Sunday 21 January 2018

Becky Watts murder trial: Accused Shauna Hoare 'lied about kidnap messages in panic'

Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire
Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire

Rod Minchin and Claire Hayhurst

The woman accused of murdering Becky Watts lied to police when they uncovered messages she sent about kidnapping teenage girls, a court has heard.

Shauna Hoare, 21, allegedly killed the 16-year-old in a sexually motivated kidnap plot with her boyfriend - Becky's stepbrother - Nathan Matthews, 28.

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

Bristol Crown Court heard that the pair, said to share an interest in petite teenagers, targeted 5ft 1in Becky in her bedroom at her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, on February 19.

Becky's body was driven to the couple's home in Cotton Mill Lane, Bristol, and dismembered in their bath with a £80 Mac Allister circular saw.

Her remains were discovered in a garden shed in Barton Court - 80 metres from their terraced home - in the early hours of March 3.

Following their arrests, police found text and Facebook messages between Hoare and Matthews, who had been together for six years, about kidnap.

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

During police interview on May 7, Hoare insisted she had not sent the messages and claimed Matthews or another person could have used her phone to do so.

On her first day of giving evidence, Hoare, dressed in a black jacket, black trousers and a peach blouse, admitted she had lied in that interview.

"I knew what Nathan had been charged with," Hoare told the jury. "I knew what had actually happened and I knew how bad it looked."

In of the messages, sent between November and December last year, Hoare wrote: "Just went into Costcutter and saw a pretty petite girl. Almost knocked her out to bring home lol xoxo"

Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire
Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire

A reply 20 seconds later from Matthews read: "Don't you 'almost' me ... Now DO IT bitch!! xxxxx"

Hoare then said: "lmfao yeah I'll just go back in time to when I saw her then time travel her to our attic lol xoxo"

Hoare told the court she had felt "panic" when confronted with the messages by police and so lied.

"I regret it massively because, one, I should not have lied and, second, because of the way it looks and I should have told the truth in the first place," she added.

Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire
Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire

The court heard that Matthews experienced mood swings and Hoare would send him messages when she was out.

"Sometimes I would make things up to get him in a good mood," she said.

Andrew Langdon QC, defending Hoare, asked her why she did not rebuke Matthews for writing inappropriate texts about teenage girls.

"If I had said something like that he would have got angry," she said. "A lot of the time I accepted the inappropriate things he said.

"One, because I thought they were completely harmless inappropriate comments, and two, because I liked him when he was in a good mood."

Mr Langdon asked: "Did you think Nathan was going to kidnap a girl?"

Hoare replied: "No."

The jury heard that two stun guns were purchased in the name Shauna Phillips - the name Hoare used unofficially as she did not like her surname.

These were posted to Becky's family home, where Hoare was a carer for Matthews's mother, Anjie Galsworthy - Becky's stepmother.

Hoare told the court she had seen one of the weapons, with POLICE written on the side, in her bedroom.

"I thought it was a torch," she said. "He used it as a torch in the bedroom. He had many torches."

Hoare said she was aware her boyfriend was attracted to teenage girls and watched pornography.

But she insisted she was not aware of a video found on his laptop entitled: "Virgin teen gets raped in her own house".

"Occasionally he would make inappropriate comments about women, it wasn't necessarily specific to an age," she added.

"He would make out that he would like to have sex with them. He would generally say 'I would give them a go'."

Earlier, she told the court that Matthews controlled her food and money, and was physically violent towards her.

"Sometimes life was OK and quite normal and sometimes it was quite stressful," she added.

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.

Matthews previously told the court he brought a "kidnapping kit" of a red suitcase, handcuffs, tape, a stun gun and a mask to Becky's home on February 19.

But Hoare said she had not seen the red suitcase in the boot of his black Vauxhall Zafira.

The couple drove to Crown Hill and Matthews took the house key from under the recycling boxes outside before letting them in, she said.

After they entered the house, she walked straight to the kitchen to take a cigarette from Mrs Galsworthy's drawer and went to the garden.

Weather reports from the day suggest it was raining at the time but Hoare said it was not raining hard and she was not wearing a waterproof jacket.

"I finished [the cigarette], then I would have stayed outside for a little bit. Then I would have gone in," she told the jury.

She went to the kitchen and washed her hands to get rid of the smell of the cigarette and heard noises from the hallway.

"I heard someone coming down the stairs and a door shut, the front door," she said.

"I assumed it was Becky going out."

Hoare said she believed Becky was in the house when they arrived as she heard the teenager's music playing.

She walked through to the front room and found Matthews sat on the sofa, with CBeebies on the television.

About an hour later, Mrs Galsworthy, who suffers from progressive MS, returned home from a hospital appointment.

"I think it was on that day later on that she asked me if Becky had gone out or Becky was in," she said.

"I said 'I think she went out'."

Later, Becky's boyfriend Luke Oberhansli knocked on the front door looking for her and Hoare answered.

"Anjie came and spoke to Luke and explained she hadn't seen her either," she said.

"I went upstairs and knocked on her door and no-one answered. I shouted to Anjie to say that no-one has answered.

"I popped my head round the corner, looked round the door and saw she wasn't in."

Hoare said the couple returned home at 7pm but went back to Becky's family home the following day.

During that afternoon, Matthews told her he had received a message from a friend who needed help and left the property.

By that time, Becky's family had become increasingly "worried" about her disappearance, Hoare said.

Hoare used her phone to search for the length of time before a person could be reported missing.

"I thought you had to wait 24 hours and I was concerned that because she was a minor could we call the police sooner," she told the jury.

Matthews returned to Crown Hill at about 4pm with a cut on his hand but Hoare did not ask him about it, she said.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

Read more here:

Becky Watts murder trial: woman accused 'suffered terrifying violence from' victim's stepbrother 

Nathan Matthews recalls closing eyes to dismember stepsister Becky Watts with saw 

Becky Watts trial: Stepbrother Nathan Matthews tells court it would take 'maximum' of five minutes to kidnap her 

Becky Watts trial: Accused killer Nathan Matthews 'watched porn daily', court told 

Becky Watts trial: Nathan Matthews admits violence in relationship with Shauna Hoare 

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

Becky Watts trial: Laptop footage contained video of a teenager being raped 

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