Thursday 22 August 2019

Becky Watts murder trial: 'Stepbrother treated Becky's body with a lack of compassion'

Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire
Rebecca Watts Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/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
Shauna Hoare being interviewed by police

Claire Hayhurst

The stepbrother of Becky Watts treated her body with "a lack of compassion and humanity" but that does not make him guilty of murder, his barrister told a jury.

Nathan Matthews, 28, allegedly suffocated his 16-year-old stepsister in a sexually motivated kidnap plot with girlfriend Shauna Hoare, 21, on February 19.

Becky's body was moved from her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, and dismembered in the couple's bath in Cotton Mill Lane, Bristol, with a circular saw.

Her remains, packed into suitcases and a blue plastic storage box, were discovered in a garden shed 80 metres away by police on March 3.

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

A jury of 10 women and one man heard the closing speech of Matthews's case in Becky's murder trial, following 21 days of evidence.

Adam Vaitilingam QC, for Matthews, asked the jury to consider the evidence in the case instead of their emotions towards his client.

"A man who has shown himself to be capable of killing a 16-year-old and then treating her body with such a lack of compassion and humanity," he said.

"I do not ask for sympathy for Nathan Matthews. He deserves none.

"I ask that you approach his case in the same fair way you would approach any defendant charged with any crime.

"His right to a fair trial from an independent jury hasn't disappeared because of what he has done."

Mr Vaitilingam said Matthews went to Becky's home on February 19 with the plan to kidnap his stepsister to teach her a lesson.

But he accidentally killed her after trying to make her unconscious during a struggle to put her inside a red suitcase.

"I am sure you will feel nothing but contempt and loathing for Nathan Matthews, you will feel nothing but sympathy and pity for Becky and her family," Mr Vaitilingam said.

"You promised to try this case on the evidence, not on emotion and all I can ask of you is that you keep that promise."

Mr Vaitilingam told the jury Matthews admitted he plotted to kidnap Becky but denied he had done so with Hoare, his partner of six years.

That "badly conceived, bone headed, extreme and frankly absurd" kidnap plan resulted in Becky's death, the barrister said.

The former TA soldier was not motivated by a sexual attraction to Becky but rather her behaviour towards his mother, Anjie Galsworthy, he insisted.

"There is no evidence to suggest that he had a sexual interest in Becky," Mr Vaitilingam said.

"Nothing anyone noticed, nothing he said, nothing he put in a text or on Facebook in an unguarded moment."

In a police interview, Becky's father Darren Galsworthy said she was "was rude, abusive and disrespectful to Anjie" and Matthews did not like it.

Jurors previously heard how Becky's body was dismembered into eight parts with a £80 Mac Allister circular saw bought by Matthews at B&Q on February 20.

The body parts were moved into a garden shed in Barton Court in the early hours of February 24 by Matthews and two men.

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.

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

Donovan Demetrius, of Marsh Lane, Bristol, and James Ireland, 23, of Richmond Villas, Avonmouth, deny the charge.

PA Media

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