Bristol

Becky Watts 'was just beginning to enjoy life'

Becky Watts
Image caption Becky Watts was killed by her step-brother and his girlfriend

Teenager Becky Watts was murdered in her own bedroom by her step-brother Nathan Matthews, who then dismembered her body and hid it in suitcases in a neighbour's shed. His girlfriend, Shauna Hoare, was convicted of manslaughter. Here, Becky's father and step-mother describe how their "world imploded".

Small, slight and timid, Becky Watts never really stood out in a crowd - she reserved her exuberant side for family and friends who remember her as a "big-hearted" girl who was "full of life".

Becky had at last managed to overcome anorexia and the crippling shyness of her childhood. Finally, at the age of 16, she was beginning to enjoy life as a fashion-conscious teenager.

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Media captionBecky's father and step-mother, Darren and Anjie Galsworthy described their ordeal as "hell on earth"

The night before she disappeared, Becky played skittles at a local rugby club and then stayed with a friend who remembers her "being happy, just having a laugh really".

But her life was about to be cut cruelly short by her jealous step-brother.

Matthews, now 28, felt Becky was mistreating her closest family and especially, he claimed, his mother.

He said he had only planned to scare his step-sister in a kidnap plot, but the jury clearly did not believe him and quickly found him guilty of her murder.

'Safe and secure'

As a child, Becky's life centred on her family and their home in St George, a suburb in the east of Bristol.

"She was like two different people," recalls her step-mother Anjie Galsworthy.

"She had loads of confidence with us - she felt safe and secure - but the minute she stepped out of the front door she was timid, mousy."

Becky had gone to live with her father, Darren Galsworthy, and Anjie at the age of three.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police/PA
Image caption Becky's father said "ironically" her first clear word was "Nathan"

Despite a nine-year age gap, Becky felt secure around her step-brother - especially when she was little.

"Ironically her first clear word was Nathan," says her father. "They were like brother and sister - they acted like it as well."

But jealously and insecurity were never far from the surface.

There was an "underlying tension" between them, he adds.

"They were both fighting for Anjie's attention... nothing was said, you just let it pass. We didn't see any danger in it."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Darren and Anjie said their world "imploded" following the murder
Image copyright PA
Image caption Becky loved fashion and clothes, "enjoyed life" and was planning her future, her best friend said

Anjie poured her love and attention on Becky.

"We were inseparable," says Anjie, who brought Becky up as her own daughter.

"When she first went to infant school she never wanted to stay. I had to stay with her till she stopped crying… I wanted to build her confidence so I did all the things she wanted me to do."

'I loved him'

The family was close but much of Anjie's time and attention was taken up by Becky.

"All the kids were all brought up near enough together," says Darren. "We were out every weekend without fail... He [Matthews] was always with us."

"I loved him like he was my own son. We were a little family unit. Maybe a little dysfunctional, different parents and partners... but we were quite a strong little unit."

Image caption Becky was "quiet, shy but a really lovely little girl," said her teacher Lucy Trutch

Becky went to Summerhill Junior School where her teachers remember her as a quiet but happy pupil.

"She was incredibly shy and incredibly quiet, but by the end of year five she had started to come out of herself," says Lucy Trutch, who taught her for two years.

"By the end her confidence had grown and she had bloomed into a beautiful young lady.

"She had so much to give, so much potential."

But the move to secondary school proved hard for Becky - she was bullied and developed anorexia, with her weight plummeting to six stone (38kg).

Under hospital care she slowly began eating again but Darren says it was a "horrible dark time" for the family.

Nathan Matthews did not recognise her illness, though, believing it was just an attention-grabbing ploy.

"She would have liked the fact she lost weight," he told police following his arrest.

As she recovered, Becky began to turn her life around.

And, as she started to grow in confidence, the tension between her and Matthews started to come to a head.

Image caption Becky began to find her style and become "very fashion conscious" as she recovered from anorexia

There was a series of family rows and Becky left the house on several occasions.

While her step-mother said she was just a typical teenager, Matthews saw things differently.

He told police: "I don't particularly like her... What annoys me is how she speaks to my mum."

Anjie had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Matthews said he believed Becky was being "selfish" and that her behaviour was further risking his mother's health.

Image caption Courtney Bicker says she will remember her best friend "for how she was - a really pretty girl, full of life"

Becky made two close friends while she was being treated for anorexia.

One of them, Courtney Bicker, says: "We used to jam out to music - she was full of life, a happy person.

"She liked online shopping - every week new clothing, new shoes, make-up. Her hair was her pride and joy.

"A lot of things were going right in her life - good friends, boyfriends, college."

And all of this was snatched away by Matthews.

"I just miss her; wish she was still here," says Anjie. "I miss everything, even the arguments."

"I still listen out for the door opening," adds Darren. "Every night I wait for her to come back."

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