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Anger as Sian accused faces court

The devastated father of Sian O'Callaghan has described her as "bright, bubbly, caring and friendly", hours after angry scenes erupted as the man accused of her murder appeared in court.

Fighting back tears Mick O'Callaghan said his family's pain at hearing of the 22-year-old's death had been "raw and overwhelming".

Earlier a police convoy was attacked outside Swindon Magistrates' Court as taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, 47, appeared in open court for the first time since being charged with killing Miss O'Callaghan.

Abuse was shouted from the public gallery in Court 2 and, after the short hearing, a crowd of more than 100 people screamed obscenities and tried to attack the van carrying Halliwell as it took him away. A large number of them chased the van down the street.

Afterwards Mr O'Callaghan, flanked by his son Liam, spoke at a press conference at Swindon's Gablecross Police Station.

Reading from a prepared statement, he said: "Sian was a bubbly, friendly, caring and loving girl. She was instantly likeable, beautiful and considerate. Although our pain at this time is raw and overwhelming, our memories of Sian will be a comfort to us in the dark days ahead."

On behalf of Miss O'Callaghan's mother Elaine, her brothers Liam and Aiden and sister Lora, and her boyfriend Kevin Reape, 25, he thanked friends, police and the people of Swindon for their support during the search for her body and since it was recovered from land close to the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire.

Showing no emotion Halliwell, of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, spoke only to confirm his name and address. He was dressed in a dark suit and a blue and white striped shirt.

Chief magistrate Angus MacPherson remanded him in custody until Wednesday when he will appear for a bail hearing at Bristol Crown Court. He will face a full hearing at the same court on April 8. No application for bail was made.

Miss O'Callaghan went missing in the early hours of Saturday March 19 after a night out with friends in Swindon. She was last seen alive in CCTV footage filmed close to the Suju nightclub in the early hours.

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