The mother of a young woman missing for eight years until a taxi driver allegedly led police to the spot where he had buried her body has told a court she had always believed her daughter would one day return.
Becky Godden’s remains lay in a Gloucestershire field until Christopher Halliwell allegedly took officers to her shallow grave after he was arrested on suspicion of the murder of another young woman, Sian O’Callaghan.
Godden’s mother, Karen Edwards, described her as a happy little soul who became a sex worker to pay for a drug habit.
She said: I never thought she wouldn’t be coming back. Then we heard about remains at Eastleach [the field in Gloucestershire] on the news. I feared the worst but I never thought deep down that it was Becky. I ask myself where it all went wrong.
Bristol crown court has been told that Godden, 20, was last seen getting into a taxi outside a nightclub in Swindon in January 2003.
In 2011 Halliwell was arrested over the sexually motivated murder of O’Callaghan, and the prosecution claims he told police he had strangled another woman some years earlier. He is said to have taken police to the field, where Godden’s remains were found. Halliwell, 52, from Swindon, denies murder.
In a statement read out in court, Edwards said Godden fell into drug addiction and began running away from home aged 15. The family assumed she was working as a prostitute as she had money to buy drugs, but never mentally accepted it, she said.
At 16, Godden managed to get clean from drugs and started working at Reader’s Digest. I felt so relieved and thought the bad times were over, Edwards said. After about a year of being clean, Becky began socialising with her old circle of friends and got dragged back into the world of drugs.
Edwards said she last spoke to Godden on 16 December 2002 after picking her up from Swindon magistrates court. She had conditions to stay at my house, her statement said. On the way home she said she wanted to see her boyfriend. She begged me and said she would just be half an hour.
After a while she came back out and told me she wanted to stay longer. I became firm with Becky as I knew the best place for her was at home. When she was begging me I told her she had two choices: get into the car with me and go home or take her bag and not come running back.
Becky took her bag and told me she would come home when she was clean. That was the last time I saw her.
Godden’s family reported her missing to police but she was not dealt with as a missing person, the court heard. It was just a waiting game, Edwards’ statement said. We talked about her as though she would turn up one day.
The first witness to give evidence in person at Halliwell’s trial was a former sex worker who can only be identified Miss X. She told the jury that Halliwell was a bit besotted with Godden and gave her money so that she did not have to work.
Miss X claimed Halliwell was her customer on two occasions. I would obviously recognise him because I’ve been up close and personal with him, she said.
On the first occasion they went to an industrial estate in Swindon, and on the other they went to his flat, it was alleged.
During the second liaison, Halliwell showed Miss X images of Thai brides on his desktop computer, she told the jury. Halliwell told her not to mention to Godden that he had seen her, Miss X claimed.
Halliwell, who is defending himself, cross-examined Miss X from the dock, where he was surrounded by security guards. He told Miss X he had never seen her before, adding: I don’t have to tell you how serious this matter is. Please take a good, hard look at me and confirm the person you are thinking of is me.
Miss X stared at Halliwell and replied: It definitely is you.
Halliwell later told the court: I’ve never seen that woman before … it is a fairytale.
Miss X said: I don’t understand how he can sit there and say he doesn’t know me. I’m a hundred, million per cent sure.
The trial continues.
News Source TheGuardianNews