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Justice for Becky: a timeline of our investigation

On Wednesday 11 November 2015, a jury at Bristol Crown Court found Nathan Matthews guilty of the murder of Becky Watts. His girlfriend Shauna Hoare was convicted of Becky's manslaughter.

The pair were sentenced on Friday 13 November 2015. 

A timeline of our investigation

Our investigation into the murder of Becky Watts has been one of the largest in our history. In under seven months, officers and staff from departments across the force worked tirelessly to bring the offenders to justice.

The timeline below outlines in more detail the work of these teams.

You can also watch short video clips with three investigators who talk about their individual roles and some of the challenges they faced.

It is virtually impossible to comprehend the level of depravity shown in this case, and we continue to provide support to Becky’s family and friends.

Nothing will ever fill the void in their lives but we hope that these verdicts can finally bring them some much deserved comfort.


Wednesday 18 February 2015

Becky stays overnight at a friend’s house after a skittles evening.

Picture of Becky Watts

Thursday 19 February 2015 - Last contact

Becky is dropped home at Crown Hill at around 08:30 and is later in contact with her friends arranging to go out. This is the last time anyone hears from Becky.


Friday 20 February 2015 - Missing person report

Becky is reported missing to the police by her father, Darren. A missing person investigation is launched.

Missing person poster for Becky Watts

20 February to 25 February 2015 - Search intensifies

We grow increasingly concerned for Becky’s well-being and more officers are deployed to the enquiry. Large scale open-area searches are undertaken. Close attention is being paid to Becky’s social media and telephone accounts.


Searches undertaken

  • 2 dive teams used at the peak of search
  • 5 separate ‘route’ searches
  • 26 buildings searched inside
  • 100 open area searches
  • 100 search areas - Avonmouth to Southmead/Henleaze, large parts of east Bristol, St George, Barton Hill, Fishponds, Eastville
  • 300 back gardens and outhouses searched
  • 328 house to house enquiries completed

Wednesday 25 February 2015 - Major investigation launched

Our Major Crime Investigation Team are appointed to continue the search.  D/Supt Liz Tunks is appointed as the Senior Investigating Officer with DI Richard Ocone as the Deputy Senior Investigating Officer.


Officers involved in the investigation

  • 350 Avon and Somerset police officers
  • 195 mutual aid police officers 

Saturday 28 February 2015 - Forensics help identify suspects

Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare are declared suspects following a forensic search of Becky’s home which uncovers Matthew’s fingerprint in a spot of blood. This breakthrough leads to us arresting the pair on suspicion of kidnapping Becky.

Picture of fingerprint investigation

Monday 2 March 2015 - The confession

Nathan Matthews makes a confession to interview teams that he has killed Becky. Following this information, we deployed officers to search a shed at a property in Barton Court in the early hours of the 3rd of March.

Tragically, Becky’s remains were discovered having been concealed in numerous suitcases, bags and other containers. Within minutes of being on the scene, officers arrested five people for assisting an offender. 


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Wednesday 04 March 2015 - Suspects charged

Nathan is charged with the murder of Becky Watts. Shauna Hoare is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. 


Friday 06 March 2015 - More arrests

Karl Demetrius, Donovan Demetrius, Jaydene Parsons and James Ireland are charged for the part they played in the concealment of Becky’s body.  A fifth male arrested for assisting an offender is released without charge.


Monday 22 June 2015 - Further charges

Following further extensive investigations further charges are brought against Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare including the later being jointly charged with murder. 



Agencies involved in investigation:



Monday 5 October 2015 - Trial starts

The trial, listed for six weeks, begins at Bristol Crown Court. Jaydene Parsons and Karl Demetrius plead guilty to the charge of assisting an offender.

Nathan Matthews pleads guilty to manslaughter, perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon. He denies murder and conspiracy to kidnap.

Shauna Hoare denies all charges against her. Donavan Demetrius and James Ireland also deny the charge against them of assisting an offender.


Wednesday 11 November 2015 - Verdicts returned

After retiring for just over three hours, the jury return their verdicts.

  • Nathan Matthews is found guilty of murder and conspiracy to kidnap.
  • Shauna Hoare is found guilty of manslaughter, conspiracy to kidnap, perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon. She is found not guilty of murder.
  • Donavan Demetrius and James Ireland are found not guilty of assisting an offender.

Friday 13 November 2015 - Sentencing

Nathan Matthews has been sentenced to life imprisonment, and will serve a minimum of 33 years. Shauna Hoare is sentenced to 17 years in prison for manslaughter.