Detective found guilty of gross misconduct could become deputy PCC of Wiltshire

A former detective with Wiltshire Police who resigned from the force after being found guilty of gross misconduct could return as deputy police and crime commissioner if the candidate he supports wins next week’s election.

Aug 11, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Steve Fulcher and Mike Rees

A fresh ballot for the position is taking place on August 19 after the winner of the May election, Conservative Jonathon Seed, was disbarred after it emerged that he had failed to declare an historic motoring conviction.

Independent candidate Mike Rees, himself a former Wiltshire officer, has announced that if he is successful, he will appoint his former colleague Steve Fulcher as his deputy.

He told the Wiltshire Times: “It’s no secret Steve Fulcher has been backing my candidacy as an independent over the past 18 months of this long running process. “During that time, we’ve had several discussions around the role of deputy and who would be an asset to a PCC team working for the best interests of the Wiltshire public. I would like Steve, who knows this county, to return and work with me to bring about positive change.”

In March 2011, Mr Fulcher was working as a Detective Superintendent at Wiltshire Police when he was appointed the lead investigator into the case of Sian O’Callaghan, 22, who had gone missing while walking home from a nightclub in Swindon.

Evidence pointed to her having been abducted by someone driving a taxi and a few days later, 47-year-old Christopher Halliwell was arrested in connection with the case.

During the arrest, Mr Fulcher suspected that Mr Halliwell may have also been responsible for the disappearance of Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been reported missing in 2007 and pressed him for details.

However, rather than question Halliwell under caution at a police station, Mr Fulcher spoke to him at a Wiltshire beauty spot without any legal representation and with nothing on tape. Halliwell subsequently led the detective to where the remains of Ms Godden-Edwards has been buried but later refused to repeat his confession to both murders on tape.

A High Court judge ruled that this breach of police PACE guidelines made Halliwell’s admissions inadmissible, which nearly derailed the cases.

In September 2013, the then Independent Police Complaints Commission found that Mr Fulcher had a case to answer for gross misconduct for breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and for ignoring force orders.

In January 2014, Fulcher was found guilty of two counts of gross misconduct and given a final written warning. He resigned from the force four months later.

Mr Fulcher went on to write a book about his experiences, called Catching a Serial Killer and the Halliwell case was made into an ITV drama, A Confession, which aired in 2019 with Martin Freeman playing the role of the detective.

Mr Fulcher has always defended his actions saying that he was working on the assumption that Ms O’Callaghan could still be alive. Subsequent evidence led to Halliwell later being convicted of both killings.

Speaking about the forthcoming election, Mr Fulcher said: “It would be an honour to work closely with Mike should he be elected. The taxpayers of Wiltshire should know that their current police force has many questions to answer. Mike Rees will address these if elected, and I will support him.”

Also standing in the election on August 19 are the Reform UK candidate Julian Malins, Brian Matthew for the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives’ Philip Wilkinson and Junab Ali the Labour candidate.

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