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Becky was a 'beautiful, happy, funny, feisty, caring, loyal and witty girl'

Tributes were paid to the 16-year-old girl today as her murderer was found guilty.

THE FAMILY OF Becky Watts, the British teenager brutally murdered by her step-brother in a sexually motivated attack, have described her as a ’beautiful, happy, funny, feisty, caring, loyal and witty girl’.

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On the steps of court where 28-year-old Nathan Matthews was found guilty of her murder, a police liaison officer for Becky’s mother Tania, grandmother Pat and brother Daniel read out a heartbreaking statement – one they said they never wanted to provide.

“We wish that Becky was still alive; instead we have spent the last five weeks hearing evidence about how she came to be killed by someone that she regarded as her own family,” they said, before thanking the jury for listening to five weeks of harrowing evidence.

The three immediate family members also offered “sincere and heartfelt thanks” to the staff at Flax Bourton Mortuary who had the grim task of dealing with Becky’s remains after her body was cruelly dismembered after her death.

“We do not underestimate how they went above and beyond their duty in ensuring that we had the opportunity to see Becky one last time,” Pat, Danny and Tania said.

It was something that gave us great comfort and we will always be grateful for all they did.

Turning to the past five weeks, they said it has been “difficult and deeply distressing for us to listen to the evidence in this case”.

“Not only the detail of her death, and what happened afterwards but also having to listen to how some people described Becky.”

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Matthews in his confession to police claimed the 16-year-old girl died when a prank to scare her went wrong. He said he concocted a kidnapping plot in order to teach her a lesson for failing to pick things up off the floor and not being thoughtful to other people.

Today, her family said: “We loved Becky and knew her better than most.”

We can tell you that she was a beautiful, happy, funny, feisty, caring, loyal and witty girl. She was like a hurricane, tornado and sunbeam all at once. She came into your life and made you feel alive.

They added that she had got through difficulties in her life but had “gained the confidence to have a boyfriend and made friendships with people who she clearly thought the world of”.

“She was a typical teenager. Sometimes testing the boundaries as 16-year-old children do. She was not this greedy, manipulative kid that some people made out in court.”

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The family said they were also worried about the public’s perception of them “throughout this awful ordeal”, noting that they kept a low profile on purpose.

Speaking to the media, they said they “do not want to be part of anything that goes on about the details of Becky’s death and what happened afterward”.

“We want to forget and move on from the awful things about her dismemberment and give the dignity back to Becky which was taken from her during her death. We do not want to be part of any distasteful process where people profit from Becky’s murder.”

Ending their statement, they urged parents to listen to their kids – especially teenagers.

“Don’t ignore or dismiss what they are trying to say. If they are feeling worried about something, take your time to listen to them. Above all, cherish your children as time with them is precious and can be too short.”

A jury found Matthews guilty of murder today, while his girlfriend Shauna Hoare (22) was found guilty of manslaughter. They will both be sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors said they carried out the pre-planned kidnapping and murder for sexually motivated reasons – something that was proven during the trial with phone and computer analysis and evidence.

On 19 February – the day she disappeared and the day before police launched a massive 12-day long operation to find her – Matthews went to Becky’s home and strangled her in her bedroom, before stabbing her 15 times.

Matthews and Hoare then drove her body to their own home elsewhere in Bristol city. Over the next few days, they set about the depraved task of dismembering her, enlisting friends to help hide her remains in a shed in a different property Barton Court – where she was eventually discovered by police.

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Speaking after the trial ended today, Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour paid tribute to Becky’s family for their composure and dignity during “what has undoubtedly been the worst period of their lives”.

“Becky Watts was a typical teenager who was well loved and, like most teenagers, had many plans and hopes for the future. Tragically, Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare have made sure these hopes and dreams will never be realised,” he told reporters outside Bristol Crown Court.

Matthews and Hoare concocted a heinous plan to kidnap his step-sister Becky for reasons they have failed to fully disclose other than she occasionally left items on the floor which could have tripped up Matthews’ mother.

“The body of evidence however, has suggested a more sinister motive relating to their deep seated hatred for Becky and their twisted sexual desires.

“On 19 February this year, the pair carried out their macabre plan which resulted in the murder of Becky at her home in Crown Hill, Bristol. They then took her body back to their home in Cotton Mill Lane and began the horrific and grotesque task of dismembering her over a matter of days.

It’s virtually impossible to comprehend this level of depravity.

In his statement he noted that both Matthews and Hoare continued to lie to and mislead police as they investigated Becky’s disappearance.

“Although he admitted manslaughter, Matthews has never taken full responsibility for his actions and he has forced Becky’s family and friends to endure the additional trauma of a lengthy and extremely distressing trial,” he added.

“Hoare has never admitted her role in any capacity demonstrating her cold blooded and calculating nature.”

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Becky’s father, stepfather and other members of the Galsworthy family also released a tribute to their daughter today.

““Finally justice has been done for our Becky,” they said, thanking police, the people of Bristol and all those who sent them messages over the past year.

“For us as a family today is not the final chapter in this tragedy. But now we can at least begin the challenge of rebuilding our lives,” they concluded.

A tribute to Becky is being organised by her school friends and teachers who hope to install an eternal light in a nearby park.

“We feel that the thought behind this of Becky being a shining light, helping to keep young people safe is a fitting tribute,” her family said.

Related: Stepbrother of Becky Watts found guilty of her murder

More: Chilling footage shows Becky Watts’ stepbrother buying saw ‘used to cut up her body’

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