Stepbrother in court over Becky Watts murder charge

A court artist's sketch of Nathan Matthews in the dock. Picture: PA

A court artist's sketch of Nathan Matthews in the dock. Picture: PA

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

Nathan Matthews, 28, did not enter a plea to the single charge during a short hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

His girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, 21, appeared before the court charged with intending to pervert the course of public justice.

The pair, who share a terraced house in Cotton Mill Lane, Bristol, were dealt with in separate hearings before a district judge.

Charges allege that Matthews, who was unshaven, murdered Becky between 18 February and 1 March in Bristol.

Hoare is accused of intending to pervert the course of public justice by “hindering” the police investigation to assist Matthews.

Members of the public gathered outside the court, then punched and shouted at three white custody vans leaving the building.

District Judge Lynne Matthews told Matthews he would next appear before Bristol Crown Court today, via video link.

“As we all know, this case will have to go to the Crown Court,” the judge told Matthews. “I cannot entertain any application for bail this morning and thus I will remand you in custody until tomorrow.”

Matthews, wearing a baggy blue T-shirt, showed no emotion as he was led to the cells by a ­female security officer.

Hoare, also wearing a baggy blue T-shirt, also did not enter a plea to the single charge against her 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, handcuffed to a female dock officer, was led to the cells. She will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on 2 April.

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

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said that five people arrested on Monday of suspicion of assisting an offender remain in custody. They were arrested after detectives attended a house in Barton Hill in Bristol, following information Becky’s body had been “cut up”.

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