1,300 suspects walk free – including rapists, child molesters and at least one murderer

Blundering police let 1,300 suspects walk free – including rapists, child molesters and at least one murderer – because of errors with paperwork or procedure


  • Convicted killer escaped prosecution for second murder just last month

  • Since 2008, 262 suspected violent criminals have escaped prosecution

  • Christopher Halliwell confessed to murder of Becky Godden-Edwards

  • But he escaped justice after a detective failed to read him his rights

More than 1,300 suspected criminals including alleged rapists, child molesters, violent offenders and at least one murderer have escaped justice in the past five years because of police blunders over arrests.

Figures show that errors in paperwork, failure to read suspects their rights or mistakes in the way officers conducted interviews have meant at least 200 suspects a year walked free without charge.

Since 2008, these have included 262 suspected violent criminals and 21 sex offenders, three of whom were suspected rapists and one of who was accused of sexually abusing a young boy.

A convicted killer escaped prosecution for a second murder because an officer failed to follow procedures. The official statistics, derived from Freedom of Information requests, provoked fury.

Conservative MP Nick de Bois, a member of the Commons Justice Committee, said: ‘These figures are quite shocking and I hope an investigation into the cases in question takes place to see if lessons can be learned so we can stop this happening in future.’

Javed Khan, chief executive of charity Victim Support, added: ‘It is a worrying state of affairs if the people who are there to uphold the law are putting criminals in a position where they may be able to evade justice.’

Last month a detective who failed to read a killer his rights when persuading him to reveal where a woman’s body had been dumped was told he could be sacked.

Wiltshire Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher faces a gross misconduct hearing after Christopher Halliwell (pictured below) escaped prosecution for the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards, 20.

Christopher Halliwell

Halliwell confessed to the killing but was not tried as Det Supt Fulcher breached the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

Halliwell is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of another girl, Sian O’Callaghan, 22.

London was the worst area for errors by police, with 568 potential criminals let free over five years.