Actual murder took place in October, 2010.
Relaxing with his girlfriend, he looks the picture of innocence. Yet not long after this picture was taken with Rebecca Aylward, Joshua Davies battered her to death.
Davies, 16, lured his ex-girlfriend to a secluded spot where he killed her to win a bet over a free breakfast.
Trusted friend of the family: Joshua Davies with Rebecca Aylward during their three-month relationship
Welcomed into the family: Davies with Rebecca and her brother Jack. Rebecca even bought new clothes for the ‘date’ unaware Davies had been boasting to his friends how easy it would be to kill her
Rebecca, 15, and her mother Sonia had both been delighted when Davies, an academically gifted boy from a churchgoing family, arranged to meet her again.
When her daughter failed to come home, Mrs Aylward’s reaction was to tell her sister not to worry adding: ‘She’s safe, she’s with Josh’.
By that time Rebecca had been bludgeoned with a rock the size of a rugby ball – and Davies was trying to cover his tracks on Facebook.
He failed – and was yesterday found guilty of murder.
The chilling case highlighted how he used the internet, text messages and an array of social networking sites to plot her death.
A few weeks before the murder, one of his friends had joked that he would ‘buy him breakfast’ if he carried out his threat.
Two days before he killed Rebecca, Davies told him: ‘You may have to buy me a breakfast.’
Mr Justice Lloyd Jones lifted an order preventing the killer from being named and photographed, saying it was in the public interest that he should be identified.
Police mugshot of Davies above, and Rebecca right below Davies. Rebecca’s mother Sonia had both been delighted when Davies, an academically gifted boy from a churchgoing family, arranged to meet her again.
And Rebecca’s family issued a statement at Swansea Crown Court saying their lives had ‘stopped’ on the day in October 2010 when she was murdered.
‘Rebecca was killed in a senseless and barbaric act,’ they said. ‘She died at the hands of someone she loved and trusted. ”
‘We will never forget what he did to her or forgive him for destroying our family.’
Joshua Davies arriving at Swansea Crown Court. The trial heard that two days before the murder Davies texted his friend to say: ‘Don’t say anything but you may just owe me a breakfast.’
Rebecca and Davies, from Aberkenfig, near Bridgend, met at the age of 11 and began going out together in late 2009 but the relationship soured and was ended by Rebecca after three months.
The following October he asked to see her again. ‘Rebecca was quite happy to meet up with him – she thought he was going to ask her back out,’ her mother told the court.
‘She got up at 6am to get ready and to do her make-up. She put on her new clothes, bought the day before. ‘Rebecca sounded really happy when she saw it was him coming down the hill towards her. ”I wanted to make sure it was him so I got Rebecca to say his full name twice.’
When the couple were alone, 6ft Davies repeatedly slammed a rock into Rebecca’s head before leaving her bloodied and battered body face-down on a wet forest floor.
He then took a friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to the scene to show him her body.
Davies told him: ‘Do you know how hard it is to break someone’s neck? She was facing away from me and I thought, “This is it, I’m going to go for it”.
‘I tried to break her neck. She was screaming so I picked up the rock and started to hit her with it. The worst part was feeling and seeing her skull give way.’
He then updated his Facebook page saying he was at home at the time of the murder, and after Rebecca had been reported missing even expressed his own fears for her welfare. He then made plans to return to the forest near his home on the night of the murder to bury Rebecca’s body and even attempted to pin the blame on the friend he led to the scene, using it as his defence during the trial.
Police were alerted to the killing after one of Davies’s friends told his parents and led officers to the body.
Other friends told detectives that Davies was a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character who was ‘fixated’ on murder and would threaten to kill anyone who crossed him.
They said that most of the time, Davies, who lived with his shop assistant mother Hayley and mechanic father Steven, was a confident and outgoing schoolboy in all the top sets who dreamed of becoming Prime Minister.
But he also had a ‘dark and sinister’ side that would surface when he fell out with people and was extremely ‘jealous and possessive’ of Rebecca.
Shortly after she ended their relationship he began spreading vicious rumours about her having an abortion and trying to get pregnant to keep him following the break-up.
He would share his threats and scheming with his friends on social networking sites and over text messaging, using textspeak to communicate.
The jury were given a list of text sayings and symbols to help them understand the conversations between the teenagers.
Davies was obsessed with violent films and his Bebo page lists his favourites, including ‘There Will Be Blood,’ in which Daniel Day-Lewis bludgeons a man to death with a bowling pin.
He also told friends he was going to drown Rebecca in a river or throw her off a cliff and dump her body in a hole, inspired by the violent Spartan fantasy film 300.
He said: ‘Wouldn’t it be easier if she wasn’t here? I am going to kill her – it would be real easy.’
He even bought a toxic foxglove concoction that he said he was going to put in her drink so she would ‘die in her own filth’.
But despite all the warning signs, none of his friends believed he would actually carry out his threats.
Lifting an order preventing Davies being named and pictured because of his age, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said: ‘This is a crime in a small and closely-knit community and it’s right that the public should know there has been a conviction and who has been convicted.
‘I accept that the weight given to the welfare of the boy changes now he has been convicted of a very serious offence.’
What would you do if I DID kill her… teenage murderer’s chilling text message to friend
Joshua Davies and his teenage friends inhabited their own online world in which the line between fiction and reality often became blurred.
They would use textspeak, jargon and symbols in a language so impenetrable that the jury had to be given translations.
The apparently playful way in which the schoolchildren communicated – in sentences peppered with smiley faces and symbols – belied the sinister nature of Davies’s intentions.
Davies bludgeoned Rebecca to death with a rock the size of a rugby ball. He later boasted to a friend and showed him the scene
In the months and weeks leading up to Rebecca’s murder, he would post messages on social networking sites including Facebook, MSN Messenger and Bebo, saying he wanted to kill Rebecca.
His friends would respond to these sickening threats in jest, often egging him on in the mistaken belief that he was messing around.
But Davies was deadly serious and continued sending the messages until just days before he battered her to death in a woodland clearing.
Before he left to meet his ex-girlfriend on the day of the murder he told one friend: ‘The time has come.’
He also goes on to say: ‘What would you do if I actually did kill her?’
The friend replies: ‘Oh, I would buy you breakfast.’
Two days before the brutal murder Davies says: ‘Don’t say anything but you may just owe me a breakfast.’
His friend replies: ‘Best text I have ever had mate. Seriously, if it is true I am happy to pay for a breakfast. I want all the details. You sadistic bastard.’
The text finishes with a smiley face symbol.
Sonia Aylward, Rebecca’s mother, outside court in Swansea after Davies was found guilty. Standing with her are Rebecca’s brother and sister
The friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in court that he did not believe Davies and had not known how his texts would be taken, suggesting an extraordinary disconnect between the online world and reality.
‘I didn’t mean I wanted him to kill her,’ he said. ‘I thought he was only joking so I was messing about with him.
‘I honestly didn’t think he was going to do it – I was just playing along.’
Davies posted Facebook updates saying he was ‘just chilling with my two friends’ while watching Strictly Come Dancing to imply he was at home at the time the murder took place.
He later posted the Facebook status update: ‘I enjoyed a rather good day and a lovely breakfast’, in a clear reference to the bet he had made with his friend.
And he posted his own concerned messages on Facebook after Rebecca was reported missing, suggesting he was genuinely worried and giving her family no cause to suspect he was involved.
‘I feel sorry for her mother,’ the murderer wrote on Facebook.
When asked why, he replied: ‘Well if I was a parent I’d be worried if my daughter was missing.’