Sunday 17 November 2019

Stepbrother of Becky Watts remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with her murder

A police van believed to be carrying Nathan Matthews arrives at Bristol Magistrate's Court, Bristol, where he was due to appear charged with the murder of his stepsister Becky Watts. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A police van believed to be carrying Nathan Matthews arrives at Bristol Magistrate's Court, Bristol, where he was due to appear charged with the murder of his stepsister Becky Watts. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Forensic officers leave the house of Rebecca Watts's family in Crown Hill, as seven people remain in custody in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of teenager Becky Watts following the discovery of body parts yesterday. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A police van believed to be carrying Nathan Matthews arrives at Bristol Magistrate's Court, Bristol, where he was due to appear charged with the murder of his stepsister Becky Watts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 5, 2015. Matthews, 28, and his girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, 21, are set to face magistrates in Bristol charged in connection with her death. He is accused of murdering his stepsister while Hoare is charged with intending to pervert the course of justice. See PA story COURTS Missing. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Claire Hayhurst and Rod Minchin

The stepbrother of 16-year-old Becky Watts has appeared in court charged with her murder.

Nathan Matthews, 28, spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth at the hearing at Bristol Magistrates' Court.

No details of the case against him were revealed to the court and he did not enter a plea to the single charge of murdering Becky between February 18 and March 1 in Bristol.

Matthews, who was unshaven and wearing a blue T-shirt, was handcuffed to a female dock officer and led to the cells.

He will next appear at Bristol Crown Court by video link tomorrow, District Judge Lynne Matthews said.

"As we all know, this case will have to go to the Crown Court," the judge told Matthews.

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

"I cannot entertain any application for bail this morning and thus I will remand you in custody until tomorrow."

Matthews, of Hazelbury Drive in Warmley, showed no emotion throughout the hearing.

Members of Becky's immediate family did not attend the short session.

Matthews' girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, 21, was then brought in to the dock for her case to be heard.

Hoare, also dressed in a baggy blue t shirt, spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth.

She did not enter a plea to the single charge of perverting the course of justice and no bail application was made.

The charge states that Hoare "did a series of acts which had the tendency to pervert the course of public justice in that you hindered the police investigation to assist Nathan Matthews and intended for him to avoid detection for the murder of Rebecca Watts".

Hoare, of Cotton Mill Lane, Bristol, was then handcuffed to a female dock officer and led to the cells.

The judge said: "This case also has to go to the Crown Court and is connected to the previous case.

"I understand that there is no application for bail. I send your case to the Crown Court at Bristol."

Hoare will appear before the court for a preliminary hearing on April 2.

The public gallery in court room one, where the pair appeared, was packed with 40 people - mostly journalists.

Members of the public waiting outside banged on the walls of a white custody van which left at 10.55 am and shouted abuse as it drove from the court. Four men and one woman, arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, remain in police custody.

Becky, described as "wonderful" by her family, vanished from her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, at 11.15am on February 19.

Avon and Somerset Police launched a huge search - involving six police teams each day - after she was reported missing the following afternoon.

On Monday night, detectives received information that Becky's body had been "cut up" and they attended a house in Barton Court, Barton Hill, Bristol.

Body parts were discovered at the address, which continues to be combed by forensics teams.

A private ambulance was seen leaving the property on Tuesday afternoon. Bouquets, teddies and cards have been left at the family home where Becky went missing, and at the site where body parts were found.

The five people arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender following the grim discovery are four men, aged 29, 29, 23 and 23, and one woman, also aged 23.

Matthews was previously identified as the teenager's stepbrother - the son of her father Darren's wife Anjie - by family members.

PA Media

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