This is a book that will leave you wondering at the injustice dished out to a detective trying to bring a vile killer to justice.
You may remember Stephen Fulcher’s story from recent headlines. He was the detective superintendent who breached Police and Criminal Evidence rules in an effort to find abducted Sian O’Callaghan. Sian, 22, disappeared after a night out in Swindon in 2011.
When Fulcher’s investigators closed the net on taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, the detective ignored the requirement to make the familiar ‘You do not have to say anything’ speech. Instead, he acted in the hope that Sian was still alive somewhere and he could appeal to Halliwell to confess where. The alternative was to arrest Halliwell, in which case the suspect might clam up and Sian could perish.
Meeting Christopher Halliwell
It was a career-risking move. Fulcher’s reasoning? Sian’s life took priority over rules designed to protect the rights of a suspect.
His encounter with Halliwell is the extraordinary fulcrum of the book. In the countryside, overlooked by a posse of police cars, Fulcher shared cigarettes with Halliwell and got him talking.
Sadly, Sian had been murdered. Halliwell took the police to the place he left her. However, Fulcher had another shock in store – Halliwell revealed the whereabouts of a second victim.
Catching a Serial Killer is a riveting read
So what Fulcher’s reward for exposing a killer? To have his career in tatters and to find himself accused of gross misconduct. The subsequent conviction of Christopher Halliwell for the murder of Sian and that second victim, Becky Godden, did nothing to vindicate his actions in official eyes.
Disturbingly, Fulcher’s account also suggests that Halliwell, who would end up regretting his confession to Fulcher, may be responsible for more killings.
This book, written with Kate Moore, is a riveting if shocking read. It is hard not to be dismayed by the police hierarchy’s desertion of Fulcher and the short-sightedness of the IPCC.
Fulcher was badly affected by his bold attempt to save Sian. However, in many eyes he has emerged with his integrity fully intact.