Sian 'probably died of head injury'

Murdered Sian O'Callaghan is likely to have died from head injuries, a coroner heard today as an inquest into her death was opened and adjourned.

The 22-year-old personal assistant from Swindon went missing from the town's Suju nightclub on March 19. Her body was found near the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire last week.



A Home Office forensic pathologist is still working to confirm a precise cause of death while Wiltshire police continue to examine the remains of a second woman discovered in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.













Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher confirmed that Miss O'Callaghan's death was formally certified last Thursday, following the arrest of taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, who has subsequently appeared in court charged with her murder.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner, sitting at Oxford Coroner's Court, said examinations were ongoing to determine exactly how the young woman died.



"I think the actual cause of death has not yet been defined but is likely to be head injuries of some description."



Miss O'Callaghan was formally identified by Pete Shawe, the partner of her mother Elaine, who had known her for four years.



Today's 10-minute hearing came after Mrs O'Callaghan described news of her daughter's death as "the worst of the worst" she could imagine.



"I always had hope but I still tried to prepare myself for the worst," she told the Swindon Advertiser newspaper.



"It was the worst of the worst that I could've imagined. But they'd found her.



"It was a relief in a way. I would have hated to live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder and looking at every brunette girl, wondering if it was her."



Miss O'Callaghan had been out with friends before she disappeared in the early hours of March 19.



She was last seen alive in CCTV footage filmed close to the Suju nightclub, only half a mile from the flat she shared with her boyfriend, Kevin Reape, 25.



On Wednesday, Halliwell, 47, appeared at Bristol Crown Court accused of her murder.















Miss O'Callaghan's family were not present for the brief hearing, which was held in order to expedite her funeral arrangements.

However, she cannot be buried until Halliwell's defence team have decided whether to request a second post-mortem examination, as is their right.



Outside court, Mr Fulcher said Miss O'Callaghan's family were "bearing up" but added: "It is a horrific trauma for them.



"I want them to have closure and they need to organise her funeral.



"That can't happen until the defence have decided whether or not they want to have a second examination."



Solicitors were given 28 days to submit a request after they were presented with the results of the first post-mortem, last Thursday.













There is unlikely to be a full inquest into Miss O'Callaghan's death.

Instead, the hearing is expected to be resumed and adjourned once criminal proceedings have concluded.



Miss O'Callaghan's body was discovered last Thursday in an area near Uffington, 15 miles east of Swindon.



Two days later, Wiltshire Police discovered remains belonging to a second woman thought to have been aged 23-30, who is believed to have died between 2003 and 2005.



They have been as yet unable to identify the bones, which were found in a field near Eastleach village.



But detectives are confident that they will soon have a complete DNA profile of the second woman.



Halliwell was arrested last Thursday at a taxi rank at an Asda supermarket in Swindon.











Tonight hundreds of people are expected to take part in a memorial walk for Miss O'Callaghan through Old Town in Swindon.



The walk, organised by her friends, will start at the Suju nightclub and end at the Old Town Gardens - retracing some of Miss O'Callaghan's steps the last time she was seen alive.



People taking part will hold photographs of her and will be carrying candles.



Dean Mayo, a friend of Miss O'Callaghan's boyfriend, Kevin Reape, wrote on Facebook: "This is where once again Swindon can come together and become one and show our respects to a Swindon Angel."



The walk will begin at 8pm and end around 10pm.



Last Saturday night 10,000 people attended a lantern vigil in Miss O'Callaghan's memory at Swindon's Polo Ground.



Thousands of Chinese lanterns and balloons with messages of condolence were sent flying into the night sky.



Friends and family also left flowers, teddy bears, candles, cards and letters at the entrance of Suju nightclub.

Suggested Topics
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week