Teenage love, it’s always a turbulent thing from hearts on notebooks and hoping your parents don’t embarrass you in front of your new love interest to ice-cream and chick flicks and dealing with your first heartbreak, although in most cases these affairs become sweet memories to look back and laugh about when more mature, in some cases they can take a darker turn as teenagers may find themselves in abusive relationships, while they learn to lay down boundaries and work out what is healthy in a relationship and what is not. In this case a teenage love affair ended in the tragic murder of 15-year-old Rebecca Aylward Oatley by her ex-boyfriend Joshua Davies who was himself only 15-years-old at the time of the murder.
Rebecca Aylward Oatley from Bridgend, Wales, known as Becca was described by everyone who knew her as a studious, intelligent girl, she loved to read and had ambitions of going to university to study law and become a barrister, her teachers at Archbishop Mcgrath Catholic High School, had no doubts that she would achieve this describing her as a determined pupil and pleasure to have in class due to her quiet and polite nature, she was popular with her peers with many close friends and she came from a close loving family made up of her mother and younger brother and sister. Becca struck up a friendship with Davies in 2009 and that friendship developed into a romantic relationship by Autumn 2009, she was excited about Davies asking her to be a couple and often talked about how happy she was to friends and family.
Davies also grew up in Bridgend, he also came from a loving family, he was the eldest of three boys and was looked up to by his siblings. To the outside Davies seemed like he would be a perfect match for Becca with one of their teachers saying they seemed like a “good pairing”, he was also a high achiever academically and popular with his peers, he was described as a louder and more boisterous student than Becca it was this outgoing side that led him to insert himself into his and Becca’s social group as a “top dog” figure. Davies used this charm to win over the adults that were around the couple including Becca’s family, over the course of their relationship he was welcomed into their home and became an extra member of the family, he would spend hours at Becca’s house having meals, sleepovers, and even bringing his younger brothers to play with Becca’s younger brother because they were the same age.
As the relationship progressed many thought the pair were a happy young couple, but secretly the relationship was turbulent, they were on and off due to his possessive and controlling behaviour. According to friend’s he would demand her phone to go through it, he would try and read private diaries that Becca had been keeping since she was a child, these were incredibly personal, and she would reportedly write in them religiously, his obsession with the diaries got to the point that when Davies was over the house she asked her mother to hide them in her bedroom, Becca reportedly told some friends of a fear she had of Davies, she mentioned how there were some things she wouldn’t tell him because he would “go nuts”, friends would try and encourage her to leave the relationship, but she would tell them she loved him and that she was happy. In her book Bye Mam, I Love You, Becca’s mother Sonia Oatley found some more evidence pointing to this behaviour in Davies after the murder, while searching for the most recent diary for the police she went into Becca’s old bedroom, she looked at the walls that were bare since they had moved out of the property and saw graffiti that had been cleaned by Becca, but was still visible it read “Becca is a slag” she went on to note that Davies would often deface Becca’s neat notebooks with something abusive about someone.
In January 2010 Davies ended the relationship with Becca rather abruptly over text, with speculation it was for another girl, the ending of the relationship shocked Becca as she was under the impression the relationship was in a good place as he had spent the weekend before at Becca’s house and had a good weekend he even thanked Becca’s mother for having him over by describing it as “one of the best weekends of my life”. The weeks wore on after the break-up and Becca began to get over the hurt while she struck up a romance with another local boy also called Josh. Davies was angered by Becca’s ability to move on from their relationship and began what was described as a vicious campaign of bullying against her, he would turn mutual friends against Becca by manipulating them and telling lies, he would spread rumours around the school and online and on one occasion he started a questioning her about her new love interest in a bid to gain control over her he asked “does your mother like him? I bet she prefers me to be your boyfriend” when Becca would reply with positive feedback like the fact that Sonia did like the new boy he would storm off in anger, friends described her as being very low at this point saying that she felt that Davies had turned everyone against her.
The more Becca tried to move on the more vicious Davies got, him and his friends would have what everyone thought at the time was “banter” they would discuss how Davies wanted Becca dead and how he was going to do it, they discussed him poisoning her and throwing her into a quarry knowing she couldn’t swim. Davies would go into detail about these thoughts and during one of the conversations his friend mentioned that they were coming to the end of school so there was a good chance that him and Becca would go their separate ways and rarely have to see each other, he replied to this that he would not be happy not seeing Becca, he didn’t want her alive and living her life. Becca did suggest to friends at this point that Davies’ threats were sinister and that she had some fear he may harm her, but many shrugged off his behaviour as being all talk telling her not to worry, many also speculated that the two would get back together eventually as Becca did still openly have some feelings for Davies.
Over the summer Becca had fallen ill, she had blackouts, dizziness and stomach pains. This was to the extent she was hospitalised, and numerous tests were done with nothing being picked up, her friends did say she was closed off when discussing why she was in hospital often saying “nothing”. The entire time that she was in hospital or at home unwell Davies did not get in contact or visit to check in. The summer finished and Becca returned to school, by the October half term her and Davies had been back in contact, he started to express interest in getting back together and she was happy and excited at the prospect of them rekindling their romance.
In the week leading up to the murder Becca and Davies had arranged to meet up for a date on the Friday, Becca’s family had recently moved and now lived in the Maesteg area, near Davies’ home in Aberkennfig. Sonia had been apprehensive about Davies being back in her daughter’s life after the way he had hurt her during their split and initially refused to let him come over that weekend but relented when she saw how much it meant to Becca, she reportedly told her mother in reply to her mother’s concerns “he’s okay now, he’s back to the old Josh”. Becca had been so excited about their date that they rearranged the date for the Saturday instead so she could go shopping with her auntie Linda and her younger sister to buy new clothes for her date.
