THE stepbrother of 16-year-old Becky Watts has appeared before a Crown Court charged with her murder.
Nathan Matthews, 28, did not enter a plea to the single charge he faces during a short hearing at Bristol Crown Court.
I will put a tentative trial date of 1 SeptemberJudge Neil Ford QC
Matthews, who was unshaven and wearing a grey sweatshirt, appeared via video link from Bristol prison.
No details of the case were given and he spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear proceedings.
Judge Neil Ford QC, Recorder of Bristol, remanded Matthews in custody and set another hearing for 26 March.
Matthews’ girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, 21, will also appear before the court on that date, charged with perverting the course of justice.
The judge said: “Mr Matthews, the next hearing in this case will be on 26 March and I hope you will attend by television link.
“You will remain in custody in the meantime.”
The judge said: “The position at this stage is that I will put a provisional, tentative trial date of 1 September. It is very tentative.
“We don’t yet know the full extent of the case and whether it can be ready for 1 September.”
Prosecutor James Ward told the court: “Nathan Matthews is charged with the murder of Rebecca Watts.
“The allegations of this case have been well-rehearsed in the press recently and I do not propose to go into the finer details.
“There are still people helping the police with their inquiries. Therefore, it would be wrong to place before the media further details about this case.”
Mr Ward said police were assessing “at least” 1,200 exhibits in connection with the case.
“Much forensic work needs to be done,” he said.
Paul Cook, representing Matthews, said his client was not making an application for bail.
Five people arrested on Monday on suspicion of assisting an offender remain in custody.
They were detained after detectives raided a house in Bristol, following information that Becky’s body had been “cut up”.
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.
The five people arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender following the grim discovery are four men – two aged 29, and two 23 – and one woman, also aged 23.
Becky, who was described as “wonderful” by her family, vanished from her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, at 11.15am on 19 February.
Police launched a huge search after she was reporting missing the following afternoon, including a social media campaign using the hashtag #FindBecky.
Bouquets, teddies and cards have been left at her family home.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS