A British couple has been found guilty of killing the man’s stepsister when they tried kidnapping her, motivated by what prosecutors said was a shared sexual desire for “petite teenage girls.”
Nathan Matthews, 28, was found guilty Wednesday of the murder of his 16-year-old stepsister Becky Watts, whom he suffocated when he tried taking her from her Bristol home in February, according to reports.
Matthews dragged her body into his car’s trunk and brought it to his home where he and his live-in girlfriend Shauna Hoare, 21, dismembered her body with a circular saw and hid the pieces in a garden shed, prosecutors said.
Hoare was acquitted of murder after telling the jury that she, too, was a victim of Matthews and over the years had been controlled by him through physical and psychological abuse. She was found guilty of manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and preventing Watts’ lawful burial, the Press Association reported.
It took a jury of 10 women and one man just three hours and 27 minutes to return verdicts for Matthew, Hoare and two men accused of helping move and hide Watts’ body parts. James Ireland, 23, and Donovan Demetrius, 30, were acquitted of assisting an offender.
Watts’ friends and family, including her stepmother and Matthew’s mother, were reportedly in court for the decision, wearing blue ribbons in memory of the popular teen.
Matthews and Hoare showed no emotion when the verdicts were returned, the Guardian wrote.
The girl was home alone when the pair came for her on February 11 and she sent a final text to her boyfriend around 11 a.m. They brought a stun gun, handcuffs, tape and a large bag, prosecutors had said.
“There followed a deliberate, carefully planned and grotesquely executed plan to cover up her killing,” prosecutor William Mousley QC reportedly told the jury.
Matthews, a former Territorial Army soldier, reportedly said the mask he wore at that time of the kidnapping slipped while he struggled with his stepsister, so he strangled her.
Parts of Watts’ body were found encased in layers of plastic and salt in a shed not far from Matthews and Hoare’s apartment less than two weeks after she went missing.
A post mortem examination found that she had been stabbed 15 times in the abdomen after she died. She also had been stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver, prosecutors said.
“As we reviewed the evidence they gathered, it became clear not only that Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare had conspired to kidnap Becky Watts, but that their actions were motivated by their own sexual interests,” Chief Crown Prosecutor for the South West Barry Hughes said after the hearing.
“Matthews and Hoare have never expressed any remorse for Becky’s death, demonstrative of the callous way they took a young woman’s life just as she was starting to plan her future.”