Saturday 23rd October 2010 came around and Becca had been excited and nervous about her meeting with Davies, she initially asked one of her siblings to come with her as she was nervous about being alone with him after so long, but both had other plans for the first weekend of half term so refused the offer to join her, but Becca didn’t seem to be too upset. Plans had been made for her to meet Davies and come back to the new house to spend the night like they had done numerous times when they were dating. Becca got herself ready for the date making sure that she looked extra special while she danced and sang with her siblings in excitement. There was silence from Davies that morning and briefly she wondered whether he was standing her up, but he text and she called her auntie to pick her up, when she left she swapped phones with her mother as her mother’s phone was on a monthly contract and could make calls whereas Becca’s IPhone was on pay-as-you-go and did not have credit on it and Sonia wanted her to be able to make contact if needed.
Just after 1pm that afternoon Becca phoned Sonia, she assumed it was to let her know that they were now on the way home, but Becca told her that she was in Pandy Park still waiting for Davies to turn up. During this phone conversation it transpired that Davies had asked her to meet him in Pandy Park after being dropped off in Sarn station saying that his parents wanted to see her so they would now be going to his house for a while before Becca’s, he would not tell her why Pandy Park as this was out of the way for him from his house, he told her not to let anyone see her even when she saw one of his younger brother’s in the park. She claimed also on the phone that she had run into the other Josh that she had been seeing during the split while he was out walking his dog, she said she did not speak to him, but said she may go and see him or another friend in that area to pass the time if she had to wait for Davies any longer, her mother urged her to walk into the more populated village instead of the park and tell him to meet her there or to walk to his house as this is where he was claiming to be. She phoned back almost immediately after speaking to Josh saying that she had spoken to him and was now meeting him in Church street, this plan seemed even more bizarre because she now had to pass the street that Davies lived on in order to meet him and then go back to his house, both expressed their irritation for this and Sonia told her so urging her to cancel the date and call her auntie to take her home, at this point she had arrived on Church Street and was taking shelter under a tree near the cemetery during a hail shower, Sonia said she would stay on the phone until Davies arrived. Becca started to grow concerned that Davies would bring his best friend who she had a strained relationship with due to the fact this friend had shown interest in Becca romantically and she had turned him down presumably because she was more interested in Davies, after that he was unpleasant whenever they met and he was part of the Davies’ group of boys that would bully Becca after the split. In the middle of that conversation Becca said Davies had arrived, she asked Becca to confirm with her that it was in fact Joshua Davies that she was with and she said yes, Sonia noted that during this exchange Davies was quiet, which was strange as he was always the loudest in the background of phone calls between her and Becca even snatching the phone off Becca sometimes and having a chat with her himself. She discussed the plan on how she was getting home with her mother assuring her that she wouldn’t need her auntie to pick her up as she would have a lift with Davies’ mother, she ended the phone call with “Bye Mam, I Love You” the last words she ever said to her mother.
While Becca happily danced and got ready for her date Davies began Saturday 23rd October 2010 like he did every week eating breakfast with his two close friends in the Café 107 in Aberkennfig. Davies started his usual talk about killing Becca and during one of these meet ups and a long running joke had developed between the boys in the months prior to the murder where one said he would buy Davies a breakfast if he killed Becca, one of the text exchanges at the start of the joke started with Davies texting the friend and saying “what would you do if I actually did kill her?” to which his friend replied “oh, I’d buy you breakfast, mate”. On the Thursday before the murder there was another set of texts between Davies and this friend referencing “the breakfast bet” where Davies said “don’t say anything but you may just owe me breakfast” the friend replied with “Best text I have ever had, mate. Seriously if it is true I am happy to pay for a breakfast” Davies said “I hope by then it will be done and dusted” possibly referencing the fact the date was initially on a Friday so he wanted to kill her and claim his breakfast the following morning, his friend continued the exchange by saying “I want all the details you sadistic bastard” Davies then gave his breakfast order that his friend would pay for saying “large breakfast with extras of everything” to which his friend playfully replied “sick, sick boy”. They stayed in the café for around 45 minutes that day then headed to one of the boys’ houses on Dunraven Street, the boy’s parents were leaving for a camping trip so the boys would have the place to themselves. At this point Davies was texting Becca and told his friends of his plan to lure her into the forest and kill her, the boys thought this was another one of Davies’ idle rants and joined in discussing possible ways to do it, even acting out methods with shovels in the boy’s garden, Davies told them to bring the shovels with them to the forest later to help him bury her body. At around 1pm Davies left his friend’s house and told his friends “the time has come” making clear his intention was to kill her.
He met up with Becca on Church Street after taking her on a twisted and long route around Aberkenfig to meet him and lured her into Pennsylvania Woods in Aberkenfig. Davies led her into a densely wooded area of the forest, and at some point Becca turned away from Davies with some reports saying Davies had shown her something causing her to turn around, it was then he picked up a rock around the size of a rugby ball and bludgeoned her to death with it. After he had killed her Davies phoned the friends he had been with prior and said, “the deed is done” he was asked by the friends if he was with Becca and he replied with a giggle saying, “define with?”. Davies asked the two friends to meet him at the entrance of the forest, which they did arriving at around 2:40pm, the friends waited for Davies to appear and tried calling with no success, he eventually text asking one of them to ring him, his friend who had disliked Becca called him and agreed to meet him the forest, telling the other friend that Davies sounded panicky and that he was going to meet him at the top of the forest, the other friend had a leg injury at the time from playing rugby so was unable to climb the now wet and slippery hill up toward where Davies said he was, so he waited at the entrance for the other two boys to return, the friend that went to meet Davies said that he saw him and saw Becca on the floor face down, Davies then said “do you know how hard it is to break someone’s neck? She was facing away from me and I thought this I it, I’m going to go for it”.
