pope, who worked on the new ITV show ‘A Confession’ which follows the story, said Fulcher did what most families would have wanted him to do.
Clips from the new show portray police appeals with Sian’s family. Charlie Cooper plays her partner Kevin, Jessica Darcy plays Lora and Jake Davies plays Liam
Fulcher was criticised for taking Halliwell to Barbury Castle for questioning, rather than taking him to a police station
‘He took the suspect at the time to the location where he thought something might have happened and questioned him there without reading rights and without a lawyer- he was condemned for it.
‘The question at the core is what would you have wanted him to have done if it was your loved one missing.’
Jeff added that the new series, which stars Martin Freeman, is a story of two halves and that there was a need for the story to be told, in order to show why Fulcher took the actions he did.
Police forensics at the scene near Eastleach in Gloucestershire in 2011 where human remains were found
‘Fulcher believes he can find her alive and the second half if about the experience the families and what happened to Fulcher.
Sian (pictured above) was described as an ‘amazing person’ by her brother Liam
’35-years-ago there was a piece of legislation brought in called PACE, police and criminal evidence and it was to stop the Sweeney style coppers from verballing suspects and threatening them with physical and emotional violence.
‘So there is a procedure and a way police have to act but I wonder if when that legislation was bought in if they envisaged 35 years later really the overwhelming majority of suspects just say no comment and that is what Fulcher was trying to get through, that I don’t just want to read the rights to this guy, I don’t want you to have the right to remain silent because I want you to tell me where Sian is.’
Speaking of his sister Liam said she was an ‘amazing person’ who was just about to start the next part of her life.
‘Sian was an amazing individual very positive and full of life and was about to embark on the next chapter of her life, settling down with her partner Kevin and she was very family orientated and she was looking forward to starting her own family herself.’
‘A Confession’ on ITV is shown on Mondays at 9pm.