Becky Watts murder – verdicts in

Becky Watts murder – verdicts in

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Photo from ITV

Introduction

The Becky Watts murder trial is one that has gained a lot of interest in the press. On 11th November 2015 it concluded with mixed verdicts on the charges all the defendants faced following a three week trial.

 

Factual Background

In February of this year Becky Watts, a 16 year old from Bristol was killed by Nathan Matthews, her 28 year old step-brother.

There was never any doubt about that, not least because he admitted it. The trial was about whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter, as well as who else (if anyone) was responsible with him).

Mr Matthews said that he had gone to ‘kidnap’ Ms Watts, not out of any desire to use her as a ‘sexual plaything’, as was the prosecution case, but to ‘teach her a lesson’ over the way that she was behaving with other members of the family.

His case was that he went to her house on his own with a ‘kidnap kit’ – tape, handcuffs, a stun gun (this gave rise to the offensive weapons charge), mask, and other items. Having grabbed Ms Watts, there was a struggle during which Mr Matthews accidentally strangled her.

After this, he took her body home and, over a period of days, dismembered it, moving it to a shed (this lead to the charge of preventing a lawful burial).

In this he had assistance from Karl Demetrius and James Ireland who helped him carry the bags. It is not clear what they were told, or what there account was, but it lead to them being charged with Assisting an Offender.

Ms Hoare said that she was not party to any plot to kidnap Ms Watts, and therefore had nothing to do with her death. Further, she had no idea that Mr Matthews was dismembering Becky’s body.

Both Mr Matthews and Ms Hoare told the police at various times that they did not know where Ms Watts was. This lead to the charges of Perverting the Course of Justice.

Two further people – Karl Demetrius and Jaydene Parsons, have previously pleaded guilty to Assisting an Offender. It is not quite clear what they did, but it seems that they were the occupants of the property where the shed was located.

 

 

Allegations and Verdicts

Nathan Matthews :

  • Murder – Guilty
  • Manslaughter – N/A (alternative to murder)
  • Conspiracy (with SH) to Kidnap – Guilty
  • Perverting the Course of Justice – Already pleaded Guilty
  • Preventing a Lawful Burial – Already pleaded Guilty

 

Shauna Hoare :

  • Murder – Not Guilty
  • Manslaughter – Guilty
  • Conspiracy (with NM) to Kidnap – Guilty
  • Perverting the Course of Justice – Guilty
  • Preventing a Lawful Burial – Guilty
  • Possession of a prohibited weapon (2 stun guns) – Guilty

 

James Ireland :

  • Assisting an Offender – Not Guilty

 

Donovan Demetrius :

  • Assisting an Offender – Not Guilty

 

Sentence

The sentencing hearing will be tomorrow. Mr Matthews faces a mandatory life sentence, and it it likely that this will have a starting point of 30 years, as it involved sexual conduct.

Ms Hoare presents a more difficult sentencing exercise. The Judge will look at her involvement and culpability and see whether she is ‘dangerous’ (in the way that it is defined in the Criminal Justice System).

Whatever the outcome of that, Ms Hoare also faces a lengthy period of time in prison, but nowhere near the amount that Mr Matthews does. We would guess it would be a determinate sentence in double figures, but will wait and see.

As to the other two who pleaded guilty – it depends on what they did, but if it was allowing their property to be used to store the body (maybe not knowing that it was a body) then we would estimate sentences of around 2 years for Mr Demetrius and maybe a suspended sentence for Ms Parsons.

We shall return to this case tomorrow.

 

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Wouldn’t the starting point for Nathan Matthews life sentence be a whole life tariff as this was a sexual motivated murder of a child which involved the child’s abduction?

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