Nathan Matthews has received a life sentence for the evil murder of Becky Watts, with a minimum tariff of 33 years. Even the judge almost broke down after this gruesome case reached a conclusion. Is 33 years enough? 43 years? 53 years? None of the above, I think. Even hanging is too good for him. In short, whatever sentence he received could never truly reflect the unimaginable pain Matthews and his cohort Shauna Hoare inflicted on Becky and her family.
Meanwhile, Matthews, has shown no remorse. His not guilty plea ensured that the family had to endure a lengthy, agonising, soul-destroying trial. Matthews just sat in the dock after the sentence was handed down, expressionless, seemingly emotionless, uncaring about what he had done and the lifelong pain he had inflicted on others. Everyone else, from the judge to the family, are shattered. How can they rebuild their lives?
Have you followed the grisly details, as I have done? The reports I have read have been jaw-dropping and believe me it takes a lot for my jaw to drop. That I was shocked just reading extracts in the newspapers is insignificant compared to what was said in court. Once you have got your head round that, try to imagine the victim was your daughter, your son, your sister, your brother. I am squeamish when I see a small to medium-sized flesh wound. I will not repeat what detectives uncovered in their investigation, but I know they will never, ever forget it. Whether Matthews, the cold, calculating killer will ever forget it, I don’t know, but then there is no suggestion that he had the slightest shred of humanity when committing his terrible deeds.
I hope, though, that he is reminded about it for every day this wretched apology for a human being walks upon this earth, behind bars at least until he is 61 but hopefully for long beyond that. And to even be considered for parole, he would need to show some contrition, some understanding and even some regret for what he has done. The learned judge said he thought it is likely that Matthews will never be freed. I hope he is right.
I totally get that people may feel that in this case a death sentence would be more appropriate and I am not going to pretend I feel anything remotely like the pain that Becky’s family are going through. Of course, I don’t. How could I? If this had happened in my family, who knows how I would feel about the killer? Would I want him to go to prison? I’d probably want him to die and I might like to be the one who kills him. Only the many times removed person that I am can give my view which is that I would like Matthews to live to old age, in prison, one day realising how he threw it all away. I would like his life behind bars to be as miserable as possible, for every day and every night to seem like it was lasting forever, to hear the warden leave, rattling his keys, locking all the doors at night and having to piss into a bucket by the side of his bed and have to empty it himself, every morning, in the company of his fellow killers and perverts, fearing that one day he might be attacked when no one was watching. If the family has to have a life sentence, then I want Matthews to have one too.
The murder, the investigation, the trial, the sentence – this is hell on earth and it’s a hell that the family are going through. They will need all the help and support they can get in the forthcoming years and if we, as a society, can do anything to help and support them, then we should. They’re lives will never be the same again but then neither will Matthews’ life. I would like the rest of his days to be a hell on earth. He deserves no more. And whatever he does and says in the years ahead, I find it hard, impossible, to believe he will ever be freed. We will never forget what he did but hopefully never will he. I see no way back into normal society for this most evil of people and with any luck there will be no way back.
Justice has been served. It’s never perfect but the system worked this time.