Davies and his friend returned to the entrance of the forest to their other friend and they told him about what Davies had done, with the friend confirming he had seen for himself that she was lying lifeless on the ground, they particularly noticed that Davies seemed unfazed by what had just happened as he suggested going to back to their friend’s house. Once back indoors he started to describe to his friends what he had done, he told them how while she was facing away from him he’d gone up behind her and hit her with the rock, and then mentioned that she had started and wouldn’t stop screaming so he hit her again and again until she did mentioning how “the worst part was feeling her skull give way”, he went on to talk about the murder weapon, how he threw it in the bush as there had been some blood on it even saying he was relieved that he didn’t get any blood on his clothes. After this he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for everyone, the other two boys expressed their disbelief for what Davies had told them and his lack of emotion what he’d done.
One of the boys decided that things “didn’t feel right” and asked to be picked up by his mother, she arrived at 4pm, before he left Davies told him to delete his texts as he would and to tell anyone who asked that the three of them had spent all afternoon together, he further tried to create an alibi by posting a Facebook status that night saying that he was “chilling” at his grandmother’s watching TV after a good day with friends. It seems that at some point over the course of the next 24 hours it all got too much for one of the friends and he told his parents about the events of that afternoon and they reported it to the police.
As the day wore on Becca’s family grew concerned about the lack of contact, which was unlike her. Her auntie Linda was the first to concerned as she had returned home around mid-afternoon and told Sonia that Becca had not been in contact to arrange a lift home with the last contact between them being a phone call with Becca’s sister who was also with them prior to dropping Becca off, she told her sister in that phone call that she was with Davies at his house at that point, but they couldn’t get an answer when calling after this conversation. At 6pm Linda had spoken to Davies’ father while she phoned around people who may know where Becca was, he told her that Davies and Becca had not been at the house all day. They travelled around looking for her in various places that they thought she might go and even tried the house of the boy she had been seeing when they split as she had been in the area he lived and she claimed that she saw him that afternoon.
Becca was reported missing at 7:15pm after exhausting every possible place that she could be, while waiting for an officer to speak to her Sonia kept phoning Becca and Davies with neither numbers connecting, she also called the other Josh that Becca had been seeing, but when she told him who she was he would hang up, arousing some suspicion, but it was later revealed that he had been at a club and kept ending the phone call because the music was loud. Sonia called Davies’ father to speak to him once more about Becca’s whereabouts, once again he confirmed that the couple had not been at their house and that Davies had been at his grandmother’s house with his friends and as far as he knew he still was, so she took the gran’s number and called her immediately. She managed to get an answer and confirmed that Davies was there, he took the call and he told Sonia that he had not seen Becca, when she confronted him with the fact he and Becca had made plans he confirmed that fact but said he got caught up at his gran’s house and couldn’t get to Aberkenfig from Shwt to meet her for two hours and that she told him she was going to see the other boy to kill time even confirming it by saying “That’s where she is with that Josh kid”, she then told him that Becca had confirmed to her that she had met him and he was standing in front of her, he denied this and once again said that she must be with the other boy.
The details Davies had given in that call already did not add up since he said he had only been held up two hours at his gran’s at lunch time but was still there in the evening. The police arrived with Sonia and informed her it had taken so long because it had been particularly busy evening with it being the first night of half term, they took all the details such as Becca’s appearance, what she was wearing, her height and her build and established whether she was the type of girl that had “done this type of thing before”, they initially leaned toward the idea that she had got caught up at one of the many underage parties going on that evening and forgot to call home, they also had just picked up another pupil from Archbishop McGrath due to her being drunk so they looked around the party she had been at and a couple of others until the shift change, Becca remained missing until the following morning, over the course of the night friends helped the family in any way they could with many posting messages on Becca’s facebook urging her to get in contact and expressing their concern, chillingly Davies joined in with this and posted “I feel sorry for her mother” he also send texts to Becca’s IPhone urging her to get in contact and come home, which didn’t add up either since he would have been in contact with her on the blackberry she took with her so he would have known that Becca didn’t have the IPhone.
After a long anxious night Becca’s family contacted the police once more at 8am for an update and were told that someone would call and speak to her when they could as the officer dealing with Becca’s disappearance was also dealing with a rapid response call that had just come in, the call was the report of Becca’s murder. The family started out on another search retracing Becca’s steps as Sonia knew them from her last phone call with her, but got a call while out to return to her sister’s where officers told her that a body of a young girl matching Becca’s description had been found early that morning in Aberkenfig woods.
Immediately when greeted with the news Sonia suspected that the other Josh had been involved, but the police had already spoken to him and confirmed his whereabouts during that day. The Major Crimes unit took on the case and informed the family of two arrests that had been made at 9:50 that morning Davies and his friend who had seen Becca’s body, both had been at Davies’ grandmother’s house. Sonia did not believe that Davies would have hurt Becca and initially thought that his friend must have been the main perpetrator given his and Becca’s strained relationship and because Davies had always told her that he would protect Becca saying, “she’s safe with me”. At this early point in the investigation they were sure that Davies was the main perpetrator, even though he tried to shift the blame onto his friend, even saying so in court. Shockingly, in those first interviews the officers were startled by Davies’ cold manner, they’d rarely see that especially in someone as young as Davies, they described him as pure evil. Davies went before Bridgend Magistrates Court on 27th October 2010 to be charged with murder.
