Tuesday 28 March 2017

Crying Nathan Matthews tells court he didn't intend to kill Becky Watts

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Nathan Matthews crying in the dock as Adam Vaitilingam QC (left) looks on at Bristol Crown Court, as he told the jury he did not intend to murder his stepsister Becky Watts. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Nathan Matthews crying in the dock as Adam Vaitilingam QC (left) looks on at Bristol Crown Court, as he told the jury he did not intend to murder his stepsister Becky Watts. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Rod Minchin and Claire Hayhurst

Nathan Matthews broke down in tears as he told a jury he did not intend to murder his stepsister Becky Watts.

The 28-year-old started crying and slumped into the witness box holding his head in his hands as she started giving evidence during his murder trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Matthews and his girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, 21, are accused of killing the 16-year-old in a sexually motivated kidnap plot on February 19.

Bristol Crown Court has heard the pair targeted 5ft 1ins Becky due to their shared unnatural interest in petite teenage girls.

They allegedly murdered Becky in her bedroom at her family home in Crown Hill, Bristol, before driving her body to their home in Cotton Mill Lane, Barton Hill, Bristol.

Prosecutors say the couple dismembered Becky in the bath of the terraced property using a circular saw, before packing her body parts in bags, cling film and tape.

These were discovered in suitcases, bags and a blue box in a garden shed in Barton Court - 80 metres from their home - in the early hours of March 3.

Adam Vaitilingam QC, defending, asked his client: "Did you intend to kill Becky?"

Fighting back tears, Matthews replied: "No."

Mr Vaitilingam asked: "Did you intend to cause her really serious injury?"

Matthews answered: "No."

He then burst into tears, telling the court: "No, no... No I didn't."

Matthews then slumped into the witness box holding his head in his hands and loudly crying.

He then paused to recompose himself and took some sips of water before continuing to give his evidence.

Matthews entered the witness box on day 14 of the trial to give the jury his account of events in February and March this year.

Mr Vaitilingam asked him: "Excluding Shauna, did you have a plan to kidnap Becky Watts?"

Matthews replied: "Yes."

Mr Vaitilingam asked: "Was Shauna part of that plan?"

He replied: "No."

Mr Vaitilingam asked: "You admit that you had a plan to kidnap Becky but you deny that you conspired with Shauna to do so?"

Matthews told the court: "Yes."

Mr Vaitilingam said: "You and Shauna Hoare are charged with the murder of Becky Watts. Putting Shauna out of the picture, the jury have been told that you pleaded not guilty to murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Is that right?"

Matthews replied: "Yes."

Referring to the perverting course of justice charge, Mr Vaitilingam asked Matthews: "You admit that you hid, then dismembered, then hid again Becky's body?"

Matthews said: "Yes."

Mr Vaitilingam asked: "Do you admit that you lied to the police when they were investigating her disappearance."

Matthews told the jury: "Yes."

Mr Vaitilingam asked his client whether he had prevented the lawful burial of a corpse and he replied: "By my actions, yes. I didn't... yeah..."

Matthews, of Hazelbury Drive, Warmley, South Gloucestershire, denies murder and conspiracy to kidnap.

He admits killing Becky, perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Hoare, of Cotton Mill Lane, Bristol, denies murder, conspiracy to kidnap, perverting the course of justice, preventing burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon.

The residents of the Barton Court property, Karl Demetrius, 30, and his partner Jaydene Parsons, 23, admit assisting an offender.

Donovan Demetrius - Karl's twin brother - of Marsh Lane, Bristol, and James Ireland, 23, of Richmond Villas, Avonmouth - a work colleague of Karl's - deny the charge.

Becky's father, Darren Galsworthy, and his wife, Anjie - Matthews' mother - sat in the public gallery, watching and listening carefully as he gave his evidence.

Matthews insisted he had never threatened to kill Becky.

The jury had earlier heard the teenager's friend, Courtney Bicker, say that Becky had told her about such threats.

Matthews said: "No, I couldn't say for 100% I didn't make a random joke about something. I never threatened Becky.

"I definitely didn't threaten to kill her but I don't know what I could have said that she has taken the wrong way."

Courtney had previously told the court that Matthews spoke of "ripping out someone's toenails".

But Matthews said he was not serious, and added: "It was a joke - it was toilet humour."

Earlier, he told the court he was brought up by his grandmother, Margaret May, and had no relationship with his father.

After leaving school, he studied to be an electrician at college but failed the second year of the course.

He also joined the Territorial Army and got his first job with Domino's Pizza, working as a delivery driver on a moped. He later did a similar delivery job for Sainsbury's.

But he said he suffered from health issues, which caused him pain.

He said: "I've always been in pain but it was always just my back or my legs, my shins when I used to walk to school but it spread to my arms. When I sneeze I can collapse from the pain."

Matthews also said he was a hoarder and he was the reason his and Hoare's home in Cotton Mill Lane was cluttered.

He told the jury that he suffered from anxiety and anger issues and agreed he could be described as being very "black and white".

"I get overwhelmed," Matthews said.

"If I am shown violence then I will show it back. You don't corner a rat in the corner because they attack.

"The colour black is black. It is not easy to explain, I end up splitting hairs and annoying people."

He said he suffered from mental health problems but did not discuss them with his family as it caused them "stress".

The jury heard that Matthews' mother met Becky's father more than 10 years ago and at that point Mr Galsworthy had two young children - Becky and her older brother Daniel.

Matthews said he "got on" with Daniel and initially with Becky.

"It was civil as she got older but I didn't like the way she treated my mum, talked to her, ordered her about and left trip hazards for my mum for fall over," he said.

Mr and Mrs Galsworthy married two or three years ago.

"I was best man," Matthews said. "I did a very short speech."

Matthews broke down in tears again and sobbed with head against the witness box when Mr Vaitilingam asked him to describe his mother's health after she was diagnosed with MS.

"I think it was her balance or her eyes were twitching. Obviously I was really worried because we didn't know what it was," he said.

Within a year, Mrs Galsworthy was diagnosed with progressive MS, which took hold "really fast".

Asked what his concerns were, Matthews replied: "She is nice and kind and would do anything for anyone and not expect anything in return.

"The main problem was Becky would leave things on the stairs, in the kitchen, in places where my mum would walk.

"Obviously step on a bit of clothing, you slip straight away. That was the main problem with her leaving trip hazards around.

"We said 'Can you tidy it up and move them?' and she just wouldn't listen to anyone."

Matthews said Hoare was his mother's registered carer and they would both do cleaning chores for Mrs Galsworthy, including vacuuming, walking the dog, cooking and washing.

"Sometimes Becky would be there but she would stay up in her bedroom or come down and slam the door or something," he said.

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