Police investigating the killing of Sian O'Callaghan spent yesterday scouring farmland on the outskirts of another village in the Cotswolds as they hunted for a second body.
The body of Ms O'Callaghan (22) was found by police on Thursday afternoon near the Oxfordshire village of Uffington, shortly after the arrest of a 47-year-old taxi driver who has been named locally as Chris Halliwell. He has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap and two counts of murder.
Wiltshire police confirmed yesterday they had been taken to the site of Ms O'Callaghan's body by the suspect himself. But detectives revealed they were also led to a second site, in Gloucestershire, where it is believed a second adult, who disappeared “several years ago”, may be buried.
Police spent the day searching farmland on the outskirts of Eastleach, a remote Cotswolds village which has now become the centre of a murder investigation spanning three counties. A team of forensic officers brought in mechanical diggers to excavate two trenches in the corner of a field close to Baxter's Farm, five miles to the south of the town of Burford.
Locals reacted to the news with dismay as officers cordoned off roads surrounding the village, which is often visited by tourists at this time of year.
“This is such a sleepy backwater sort of place,” said Julian Selby-Rickards, who lives in the village. “There were police helicopters flying around but we thought nothing of it until we saw the roadblocks. It's desperately sad. I can only hope that if they do find someone, it will bring closure to their loved ones.” Wiltshire police have refused to speculate on the identity of the second victim, stating that only one missing adult remains outstanding on the constabulary's books.
On the steps of Suju, the Swindon nightclub where Ms O'Callaghan was last seen alive early on Saturday morning, tributes and flowers piled up. “You were a great person and friend,” read one note. “I knew you for 15 years since Drove Primary School and we stayed in touch since. Will remember your trademark big smile was lovely.” Another simply read: “Sian RIP. You'll be fine up in heaven.”
Police say mobile phone records have shown that Sian was in the Savernake Forest area half-an-hour after her disappearance, leading officers to conclude that she must have been driven there. Her body, however, was found 40 miles east, in Uffington.
Steve Fulcher, the lead detective in the inquiry, said yesterday he thought Sian's body had been moved from the place where she was murdered. He added that officers had found CCTV images of her being abducted which helped them focus their efforts on locating a green Toyota taxi.
Post-mortem tests were still being conducted on Ms O'Callaghan's body, he said, adding: “This is a tragic situation. I have spoken to the family; our thoughts are with Sian and her family.”