As the investigation rumbled on the police collected a mountain of evidence from the scene, Becca’s home and Davies’ home, disturbing details emerged showing Davies’ darker side, when they searched his property, in Davies’ bedroom they found antique knives he had been collecting since he was 9, this prompted Becca’s sister who was 13 at the time to recall a time she had been to Davies’ house and while she waited for Becca, Davies showed her a knife he had and then threatened her with it, he reportedly held it to her throat, but then backed off as if it was a joke, although unnerved by this she saw how happy her sister was and just played it off as a bad joke that only he had found funny. Details about the nature of their relationship coming from Becca’s friends showed that the relationship had been turbulent, when asked the question “can you think of anyone who could have done this?” all answered quickly with the same answer “Joshua Davies” going on to talk about the threats he’d made against her, how controlling he had been in their relationship and the bullying he and his friends inflicted on Becca in the months prior to her death, all the friends expressed the fact that they were somewhat shocked at the developments because they never took anything Davies said seriously.
As both boys in custody were interviewed the police were led to search Davies’ grandmother’s property on 28th October 2010, in the summerhouse of the property they found a pumpkin bucket (one a child would use to trick or treat) as well as a pestle and mortar, in the bucket there was a mixed substance that through testing revealed it contained nicotine, caffeine and 21 seeds, the seeds were then tested further by a professor at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, the tests showed liquid digoxin of digitonin of the plant fox glove or foxglove digitalis also present were two cardiac glycosides. This was a home mixed poison, it may not have been strong enough to kill anyone, but it would have made whoever ingested it very ill, it is unknown if he ever did use this poison considering his threats of “poisoning her Ribena” but the fact Becca suddenly came down with a mystery illness has made people think it’s possible, whether it was used or not this was now a good piece of evidence to show premeditation and his intent to kill Becca.
During the investigation and trial Davies was held at Vinney Green Secure Unit in Bristol, a young offender’s institution for dangerous young criminals housing boys and girls aged 10 – 17 that are considered a danger to themselves and others. The trial opened on 20th June 2011 in Swansea Crown Court, photographs from the press showed Davies arriving to court in a shirt and formal trousers while he smirked and smiled at his many school friends at court, many were shocked by his demeanour and speculated that he thought he was going to get away with his crime. The court heard testimony from Becca’s friends where they talked about Davies’ threats of murder, the nature of their relationship and the bullying that he inflicted on Becca, Sonia who spoke about her thoughts on Davies while he was dating Becca, her apprehensions about Davies being back in Becca’s life and how she had let it go as Becca had been excited at the prospect of getting back together with Davies and the impact Davies had on her family mentioning how Becca’s younger brother had idolised him, they then moved on to asking Sonia to confirm Becca route that day, showing a map of the Sarn area with a red line to mark the convoluted route, they finished Sonia’s testimony with a cross examination asking about what she knew of Davies’ friend that had seen the body, she went on to say that she knew very little of him due to the tension between him and Becca, but she talked of the things she knew through Davies’ conversations while dating Becca she mentioned how Davies once said that this friend was “jealous because he facies Becca but he can’t have her because she’s mine” the questions moved on to whether Becca could swim, Sonia specifically said no, the defence pressed that maybe she could swim “a little” to which she replied that Becca could not swim and was frightened of being in the water because of this.
Becca’s auntie Linda was next to take the stand and she also spoke of her relationship with Davies and how she had also gotten to know him over the course of his and Becca’s relationship and how she found him a polite and decent boy, when asked about the day of the murder she talked of the atmosphere in the car had changed while she arranged to meet Davies, the excitement changed to irritation from him messing her about by changing the time and place, she mentioned how at one point during a phone call Becca had said “Oh, it’s ok we have a new car” this strange statement was made over a phone call so it could not be retrieved to be analysed, but it could point to his need for Becca to not be seen that day, was he trying to make sure that Linda’s car could not have been placed in the area by witnesses that knew the couple. Throughout her testimony she mentioned how Davies had stared at her with a cold soulless look as if he wanted to kill her.
Davies’ friends who were present after the murder gave evidence on 23rd June 2011, it was presented in two parts, the court would first see video evidence of the boys’ statements given at Cardiff Bay custody suite after the murder, the boys would then take the stand an give their evidence to the court via live video link due to their ages, the boy who confessed to his parents was first to speak and he recounted the events of 23rd October 2010, he was dropped at Café 107 by his mother to meet Davies and the other friend for their weekly breakfast at 11am, he said that after 45 minutes the three headed to the other boy’s house where his parents were packing to leave for a camping trip, he mentioned how Davies was texting and that he asked who it was to which Davies said it was Becca, the parents left the boys in the house and Davies began to talk about his plan to meet Becca in the local forest and kill her, that’s when they started discussing various ways to do it and acted it out with shovels from the boy’s garden and then Davies told them to bring the shovels up to the forest later on so they could bury her body. The went on to testify that despite the events up to this point and his part in it that he did not believe Davies would actually going through it even when he said Davies left at 1pm and said, “the time has come”. He estimated that Davies was gone about an hour and a half before he decided to text Davies and find out what was happening, he had no reply so he then called Davies who answered and told him to go down and meet him at the end of the street, both boys went, but with Davies not showing up despite them texting “come on” they gave up and went back to the friend’s house, they returned to watching television while they waited to hear from Davies, once again there was nothing so they called to find out where he was and why he had not met them, he replied saying he was still up the forest, the boy then asked if he was with Becca and he giggled and replied “define with?” he then asked them to meet at the forest entrance, they arrived by 2.40pm, they waited for some time and called Davies multiple times, he then text asking one of the boys to call him, he asked to speak to the other friend he then heard him say “ok, I’ll be there now” before going meet Davies. Due to the injury this friend had sustained he stayed behind and said it took Davies and the other friend minutes to come back to the forest entrance and confirm what Davies had done. He talked then about how they went back to the other friend’s house, how Davies started talking about the murder and how boys of the other boys expressed their disbelief at the act and Davies’ cold manner, he went on to say that things “didn’t feel right” so he text his mother to pick him up, which she did at 4pm, he then testified that upon leaving Davies told him to delete all the texts between the boys, and to confirm to anyone that asked that the three boys were together all afternoon. Peter Rouch QC on the defence fired questions about his reaction to the events of that afternoon, he was trying to prove Davies’ story that it was his friend that committed the murder, he asked about the various posts and text messages between the boys saying, “how could you be talking about a lovely meal and watching TV when there is a young girl lying dead in the forest” he had no answer to this, he was further questioned about when he was collected from the other friend’s house he asked “you actually drove past a police station. Did it not once occur to you to call the police? Phone for an ambulance?” he also had no answer to this.
