Couple who killed Becky Watts 'granted £400,000 in legal aid'

The killers of Becky Watts were granted more than £400,000 in legal aid in the lead up to and during her murder trial, figures show.

Becky, 16, was murdered by her stepbrother Nathan Matthews in the bedroom of her home in Crown Hill, Bristol, on February 19 last year.

Matthews had hatched a sexually motivated plot to kidnap the teenager with his girlfriend Shauna Hoare, 21, who was later convicted of manslaughter.

The couple dismembered Becky's body and hid it in a garden shed 80 metres from their home, where it was discovered by police in the early hours of March 3.

Figures obtained by the Press Association show the couple were granted a total of £402,250.01 in legal aid - but more bills are due to be authorised and paid for Hoare.

Former TA soldier turned takeaway driver Matthews was granted £324,549.77 in legal aid, while Hoare had £77,700.24.

Matthews and Hoare were first arrested on suspicion of Becky's kidnap on February 28 last year, then arrested on suspicion of her murder on March 2.

In the lead up to their seven-week trial - which cost prosecutors £105,207.49 - Matthews was granted £2,261.59 and Hoare £1,044.95.

Matthews - the son of Becky's stepmother Anjie Galsworthy - was granted £180,808.51 for a solicitor during the trial and £141,479.67 for an advocate.

Hoare received £6,987.10 for a solicitor during the trial, in front of Mr Justice Dingemans at Bristol Crown Court, and £69,668.19 for an advocate.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the figures reflected all of Matthews' costs but further bills were due for Hoare.

A spokesman said: "The Government has taken action to reduce legal aid expenditure.

"It has fallen by over 20% since 2010.

"Anyone facing a Crown Court trial is eligible for legal aid, subject to a strict means test, but may be required to pay significant contributions - up to the entire cost of their defence.

"The Government has cut the fees paid to lawyers in criminal legal aid cases, such as these, to ensure legal aid represents better value for the taxpayer."

Following a separate request under the Freedom of Information Act, The Crown Prosecution Service said the trial had cost £105,207.49.

This was the total figure for prosecuting Matthews, Hoare and four other defendants in connection with Becky's murder.

Jurors convicted Matthews of Becky's murder and of conspiring to kidnap the teenager with Hoare.

Hoare was found guilty of Becky's manslaughter, conspiring to kidnap her, preventing a lawful burial, perverting the course of justice and possessing stun guns.

Matthews was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 33 years, while Hoare was jailed for 17 years.

James Ireland, 23, and Donovan Demetrius, 30, were acquitted of assisting Matthews to hide Becky's body parts.

Karl Demetrius, 30, was jailed for two years and his partner Jaydene Parsons for 16 months after they both admitted assisting an offender by hiding Becky's remains.

Becky's father, Darren Galworthy has written a book, The Heartbreaking Story of Becky Watts, to be released this month.

In the 304-page memoir, extracts of which are being published by The Sun, Mr Galsworthy describes his anguish at her disappearance and death.

Mr Galsworthy and his wife Anjie - Matthews' mother - told the newspaper how their relationship had survived Becky's murder.

"I would welcome death with open arms," Mr Galsworthy, an engineer, told The Sun. 

"We still have no closure. Our lives are totally destroyed."

Matthews and Hoare are appealing their sentences and convictions.

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