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Taxi driver who denies murder of Becky Godden to represent himself at trial

Published 09/06/2016

Becky Godden was last seen alive in December 2002
Becky Godden was last seen alive in December 2002

A taxi driver will represent himself in court at trial after pleading not guilty to the murder of a prostitute who was missing for almost a decade.

Christopher Halliwell, 52, appeared at Bristol Crown Court to deny murdering Becky Godden, 20, between January 1 2003 and April 3 2008.

The body of Miss Godden was found in a shallow grave in a field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, eight years after she disappeared.

Halliwell, previously of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, was charged with Miss Godden's murder by Wiltshire Police on March 30.

The father of three, wearing a brown T-shirt and glasses, appeared at court via videolink from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire.

He confirmed that he has decided to represent himself during the murder trial, which will begin on September 5 before retired High Court judge Sir John Griffith Williams.

Mr Justice Openshaw told the court: "If he needs access to law books, everything should be done to ensure that he can properly prepare for his defence."

Steps will be taken to ensure Halliwell can have his papers and a table in the dock, from where he will cross examine witnesses.

Miss Godden's mother Karen Edwards, stepfather Charlie Edwards, and father John Godden, sat in the packed public gallery of court room two.

Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC said 100 witnesses, including nine experts, could give evidence during the trial.

A further pre-trial hearing will take place before the end of July on a date to be fixed.

The judge remanded Halliwell into custody and told him: "Okay Mr Halliwell, I will now speak to the trial judge to suggest that he arranges a date towards the end of July and the case will be mentioned again for a series of further orders to be made.

"I have suggested to Mr Haggan that he produce a document setting out the 100 or so witnesses who presently are to give evidence against you, and setting out very briefly the nature of the evidence they are to give, and you should indicate whether you require them to attend in person."

The last confirmed sighting of Miss Godden before her remains were found in March 2011 was by a police officer in Swindon in December 2002.

Her family thought Miss Godden, who had drifted into drugs and prostitution, was living in the Bristol area.

She had broken off contact with her family after saying she could not put her mother through the pain of watching her succumb to drugs.

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