The other friend took the stand next, he recounted most of the events of the other friend and talked of the now infamous “breakfast bet” he revealed the other texts sent on the Thursday before the murder where Davies and the other friend mentioned Davies being able to claim his free breakfast that Saturday. He went on to mention when Davies took a call from Becca just before leaving to meet her, after the call he reportedly said things like “today’s the day” and “well, the time has come today” he mentioned that he asked the Davies and the other friend what they were joking about and Davies replied with “Oh, I’m going to meet her and I’m going to kill her.” He maintained that despite Davies’ persistence in his threats neither he or the other friend really believed he would do it, he mentioned how they acted out a murder with shovels but were laughing and joking so they didn’t take him seriously at all. Overall his account closely matched the other friend’s account. They then asked him to recount being led to the crime scene and shown Becca’s body, he spoke of reaching the top of the steep hill where the land fell away on either side, he said he could then hear Davies speaking on the phone and in person, once he met Davies he told him where Becca’s body was, he said while pointing at her body “there’s no blood on me, luckily” and suggested that his friend lift the hood to have a look, but he declined, he said at this point both of them were panicked and ran back down the hill to the other friend where they met him and confirmed Becca was dead. On the walk back to this friend’s house Davies then continued to talk about his crime saying, “I tried to break her neck, but that didn’t work very well so I used a rock, I started to hit her with it but she wouldn’t stop screaming”. He went on to speak about that evening and how he was left alone in his house once Davies had gone and decided that he didn’t want to stay overnight in the house alone, he tried to call his mother but couldn’t get through, then he called Davies who arranged for his grandfather to go an pick the friend up and take him back to Davies’ grandmother’s house, he then recalled the phone call Davies took from Sonia while she was looking for Becca and how he had told her that he hadn’t seen her all day.
Up until this point he seemed rather blank and unengaging with the proceedings, but while this friend gave his testimony and his statement was played it was noted how Davies seemed to start reacting and seemed uncomfortable and anxious, presumably because his grounds for a not guilty plea were his insistence that this friend had committed the crime. Just before his friend could be cross-examined Davies’ defence asked to finish court early that day as Davies felt unwell with a sore throat, the judge argued that a doctor could be brought to the court and examine him, to which the defence suggested he be seen by the doctor in Vinney Green, the judge firmly said no and said that Davies would have to return at 10am the following day.
The court resumed on 24th June 2011 where the cross-examination on Davies’ friend was set to begin, but it had come to the attention of the defence that this friend had been on Skype the night before about court the previous day including asking mockingly “guess who pulled a sickie because I was giving evidence?” the judge had him appear again on the live video link the boy had previously used and reprimanded him and warned in front of the full court that the case must not be discussed outside of the court. After a brief cross-examination from the prosecution and the defence confirming various pieces of evidence and events of that day. Over the following days several more witnesses took the stand most being friends that knew both Becca and Davies from school, after this came a break for the court as the jury had asked to be taken to the crime scene and to walk the same route that Becca took on her way to meet Davies in order to get a clearer picture of that day’s events.
The court resumed once again on 6th July 2011 proceedings began with two witnesses both pupils at Archbishop Mcgrath their testimony further confirmed Davies’ long running threats to kill Becca. The court then moved on to the murder weapon, the large rock was now Exhibit AN1, it was brought in by Detective Sergeant Ed Griffiths the scenes of crime officer, he confirmed to the court that the rock had been found five metres from Becca at 3.45pm on 25th October 2010 by two specialist dogs used on two separate searches, the officer placed the rock down and it was noted that the rock was that large it took the officer two hands to pick it up and carry it.
On 7th July 2011 the court continued to discuss the murder weapon and the search that led to its discovery, two cadaver dogs were taken to the scene on 25th October 2010, they operated one dog at a time taking them around the murder scene for 10-15 minutes at a time, both did a “freeze” indications at the rock, then the dogs were taken some distance away to search without their operators, again both indicated to the rock. The court moved further into the forensic evidence as the jury was then handed a portfolio showing information on findings, images of the scene, various facts and figures about logistics, and images of Becca’s body as it was found, many of the forensic experts also took the stand to explain the significance of their findings and analysis to the jury as well recounting their part in the investigation of the scene.
After hearing the forensics the arresting officer DC Tristan Evans took the stand, he recounted that he and four other officers arrived at Davies’ grandmother’s house at 9:50am on 24th October 2010, Davies’ grandmother invited the officers in and they went upstairs to the bedroom were they found three teenage boys asleep, Davies in one bed, his cousin asleep on the floor in the middle and Davies’ friend on the other bed, DC Evans spoke to Davies first telling him he was being arrested for Becca’s murder, he mentioned that Davies was “groggy” but said it seemed to be from being woken not intoxication, but he also seemed to be unfazed by the arrest with no reaction on his face. Both boys were then handcuffed at the front and taken out to the police car waiting outside, they were hen taken to separate custody suites in Cardiff Bay. As he was led away Davies said to his grandmother “They think I’ve killed Rebecca” it was not recorded what she said in response, while his friend was arrested, he quickly shifted blame by saying “why am I being arrested? Rebecca is Josh’s friend”. After recounting the arrest they went on to mention early evidence collecting, that evening CI Tarstan Patel went back to Davies’ grandmother’s property and recovered a black hoodie from the back of the sofa, a purple t-shirt and a pair of converse style shoes that had been in the washing machine, wet from a wash.
