Hoare & Anor, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, June 23, 2016, [2016] EWCA Crim 886

Resolution Date:June 23, 2016
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Hoare & Anor, R v

Case No: 2015/05466/B3, 2015/05469/B3

2015/05597/B3 & 2015/05616/B3

Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWCA Crim 886


ON APPEAL FROM Bristol Crown Court

Mr Justice Dingemans

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 23/06/2016

Before :





(His Honour Judge Goldstone QC)

(Sitting as a Judge of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division)

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Between :

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Mr A Langdon QC and Miss C Spedding appeared on behalf of the Applicant Shauna Hoare

Mr A Vaitilingam QC appeared on behalf of the Applicant Nathan Matthews

Mr W Mousley QC Mr R Posner appeared on behalf of the Crown

Hearing dates : 23 June 2016

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JudgmentLady Justice Macur:

  1. Shauna Hoare and Nathan Matthews renewed their applications for permission to appeal against convictions and sentence after refusal by the single Judge. Mr Langdon QC and Ms Spedding appeared pro bono for Hoare in relation to both applications. Mr Vaitlingam QC appeared pro bono on behalf of Matthews in relation to the renewed application for sentence only. We considered Matthews' renewed application on the papers having rejected his application for an adjournment to obtain legal representation to argue in respect of the previously prepared grounds or otherwise. The Crown were represented, as is now the case in all Counsel renewed applications in cases involving the death of a victim, by Mr William Mousley QC and Mr Posner. All had appeared in the trial at first instance. However, Mr Mousley QC was only called upon in relation to points of law arising from Hoare's renewed application in respect of conviction. In the event, the point upon which his assistance was sought did not inform our decision, announced on 23 June, to dismiss all the applications. These are our reasons.

  2. This is a case of some notoriety. On 7 October 2015 the applicant Matthews pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a stun gun. On 11 November 2015 the applicants Hoare and Matthews were both convicted of conspiracy to kidnap, Matthews was convicted of murder and Hoare was convicted of manslaughter. Hoare was also convicted of perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse and possessing a prohibited weapon.

  3. On 13 November 2015 Matthews was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 33 years, less 253 days spent on remand. Hoare was sentenced to a total of 17 years imprisonment, all sentences being made concurrent to the sentence handed down in respect of the offence of manslaughter, namely 10, 2, 3 and 2 years respectively for the offences of conspiracy to kidnap, perverting the course of justice, preventing the lawful burial of a corpse and possession of an offensive weapon.

  4. Reporting restrictions have been made previously in relation to related family proceedings. These continue. An amended order under s.45A of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 was made with respect to the child witnesses CB and AD which we continue. An order made restricting reporting of other related but severed proceedings against one of the applicants pursuant to Section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 is no longer necessary, but the complainant in those proceedings is entitled to life-long anonymity pursuant to the Sexual Offences (Amendment Act) 1992.

  5. A brief summary of the facts of this case are as follows. On 20 February 2015, Rebecca Watts, a 16 year old girl from Bristol, was reported missing by her father. Rebecca lived with her father and her step-mother, the mother of the applicant Matthews, at `Crown Hill'. On 19 February 2015, Rebecca arrived home shortly after 8.30am. Her step-mother left the house at 10.15am. Matthews rang the landline at the property at about the same time as his mother left. At 11.03am Rebecca sent her boyfriend a text message.

  6. Police mounted a full investigation and questioned members of the family to ascertain Rebecca's whereabouts. Matthews and Hoare both denied seeing Rebecca at Crown Hill on the day of her disappearance, but said they had been in the property and heard a door slam, which implied Rebecca had been there, but left to go out.

  7. On 3 March 2015, during a police search of a property at an address 80 metres away from the applicants' home in another area of Bristol, a right hand that had been severed at the wrist was found in a suitcase in the shed. On closer investigation it was found that Rebecca's entire body had been cut up and packaged in cling-film, plastic bags, suitcases and other luggage stored in the shed. The tools used to dismember her body (including a circular saw bought by Matthews from B&Q) were also stored in the shed.

  8. In police interview, after admitting his initial lies about his involvement and movements, Matthews eventually admitted that he had visited Crown Hill on 19 February and tried to kidnap Rebecca using a mask to conceal his face. During a violent struggle, in the course of which the mask slipped, he admitted using a stun gun on her, and strangling Rebecca to death. He further admitted dismembering her body in a bath tub and then concealing it in the shed. He maintained that throughout his offending he had acted alone.

  9. The Prosecution case was that the applicants jointly conspired to kidnap and then murdered the deceased, Matthews being the principal and Hoare the secondary party as part of a joint enterprise. The offences were committed for a shared sexual purpose and the couple had an unhealthy sexual interest in petite teenage girls and had planned to engage in sexual acts with Rebecca. The Prosecution relied on the applicants going to Rebecca's home equipped with tape, handcuffs and a stun gun. The cause of death was suffocation and not strangulation. Post mortem evidence proved that Rebecca's mouth and nose had been covered after a violent struggle which had caused bruising to her arms, legs, elbows and knees. This was not an accidental death and Matthews' account of the killing could not been relied upon as it had been rejected by the pathologist. Quite soon...

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