In October 2010, 15-year-old schoolboy Joshua Davies lured his ex-girlfriend Becca Aylward to a secluded wood near Aberkenfig, Bridgend, under the pretence of rekindling their relationship.
It was then, however, Joshua carried out a pre-planned and brutal attack, killing Becca by repeatedly hitting her with a rock, in a cruel murder which shocked the nation.
Davies was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years in prison, but only confessed to the murder in 2017, seven years after the callous attack.
You can watch a clip from the documentary here:
Now, a documentary – Britain’s Deadliest Kids – is to shed new light on the case, and has revealed some shocking details about Davies’ plans and motivation.
Information recovered after Becca’s death revealed Davies had been plotting the murder for months, and had even devised three different methods to carry it out, all apparently over a bet with a friend for a cooked breakfast.
Speaking in the documentary, journalist Bob Arthur claims:
[Davies] had several plans to see death come about. One was to invite her to take a stroll along the river bank. He knew that she couldn’t swim. He would push her in and then jump into the river, apparently to save her, but use that as an opportunity to make sure that she drowned.
[Davies] came up with a second plan. This one would involve poisoning her. He in fact researched the subject and decided upon foxglove and deadly nightshade. He actually got hold of the substances and mixed them together.
This concoction was apparently found at Davies’ grandmother’s house after his arrest.
As forensic psychologist Dr Keri Nixon suggests:
He was getting enjoyment out of the actual planning, not just the murder itself, but how he was going to do it.
Following the discovery of the poison, suspicion arose that Davies may have already tried to carry out his plan to poison Becca when she was suddenly taken ill with a mystery stomach complaint. Becca was even reportedly hospitalised because of a ‘mysterious stomach complaint’, the cause of which was never found.
A seemingly charming and popular schoolboy, Joshua Davies and Becca Aylward seemed like any ordinary teenage couple. But it came to light during the investigation into Becca’s death that Davies’ behaviour towards her was abusive and controlling, with Davies regularly reading her private diary and spreading rumours about her.
According Irving Smith, Becca’s best friend:
Josh would make up rumours about her. There was one where he told people that she was pregnant and then took her aside and said ‘you’re going to say, you are’ when she wasn’t. I always thought it was about control.
Sadly, as Dr Keri Nixon puts it, these traits in adolescent relationships are actually quite common as ‘they haven’t got the previous relationships to draw on; they don’t know what’s appropriate behaviour.’ Adding: ‘They have a very skewed view of what a healthy relationship is.’
In 2017, seven years after the murder, Davies finally confessed to killing Becca Aylward. But according to Irving, the confession is just a way of Davies trying to shorten his prison sentence.
As he said:
There is no way that his confession isn’t an attempt to some reduction or to help his sentencing. I’m sure this is just a just another way for him to try help himself.
As Davies was only 15 at the time, he was detained indefinitely ‘at Her Majesty’s pleasure’ – the juvenile equivalent of a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years before he would be eligible for parole.
Britain’s Deadliest Kids airs on Quest Red on Saturday, June 8, at 10pm.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.