On 8th July 2011 Davies took the stand, first the court were played the tapes of his interviews in Cardff Bay taken on 25th October 2010 at 10:50 am, in the interview he confirmed that he had gone to Café 107 in Aberkenfig on 23rd October 2010, he said he had arranged to meet Becca and go back to her house to sleep over and that they exchanged texts while he was at breakfast with his friends, he said that after one text he turned to his friends and said “looks like you’re going to be buying me breakfast” one friend laughed at this comment to which Davies said “you’ll see” he maintained that this was a joke between the boys recently. He went on to confirm their return to the friend’s house after his parents had left for holiday and that he had a call from Becca and discussed where to meet and settled on Pandy Park he said that during this phone call they spoke of a plan to pull a prank and “freak out” his friend, by 2pm that day he claimed he had still not met Becca and took another call, he went into the conservatory to take this and this is when the plan changed to meeting on Church Street close to where this friend lived, she sent a text shortly after the call to tell him that she arrived, after he left he made another “joke” to his friends saying “the time has come” in relation to this he claimed that this was something he often said with no weight behind it. Davies then walked to meet her and said at that point she was sheltering under a tree from the hail, he said they stayed under the tree for minutes trying to keep dry and chatting, he said he mentioned the “breakfast bet” to Becca and he said that he wanted to make it look like he had done it as a joke, Becca reportedly commented “he’d find out when I walk into school on Monday” Davies then said it would be funny to see the look on his friend’s face as he had been so certain that he “couldn’t get rid of her” he suggested a plan where they’d go somewhere and have Becca lie on the ground and play dead, Becca apparently refused because the ground was wet and dirty so they hit a compromise where they would go up to Pennsylvania Woods because his friend was on crutches and would not be able to get up and physically see her and Davies could just say that he had killed her. After making this plan Davies and Becca walked from Church Street to the main street where she took a call from her auntie asking if they needed a lift to which she said no, they continued to walk up to the wood’s entrance and then up a path and turning right stopping close to the edge of one of the quarries, he said when they stopped they again discussed the plan to prank his friend, but again Becca said the ground was too wet, so they went to find a “better spot” once they found it Davies text his friends asking them to meet him, he said he then took another two calls from his friends with the one who was able to climb asking for directions wo where Davies was, he said the pair were now laughing about their plan and as his friend arrived he was unhappy about being pranked, Davies said he laughed sarcastically, something he apparently did when something had angered him, according to Davies Becca then mentioned to Davies about going back to her house which his friend took as her trying to have a laugh at his expense. It was because of this according to Davies that his friend suddenly grabbed Becca by the wrist and pushed her to the floor, she told his friend to “fuck off” so he picked up the heavy rock and struck her on the back of the head with it, she screamed, but remained on the ground while his friend hit her six or seven times, in his statement he said he could recall a loud cracking noise that could have been her skull, he said at this point he knew Becca was dead and admitted to officers that he did nothing while his friend bludgeoned her because he was in too much shock to speak, he recalled the other friend calling out to see where they were and the friend shouted back “you should see the body” he said he then ran off while Davies ran after him noticing that he threw the rock at some point toward the quarry.
There was already inconsistencies with Davies’ version of events including his mention of Becca saying “he’ll find out when I walk into school Monday” as they were on a half term break and she had already made plans that Monday so she wouldn’t have forgotten that she did not have school on the Monday, the phone call he claimed to have taken at 2pm, this was impossible as the last call on Becca’s phone was at 1:19pm, the last call she had made to her mother where she confirmed that Davies had met her and was with her and his claim about the weather at this time was off, he said that when he arrived at 2pm Becca was sheltering under a tree from the hail, but by 2pm the hail had stopped so she wouldn’t have been sheltering and neither would he if he had met her at that time.
They went on to play his second interview in police custody on 25th October 2010, the officers started to question some of the weaker parts of Davies’ story as they had now retrieved various Facebook posts and conversations from that day that he had not mentioned one read “I just wanted it to go back to normal again” and one that read “I’m a chip off the old block” (possibly a reference to his father, he reportedly made claims years before that his father had broken someone’s skull with his bare hands, these claims have not been confirmed) the police pressed him on this and he mumbled something about chopping wood. They went on to press why he did not tell his grandmother or call the police or ambulance he replied with “I didn’t think of doing that”, he was asked about the texts he had sent Becca that night showing concern for her when he knew where she was even if he hadn’t killed he would know where she was so there would have been no need for him to send those texts unless he was covering it up, he said that in response to this he sent them because he had been too scared to say and that if Becca’s mother had continued to call he feared he “would say” out of guilt. He answered all of the police questions with some answers being questionable, he told officers at one point that his friend was the perpetrator but was keen for Davies not to be involved as he “didn’t want me in prison as well”. the questioning continued for days following the first interviews and after speaking to numerous other witnesses they became more aware of the threats Davies about killing Becca, when asked about it Davies spoke of how him and his friend had discussed many ways to kill her including a plan to drown Becca by throwing her off the bridge and into the quarry while one of them made an attempt to “save her” for effect, because Becca couldn’t swim they would say that the one who would “try and save her” couldn’t get to her in time, this is why while Becca’s mother was on the stand she was asked about Becca’s ability to swim, another was the potential plan to “poison her Ribena” it was already known to police that this was one of his threats, but when they spoke to another witness, a school friend of Davies’ it came to light that he may have discussed this plan with his father while he was drunk, the witness confirmed that Davies, the friend they had in custody, and Davies’ cousin were present when he talked to his father about it, and he asked his cousin if he wanted to be involved in the poisoning, Davies denied this happened saying he rarely spoke to this cousin, this cousin lived with Davies’ grandmother and Davies stayed over his grandmother’s house often so it’s speculated that Davies lied on this question. When they got to the questions about poisoning Davies started to distance during the interview the officer mentioned that he looked like he was thinking about something else so he further asked him “have you ever said you wanted to poison Becca?” he replied with “no, not poison”.
