Monday 18 December 2017

Becky Watts trial: Irish family defend stepdaughter accused of murder

Shauna Hoare being interviewed by police
Shauna Hoare being interviewed by police

Sasha Brady

The Roscommon family of a 21-year-old girl standing trial for the murder of teenager Becky Watts say she's innocent.

Shauna Hoare and her boyfriend, Nathan Matthews (28), are standing trial in Bristol accused with murdering his 16-year-old stepsister Becky Watts - before dismembering her body with a power tool and hiding the remains in a garden shed.

The Sunday World spoke with Shauna's family in Roscommon who believe that the 21-year-old is innocent.

Her stepmother Lucy Watts - who is married to Shauna's father Ernie Hoare - said that they family do not believe Shauna was involved in the killing.

"If it was your own child, could you believe that they done it? Exactly!" Lucy said.

Read more: Becky Watts trial: Stepbrother 'wanted to scare her by kidnapping her'

In her interview with the Sunday World, Lucy revealed that the family believe that Shauna was living under the control of her boyfriend.

She claims that when Shauna was just 16-years-old, she was forced to give Nathan oral sex in exchange for permission to wear make-up.

Lucy said that neither she, nor Shauna's father Ernie, could believe that the "kind" young girl would have participated in such a brutal killing.

"Shauna is my stepdaughter... Ernie's daughter," said Lucy.

"We were in contact with her until about 2010 and after that we only really had contact with her through Facebook. But even then we don't know whether that would have been him [Nathan] or her because it was all just one-liners. Shauna was going out with him since she was 13 or 14 and he was much older."

Lucy said that Shauna was a "kind girl" when she was growing up but that she changed when she met Matthews.

"We knew she was in a relationship with him, but we didn't know she was in it so early," Lucy contined.

"I do believe she was controlled by him because when we went over one time her mother said to me 'I don't like him'

Becky Watts 'told friend her stepbrother graphically described how he would kill her' - court hears 

"And then when they left she told me that if Shauna wanted to wear make-up, she would have to give him a bl**job and things like that."

Matthews has conceded that he killed Becky and concealed her remains after cutting up her body but both he and Hoare have denied she had any knowledge of what he was up to.

Matthews told detectives after his arrest that he had kept Hoare in the dark over what had happened.

In a prepared statement he said: “If Shauna’s fingerprints or DNA are on any of the things I used when dealing with the body it will be entirely innocent … "

Couple accused of murdering teenager Becky Watts had threesome with another woman, court hears  

Matthews admits he went to Becky's bedroom with a mask on his face to "teach her a lesson" and "scare her".

He claims he put Becky's body in his car, drove home with Hoare, then waited until she was asleep before moving it to their bathroom.

In an interview with police on March 2, Shauna described Matthews as "violent and controlling" and claimed that he had tried to strangle her before.

After being arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Becky she said: "In the past Nathan has been violent towards me. He tends to steam up."

Read more: Becky Watts trial: Murder accused 'exchanged messages about kidnapping girls', court hears 

Bristol crown court heard that Hoare told police that she would not have stayed in the house with Matthews had she known what he had done.

She said: “I wouldn’t stay in that house knowing what he had done. I was always slightly scared of him. I didn’t know him at all. I thought I knew who he was, what he would do and what he wouldn’t do. Turns out I didn’t know him at all. I slept next to him. It makes me feel kind of sick.”

Speaking about her stepdaughter's testimony Lucy said: "Even if she did know what her partner was doing, she would have been too scared to go to the police.

"I hope she's found not guilty. Him? I hope he gets locked away where he can never hurt any young girl again."

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