Mother of girl bludgeoned to death by her ex vows to keep him jailed

‘He will kill again if he’s freed’: Mother of schoolgirl, 15, bludgeoned to death with a rock by her ex-boyfriend in sick bet to win a free breakfast vows to keep murderer behind bars as he’s eligible for parole next year

  • Joshua Davies lured Rebecca Aylward to a secluded spot in Bridgend in 2010
  • There he killed her, but claimed for years it was a friend that murdered Rebecca

The mother of a 15-year-old schoolgirl who was bludgeoned to death with a rock by her ex-boyfriend has vowed to keep the murderer behind bars as he is eligible for parole next year.

Joshua Davies lured 15-year-old Rebecca Aylward to a secluded spot in Bridgend, South Wales in 2010, where he killed her so he could win a bet over a free fried breakfast.

Davies, who is now 29, has been behind bars for almost 14 years and is eligible for parole next year.

Sonia Oatley, Rebecca’s mother, has vowed to do everything in her power to block his release from prison and said: ‘He will kill again.’

She told the Mirror: ‘Joshua’s sentence is shorter than Rebecca’s life – it’s an insult. That cowardly monster planned to kill my beautiful daughter in the most horrific way possible – he should never be released.’

Rebecca Aylward (left), of Bridgend, South Wales, was murdered by Joshua Davies (right)

Sonia Oatley (pictured), Rebecca’s mother, has vowed to do everything in her power to block his release from prison and said: ‘He will kill again’

Ms Oatley added: ‘He’s threatened my other daughter Jessica, and another of Becca’s friends – we cannot risk. He is dangerous and knows how to manipulate people and the authorities and he should stay locked up for the public’s safety.’ 

In January 2010, Davies left Rebecca for another girl. She then found another partner – only for her ex-boyfriend to persuade her to end it and meet up with him.

In the court case the following year it emerged that in the time before the meet-up in October, the killer had been publishing hateful material against Rebecca online.

To friends he bragged he was going to poison her with plants like deadly nightshade, or else push her over a quarry or into a river.

‘Becca never told me that (it was abusive) but there must have been some controlling element looking back now,’ Ms Oatley said previously.

‘In January 2010 he left Becca for another girl. She was absolutely devastated and I hated seeing her so hurt.

‘But in time she started going out with another boy herself – only for Josh to convince her to end it and to meet up with him.

‘She did so, almost instantly, thrilled at the thought of their reconciliation.’

Ms Oatley (pictured here with Rebecca) added: ‘He’s threatened my other daughter Jessica, and another of Becca’s friends – we cannot risk. He is dangerous and knows how to manipulate people and the authorities and he should stay locked up for the public’s safety’

Mother Sonia Oatley moved away from her home in Maesteg, near Bridgend, after the murder and is bereft her daughter’s killer might be released

As the day of the meet-up wore on, concern started to grow as Rebecca failed to return home. That evening the police were called. 

At this point Rebecca had last been seen at 12.30pm. Ms Oatley would later learn that after leaving the woods Davies went back to an aunt’s house.

He then attempted to create a fake alibi on Facebook about ‘chilling out with friends’ while watching Strictly Come Dancing on the TV.

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.

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.’

In one chilling exchange seen by the jury, Davies texts his friend asking: ‘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.

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.’

On the same night the teenager sent texts to Rebecca’s phone, knowing she was dead, pleading with her to let people know where she was.

After a night of searching, Rebecca’s body was found at around 9am the next day near Aberkenfig. The wooded area was said to have been popular with teenagers.

Two 15-year-old boys were taken in for questioning and an appeal for further witnesses was put out.

Speaking in court the following year, PC Gemma Tibbott described spotting Rebecca’s body lying face down from a slightly raised embankment in the woods.

She described the teenager as being an ‘ashen colour’, wearing her new jacket with the hood over her head.

Ms Oatley said: ‘I wasn’t there when the news came. It was the Sunday morning and the police came to my sister’s house where the family were. 

‘We were out in Aberkenfig searching for her and my sister stayed back with Jack. She rung my brother to tell him to bring Sonia back.’

As the weeks stretched into months after Rebecca’s death, Ms Oatley was faced with the agony of waiting for Davies’s trial to begin.

As an important witness, police and prosecutors were unable to divulge more than basic facts, leaving the mother’s mind to fill in the blanks and prepare for the funeral.

Looking back, Ms Oatley said: ‘Before the trial I knew nothing at all. They told me what had happened but they couldn’t go into any detail. It was just waiting. 

‘You were just left to it, to your own thoughts – there was no information. We had Becca’s birthday in the February and we had Christmas which was a nightmare. 

‘I didn’t want to decorate anything, Jack was eight and Jessica was 13 but I couldn’t face it. They decorated, I just helped them with it. I had to do it for them.

‘I couldn’t handle people talking to me. My family liaison officer was really down to the point which suited me.’

In June 2011, eight months after Bridgend High School pupil Rebecca’s death, the trial opened at Swansea Crown Court.

Davies, who had since turned 16, was accused of Rebecca’s murder after bludgeoning her to death with a large rock.

With Ms Oatley sitting in court alongside family and friends, the horrifying details of what happened that day began to emerge.

During evidence it was heard that Davies had told a friend he was going into the forest with Rebecca and smiled as he said ‘the time has come’.

The same friend later phoned Joshua to ask if he was with Rebecca. The defendant replied with two words – ‘define with’.

After summoning the fellow 16-year-old into the forest, the murderer then told his friend he had hit Rebecca from behind with a rock until she stopped screaming, before discarding the bloody weapon into the undergrowth. 

His demeanour was described merely as ‘cool’. Together the boys went home, in full knowledge that Rebecca’s body lay in the woods behind them. 

There, they met a third friend and made a round of tea, discussing the day’s events. A pathologist said Rebecca died from brain injuries caused by ‘blunt force injury’.

Throughout the trial Davies denied any wrongdoing. Instead, he blamed Rebecca’s murder on his friend and described seeing his friend hit her over the head ‘six or seven times’ with the rock.

According to Ms Oatley, worse still were the witness statements detailing Davies’s obsession with killing his former girlfriend.

As the trial progressed, the jury heard how the teenager’s favourite point of conversation among his friends was the method by which he would kill Rebecca. 

Rebecca’s body was found in a wooded area that was said to have been popular with teenagers

Ms Oatley with her two other children, Jessica, and Jack, at a remembrance bench for Rebecca in 2018

Rebecca, pictured with Ms Oatley as a child, was a popular and intelligent girl growing up

It emerged that one friend even promised to buy Davies a cooked breakfast if he carried out his threat.

Two days before the murder, Davies texted his friend. The message read: ‘Don’t say anything, but you may just owe me a breakfast’.

In court the boy who placed the bet told the jury he thought it was only a joke, and that the defendant ‘was messing about’.

On July 27, 2011 the jury returned to the court room after four days of deliberation. Davies was found guilty of murder on a 10-2 majority verdict.

Members of Rebecca’s family, sitting in the public gallery, cheered briefly, before releasing a statement stating they would ‘never forgive’ Davies for his crime.

During a later sentencing, the 16-year-old was given a life sentence at Swansea Crown Court and told he would serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.

Davies only confessed eight years into his sentence after blaming his friend for years. 

Ms Oatley now also issued a plea for tougher sentences for murderers, which comes after the Justice Secretary Alex Chalk unveiled plans for stricter jail terms for those who murder their ex-partners. 

She said: ‘I am ashamed of our laws in the UK – they are archaic and I want to know why murderers are offered such different sentences. If you’ve taken a life you should serve a life – it’s as simple as that.’

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