Police confirm the identity of second body in O'Callaghan case

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The Independent Online

Becky Godden-Edwards's family were yesterday coming to terms with the news they had been dreading for several years, as detectives investigating the murder of Sian O'Callaghan confirmed a second body was Becky's.

Only last year, her mother Karen Edwards had put out a heartfelt plea to the daughter who had disappeared in 2002, begging her to get in touch, unaware she was already in a shallow grave on farmland.

On Monday, on what would have been Miss Godden-Edwards's 29th birthday, her family received the news.

Neighbours at her mother's home in the affluent Shaw area of Swindon, Wiltshire, said she was utterly distraught. "The family is completely devastated by the news of Becky's death and at this time wish to be left alone to grieve for our beautiful daughter," her family said yesterday, releasing a picture of Becky as a happy 15-year-old bridesmaid at her mother's second marriage to Charles Edwards.

But a short while later her life fell into chaos. She became estranged from her family, got into hard drugs and, by the age of 21, had vanished. Her family, believing she was in Bristol, did not report her to the National Missing Persons Helpline until 2007.

Yesterday, a police source confirmed that her DNA was found on the database for a drugs-related offence.

"She came from a lovely family who were devastated by the loss," he said. "She got into drug abuse and got into a downward spiral. She was living a chaotic lifestyle. Her family knew that she had drifted into drug abuse. It's a crying shame it came to this. Her grandparents said she was a lovely young girl until various parties got their claws into her." In 2002 Becky admitted burgling the Trout Inn, Lechlade, Gloucestershire and stealing 100 packets of cigarettes and £43 in cash the previous year. In court, her defence said she had a severe drug problem, having used class-A substances since she was introduced to them by a former boyfriend at 15.

Her naked body was discovered as part of the investigation into the murder of 22-year-old Sian O'Callaghan. The arrest of taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, 47, led police to a Cotswold beauty spot 17 miles from where the first woman's remains had been found.

"As you are aware, as part of the investigation into Sian O'Callaghan, we searched a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where we discovered human remains," said Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who is leading the inquiry.

He added: "Since we spoke last we have been searching the DNA database and seeking to develop a profile from the bones that were recovered."

Police said Miss Godden-Edwards had grown up in Shaw with her mother, father John and brother Steven, but her parents had divorced and in 1997 her mother remarried a local businessman.

Yesterday the senior officer appealed for anyone who had known her after 2002 to come forward.

"At this stage it isn't clear how Becky came to meet her death but further work is ongoing to help us determine this. Part of these inquiries will be to speak to Chris Halliwell and then we will make a decision on any appropriate steps to take," he said.

Miss O'Callaghan disappeared on 19 March after leaving the Suju nightclub in Swindon.

Following Mr Halliwell's arrest in Swindon, police recovered Miss O'Callaghan's body near the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire.

They then began searching for a second body at Eastleach, where Miss Godden-Edwards was found.