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Double killer linked to 27 murders including Midlands prostitute

Notorious double killer Christopher Halliwell has been linked to 27 more murders in a sensational new book – including the brutal killing of a Wolverhampton sex worker.

Janine Downes , 22, was found dead in a lay-by on February 2, 1991 after being strangled and sexually assaulted.

On the 30th anniversary of her death this year, West Mercia Police appealed for anyone with information about her murder to come forward.

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Halliwell, 53, is serving life for killing Becky Godden-Edwards, 20, and Sian O’Callaghan, 22.

He abducted the pair while they were leaving nightclubs in Swindon, Wiltshire, in 2011.

ITV broadcast the first episode of A Confession, a six-part drama series based on the case, in 2019, with Martin Freeman playing Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher and Joe Absolom playing the twisted killer.

Christopher Halliwell

Now the New Millennium Serial Killer, a book by former police intelligence officer Chris Clark and crime writer Bethan Trueman, suggests he could be responsible for dozens more deaths.

The authors fear Halliwell could be behind the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence from York – police are currently searching two lakes and woodland in their hunt for the missing 35-year-old who vanished 12 years ago.

Retired officer Chris Clark said: “We are looking at 27 additional murders. These are 21 murders and six missing people believed to be murdered.”

Steve Fulcher, a former officer who helped jail Halliwell, said in the book’s foreword: “There is overwhelming evidence pointing to the notion that Halliwell is responsible for many further victims beyond the two murders for which he’s been convicted.”

He said a “significant number of women” contacted him and Becky’s mum Karen Edwards to say that they had near misses with Halliwell.

Earlier this year West Mercia Police appealed for anyone with information about Janine Downe’s death to come forward.

Det Insp Lee Holehouse said: “To date, despite a continuous and full investigation and several arrests being made, nobody has been charged with her murder and I desperately want to change that.

“At the time of her death, Janine was a 22-year-old woman living in the Wolverhampton area.

“On February 2 1991, Janine’s body was found dumped in a lay-by on the A464 just outside Shifnal, near Hatton. She had been dragged a short distance and concealed in a hedge.

“Janine was found half-naked wearing only a paisley patterned blouse, a bra and blue ankle socks and had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

“We are still unclear as to what happened to Janine in the hours and days before her death. We are unclear as to whether it’s likely that Janine was killed by a stranger or someone known to her.”

He continued: “We do know Janine was a sex worker working in the Wolverhampton area at around the time of her death and would appeal to anybody who was within this circle at the time or even now and may who have information to contact us.

“Moreover, I appeal to anybody with any information which may lead to the identity of Janine’s killer to get in touch in order that we can get the justice that Janine and her family deserve.

“Somebody somewhere knows what happened. Janine’s family have lived without closure for far too long. If you know what happened or have any information which may help, please help us.”

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