When we hear about murders, besides the method of killing, the culprits, and the victims, the most fascinating thing is ultimately the motive behind it all. Yet, what happens when there is no real motive, when the murder is meaningless?
Looking for meaning in the meaningless death of an innocent person is perhaps the hardest part about writing or reading these stories. And it’s made even harder by the fact that sometimes, people do things not for love, or greed, or revenge, but because of something completely trivial…
A Free Breakfast
A few years ago, a group of drunken teenagers were having a purely hypothetical conversation. One of them, a young person recently spurned by their lover and still feeling love’s keen sting, waxed philosophical about what would happen if they murdered their ex. It was a joke, one of their friends even told them that if they actually went through with it, they’d buy the jilted lover a free breakfast.
15-year-old Rebecca was friendly, outgoing, and possessed of a wide circle of friends from a number of local schools in her hometown in Wales. She was a beloved daughter, a beautiful young girl, and a promising student. She’d even aced most of her exams well before her peers. In short, Becca was the total package, and her boyfriend thought so too…
Joshua, who was also 15 and lived in the nearby town of Aberkenfig, Wales had been going out with Rebecca for a few months, though the two had known each other for years. Like Becca, he was good-looking, charming, friendly, and generally outgoing. It seemed a natural fit that the two should date.
Though they had only been seeing each other for three months, the two were very much in love. They were inseparable, hung out together all the time, and were, despite their ages, sexually active. Like most young people, Josh and Becca believed that they were meant to be together, but of course, the reality of their situation soon hit them like a ton of bricks…
The two broke up soon enough, though neither could seem to agree on what caused the rift. Josh claimed that Rebecca tried to trick him into getting her pregnant. She said that it was because he refused to wear condoms. Whatever the reason, it was Josh who decided to make it even more awkward afterwards by spreading nasty rumors that she had an abortion while they were dating.
Bury the Hatchet
After a few months of this though, both parties agreed that things had to change. They had been friends for so long before, why couldn’t they again? In October of 2010, Josh called up Becca and asked her to meet up so they could bury the hatchet once and for all. He asked if they could meet in the woods near Aberkenfig, a place they had hung out many times before…
Rebecca was so excited about the prospect of rekindling their relationship that she even bought a new outfit for the occasion. She did her makeup, fixed her hair, and asked her aunt for a ride out to their special spot. She waited in the woods and as soon as she saw Josh in the distance, called her mom to let her know they’d met up. After all, you can never be too careful.
Beaten to Death
“Rebecca sounded really happy,” recalled her mother, after hanging up the phone. Little did she know, it would be the last time she’d ever speak to her daughter. Once he was sure the two were alone, Joshua Davies attacked. He grabbed a large rock from the ground and began to rain blows upon his former girlfriend….
Davies had been hanging out with a friend prior to making his way into the woods that day and before he left him, he’d smiled and told them: “The time has come.” It wasn’t until later, after he’d left Becca’s bloody bludgeoned body face down in the dirt, that people would finally learn what he was capable of.
Almost immediately after the attack one of Davies’ friends called his cell phone to ask if he was with Rebecca. Davies’ coolly asked him to “define” what he meant by “with”. It was a message just as cryptic and worrying as his final words had been, but still it would be some time before anyone learned what was really happening…
Josh Davies then went home as if nothing had happened. He washed his hands, updated his Facebook page to say that he had been “chilling with friends”, and made himself a cup of tea. After that, he sat down, tea in hand and watched Strictly Come Dancing and the film No Country For Old Men: a film rife with cold-blooded murder.
Soon though, the placidity if Davies’ post-murder afternoon would be broken by the fact that Rebecca never returned home. The alarm was raised by her parents, who had believed that she was with him in the Aberkenfig woods. To stave off suspicion, he sent a text to her phone asking her to get in touch with him “We’re all worried,” he wrote…
Crime Scene Tour
Then Davies had made a fatal error in judgement, other than killing his ex in cold blood, that is. You see, the next day after Davies texted his friend, Boy B., to come by the woods. Boy B. had no idea what was in store for him when he walked into that forest. Davies wasn’t even the slightest bit upset at what he had done.
The Hardest Thing
As he showed off his handiwork to his friend, the only thing he could say was: “Do you know how hard it is to break someone’s neck? She was screaming and I picked up the rock and started to hit her with it. The worst part was feeling and seeing her skull give way.” Boy B. felt like he walked into a cold shower…
Boy B went home and told his parents what he had seen. They called the police, who went into the woods and found Rebecca’s body not far from where her aunt had dropped her off. They already knew that Becca had been meeting up with her ex, thanks to her mother. Arresting officers then went over to Davies’ house and took him and Boy B. in for questioning.
According to Davies, it was not he who killed Becca but Boy B., who had invited the two of them into the woods as a prank. Becca, he said, laughed at Boy B. and in a fit of rage, he had attacked and killed her, swearing Davies to secrecy after the murder. Of course, that still didn’t explain why Davies hadn’t tried to intervene and stop the attack…
There was also quite a bit of evidence against Davies by way of the many conversations he’d had with friends prior to the murder. After the breakup, he’d often spoke of murdering her, even going so far as to say he’d slip deadly nightshade into her food. He’d also asked his friends what they would do if he actually went through with it. One replied that they’d buy him breakfast.
Two Days Prior
Then, two days before the murder, Davies’ texted that friend to remind him about the promised breakfast. “You may have to buy me a breakfast.” he said. To which the friend replied: “Best text I have ever had mate. Seriously, if it’s true I am happy to pay for a breakfast. I want all the details. You sadistic bastard.” He had no idea that Davies had actually gone through with it…
After a five-week trial and nearly 20 hours of deliberation, the foreman of the jury revealed the verdict. The evidence was too overwhelming to ignore. 15-year-old Joshua Davies was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole only after having served a minimum of 14 years.
Shock to the System
Rebecca’s killing was a huge shock to the small Welsh community of Maesteg. The town had seen a fair share of suicides in recent years and this killing, while clearly a one-off crime of passion, was just another devastating blow. Ultimately, Davies’ imprisonment is a fine example of justice being served, but it won’t reignite the spark of life that was Rebecca Aylward.