When this plan of poisoning came to light it led to search of Davies’ grandmother’s summerhouse where the home mixed poison, and the pestle and mortar were found. Davies was asked about these and claimed that weeks earlier he and the friend he was blaming were bored and discussing possible activities in the kitchen of his grandmother’s house when his friend asked about the pestle and mortar on the counter, Davies explained “I said it’s to crush things and stuff” and then asked his friend “do you want to have a go?” he claimed that they went to look for “berries and stuff” to go in the mixture he said they picked berries off trees and dead plants, he said they then crushed all the things they found and poured it into a container then added Coca Cola, he said they then left the mixture in the summerhouse, the police asked what the boys had been talking about while they did their “experiment” they asked, “did you discuss that it was poison?” Davies simply replied “Yeah”.
After another break on 13th July 2011 the court resumed on 14th July 2011, first the text Davies sent his friend on the Friday before the murder was discussed, the message read “it will all be done and dusted by then” in reference to the breakfast bet, it was to show Davies’ plan to murder her on the Friday when they initially planned to meet before Becca rearranged so she could go shopping, this led on to his plan on that day to get Becca where he wanted her showing how she met him in places with no CCTV, how he had worn clothes that he wouldn’t normally wear and how he told Becca to say she had seen the other Josh when she hadn’t. Then the court heard about the events after the murder they head how Davies and his friend who he was accusing of the murder back went back his grandmother’s house and watched the film No Country for Old Men together, at 5:24pm Davies his Facebook status to read that he had a good day with the two friends and finished the status with “and a lovely breakfast :D” showing another potential attempt at covering his tracks.
At 11:10am on 14th July 2011 Davies was called to the stand, for the prosecution Gregg Taylor QC started by asking Davies “did you love Rebecca?” this was followed by a silence, Davies reportedly fidgeted and squirmed then looked toward the floor mumbling “what?” he was asked the question once again but once again could not give an answer, after waiting a while he let the silence speak for itself. Davies continued to maintain his innocence while being cross-examined he claimed once again that his friend had killed Becca in a fit of rage because he thought the pair were laughing at him, he said “I was wondering if we had gone a bit too far” he was then asked “did you think he might kill her?” he said, “no, I just thought he was angry I didn’t think he was going to be physically violent to her” he went on to further claim what he had said in his previous statement, how his friend had grabbed Becca by the wrist, pulled her toward him then pushed her to the ground, “you had time to step in and stop him, Why did you not act?” Davies was asked, he said “I didn’t think anything was going to happen” Davies went on to explain how his friend had “swiped up” the rock with one hand and hit her on the head with it, then he hit her a further six or seven times while now holding the rock in both hands. The prosecution pressed Davies saying, “it does not take long to say something, to bring him to his senses, you could see all this happening in front of your eyes, why did you not try?” Davies tried to defend himself saying, “it all happened so quickly” the prosecution argued that it could not have happened quickly enough for him to have not stepped in Mr Taylor said “After that first hit, you say that she was trying to scream but she could not, it was just like a noise. At that point, did you not finally understand what was going on and try to stop him?” Davies said “When you see something like that happen to someone, you do not have an action plan right away” he was further pressed about the “action plan” comment and how he could have stepped in to stop his supposed best friend from bludgeoning his girlfriend to death especially since he claimed he saw she was in danger and still did nothing, to these questions Davies answered “I said stop, I mumbled stop” and claimed he could do no more than that as he was in shock, so in shock that he “didn’t think” to report the crime. Davies was seen as being more agitated and flustered as he struggled with the questions. Davies was then asked to take the prosecution through the events of that day up until he claimed that his friend killed Becca, he re-enacted the whole murder, even miming the raising of the rock and repeatedly striking. They moved on to the “time has come comment” Davies was now more agitated and was asked numerous times with no answer “the time has come for what?” until he relented and mumbled “to kill her”.
The defence made their case next, Mr Rouch QC tried to help Davies the best he could, but despite his efforts Davies seemed to be going against what his defence team were saying as he would say something that he was not coached on or would answer questions with answers that would help underline his guilt. Most of his defence was made up of character references from friends or girls from other schools in the area, due to most of their ages these testimonies were given via video link, they spoke in court of drunken house parties at Davies’ house, it was clear that most were other young women that had fallen for Davies’ charm. As part of the defence they called Becca’s younger sister as well, video evidence that she had given during initial interviews was played to the court, this was a shocking move as they had now called Becca’s mother and her sister as part of Davies’ defence, this is often an indication that they were struggling to fight Davies’ case in the face of the physical evidence and testimonies that the prosecution had.
The closing speeches were heard on 21st July 2011 from both prosecution and defence, they went over their main arguments and physical evidence, then the judge summed up the main points before sending the jury out to deliberate, a decision was not reached that day so the court was adjourned for the weekend. On 25th July 2011 the court resumed for the verdict, the jury asked about a piece of evidence mentioned in court previously, this was a text that had been sent to the Blackberry phone that Becca was using that day, it was found in her bag when her body was found, when it was analysed however there was a text received at 3pm that said “M” when Davies was asked about it he claimed the text was sent from his IPhone 4 by accident in his pocket, but as anyone who owned an IPhone or any smartphone would know there are too many steps in sending a text on them for it to be sent from simple touch, the phone would have to be in your pocket, unlocked, with a create message/message conversation open and even then the phone would more than likely time out and lock again to save power before it could send a message, it was also known that Davies kept a passcode on his phone, stereotypically it was “666”. The jury wanted to know whether this text had been opened or read, it is unclear what this message meant, or why the jury thought it would be of significance when deliberating, it is possible they wanted to see if the message had been opened because it could point to Davies’ return to the crime scene either to cover up his crime or to enjoy what he had done.
