Boy remanded over schoolgirl's murder

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The Independent Online

A 16-year-old boy appeared in court today charged with the murder of schoolgirl Rebecca Aylward.

Rebecca, 15, was found dead from head injuries in woodland at Aberkenfig, Bridgend, on Sunday.

The teenage suspect was remanded to secure accommodation during a brief youth court hearing in Bridgend.

Flanked by two security guards, the boy sat in the dock behind a transparent screen during the hearing.

Wearing a red T-shirt under an open black top, he spoke only to confirm his name and to state his age.

The charge of murdering Rebecca on October 23 at Aberkenfig was read to him.

Sitting with two other magistrates, Chairwoman Ruth Brookes said the boy would be back in court on November 3.

Speaking to the defendant, she said: "What's going to happen now is that you're going to be brought back to this court in seven days' time.

"In the meantime you're remanded to local authority accommodation with a secure requirement."

The boy's parents, brother, aunt and uncle were present for the hearing.

As he was led from the dock, he looked at his family at the back of the court.

Rebecca was reported missing by her mother, Sonia Oatley, when she failed to return home to Maesteg on Saturday evening.

She was dropped off to visit a friend at about 12.30pm earlier that day in Sarn Hill, Sarn.

Her body was found in woods on the outskirts of the village of Aberkenfig about 9am on Sunday.

Another boy, aged 15, was arrested over her death and was released without charge yesterday by South Wales Police.

In a statement, Rebecca's family said her younger brother and sister were devastated by her death.

They said: "Rebecca, also known as Becca, was dearly loved by all her family.

"She was loved by everyone including all her aunts, uncles and cousins.

"She will be sadly missed, she was a very happy young girl, she had an outgoing and bubbly personality."

The family added: "She was very motherly towards her younger brother and sister who absolutely adored her - they have been left devastated by her death.

"All the family have been shattered by her death. As a family we are all devastated by her untimely death and wish to be left alone to deal with our grief in private.

"Becca can never ever be replaced."

A book of condolence was opened during half-term at Archbishop McGrath Catholic Comprehensive School in Tondu where Rebecca was a Year 11 pupil.