It wasn’t until 27th July 2011 that the jury reached a majority verdict, with a 10-2 majority Joshua Davies was found guilty of Becca’s murder, with a guilty verdict sentencing was set for 2nd September 2011, after looking at reports and psychiatric evaluations and the defence now not putting up a fight the judge lifted the order put in place to protect minors on trial for violent crimes and Davies was now allowed to be named in the media the judge ruled the case was of “strong public interest in open justice” and because the murder took place in a small community it was felt that they should know the name of the violent criminal living in their midst, with this people from the community came forward speaking against Davies many commented that he was a nasty child and that he was a frequent trouble maker on the residential streets. Justice David Lloyd Jones delivered the sentence he gave Davies an indefinite sentence with a minimum of 14 years, meaning he will be able to apply for release in 2024, but he would have to admit to his crimes and show remorse, he told Davies “you have shown yourself to be devious, calculated and controlling. You showed no remorse. You killed Rebecca in the most brutal way when you struck her repeatedly to the back of her heady with a heavy stone, fragmenting her skull. Her death will leave a permanent shadow over the lives of the members of her family, the effect of which has been devastating” as he heard this Davies reportedly slumped down and started to cry, the judge swiftly ordered him to stand up.
Davies’ parents have spoken out with their perspective, they defended Davies against the onslaught of media attention branding their son “evil” and “disturbed” when the anonymity was lifted, they spoke of his upbringing saying how he was a loving big brother, a respectful and caring young man who didn’t drink, smoke or get into trouble with the police, they also spoke of his collections of swords and knives saying they were just things he had collected over the years due to his interest in fantasy and history. Since the day of his arrest they have stood by Davies and maintained his innocence, with his father saying “I am a 100% sure he’s innocent there is just no way” when told of why his son had been arrested, he took up a 16 hour vigil in the foyer of the police station while they held Davies in custody, both parents visited him every day leading up to the trial also taking up any of his friends who wished to visit.
In October 2011 just a few weeks shy of a year since he murdered Becca, Davies posted statuses on his Facebook page from prison, he talked about having a good day with visitors, and how he spent the day play ps3 in his cell because it was raining, in another post on 6th October 2011 he talks about Amanda Knox, a woman who spent four years in prison before being found to be innocent, she was found innocent 3 days prior to Davies’ posts, he mentions how “the truth will out ” in his case as well. These messages were screenshotted and shared across various Facebook groups against Davies and eventually picked up by the media, prison authorities said to the media that Davies was given a computer at the time for educational reasons and that the computer was blocked from accessing social media a spokesperson for the prison service said “Prisoners are barred from updating Facebook while serving their sentence, or asking others to do so from outside prison. If they do, their accounts will be terminated. If a prisoner is found in illicit possession of a mobile phone or other contraband they will be dealt with appropriately by the prison”. Davies’ Facebook page has since been taken down.
In October 2018 it was reported that Davies had fully confessed to Becca’s murder, it was said he got up in the morning and asked to see someone, he then confessed saying “I did it, no one else was involved”. Although he has now taken responsibility for the crime it is speculated that not confessing until nearly 8 years is just a bid to try and get his release in 2024.
There has been much speculation about what was “wrong” with Davies, professionals have mentioned that he displays many signs of psychopathy with his lack of emotion toward Becca, and his lack of remorse for his crimes, and that he had shown what’s known as shallow affect, this is where an offender will show emotion where they think it is appropriate to do so, but the emotion is not genuine, he did this when he pretended to show concern for Becca and her mother when she was missing by posting “I feel sorry for her mother” on Facebook. It’s been mentioned that this behaviour is often only seen in someone so young when something has happened to a child to lead them to it, it is unknown in Davies’ case whether there is some trauma the odd statement he once made about his father crushing someone’s skull could point to an exposure to violence leading to his indifference when committing acts himself.
Davies was also displayed narcissistic tendencies seen in many of the relationships around him, particularly in how he uses people to make himself appear powerful or better, the way he treated Becca shows it because he could not let her be her own person both in and out of their relationship, by trying to read her diaries, her texts, and control her friendship groups he was attempting to make her life all about him as if he owned her, this controlling behaviour can only be tolerated for so long before the affected party decide they’ve had enough and that’s possibly what happened, Becca may have done or said something that made Davies’ position as “top dog” vulnerable, she may have challenged him in some way that made him “lose face” and he couldn’t take it, this is when he turned on Becca and abruptly ended the relationship, this would have been a tactic to try and make Becca feel like she needed him, and that she couldn’t cope without him, but Becca didn’t crumble, she did the healthy thing and found support in her friends and family and was able to move on. Becca’s ability to move on would have enraged him because it would have shown him that he didn’t own her, and he did not control her leading him to feel like he’d lost face publicly to their peers and lash out with the bullying and the threats. Criminologists have speculated the threats he made got to the point where he felt he could not walk away without again “losing face” with his peers, but it was his rage toward Becca that got too deep he felt that if she couldn’t under his control he didn’t want her alive. It also shows how disposable people were to him, if they didn’t benefit his existence in some way then he would turn on them, whether it was Becca or his friend, once he realised that the police knew that one of them was involved and this friend was of no use, he without hesitation or emotion tried to blame this friend potentially ruining his life as well.