The Evil Within by Darren Galsworthy

No Series

This is the heartbreaking story of the murder of 16-year-old Bristol schoolgirl Becky Watts, a personal and heartfelt account of a crime that shocked the nation in a unique way and tore a family in two.

A vulnerable and shy girl, Becky Watts was brutally murdered and dismembered by her own step-brother on 19 February 2015. As her father Darren discovered the horrific details of what happened to his darling girl, his world fell apart.

Writing about his darkest hours and unbearable pain, Darren uncovers what Becky’s relationship with her step-brother Nathan, a child he had raised as his own son, was really like. He recalls the devastation of discovering the truth about the depravity with which Becky was torn from him in the safety of her own home. And he recounts the torment of the legal battle to see his step-son sentenced to life behind bars.

But, at its heart, Becky is a poignant personal story, a chance for Darren to pay tribute to his darling daughter, to celebrate her life and take back control of how she is remembered.
Darren recalls with enduring love the daughter he fought so hard to get custody of after she was taken into foster care as an infant; the happy child who completed his life; and the innocent schoolgirl who brought joy and happiness to all her knew her.

Both heartfelt and haunting, searingly honest and unflinching, this is the ultimate story of a family tragedy.

I would have cried through the middle of this book if it had been a work of fiction, but knowing it's a true account of senseless tragedy is especially gut-wrenching.

While the first part seemed a little too good to be true in certain accounts of magical family bliss at times, the love for the family was always there. The father didn't have an aim of being a writer who pens a tale for attention or literary merit, but to be heard in the midst of his grief and as a tool to help heal and distract from the overwhelming horrors he faced after the trial. I can't describe how genuine and convincing the story was, how much it came alive when the father wrote of his unending terror and despair while they searched for his missing daughter, the overwhelming anguish hearing her body "parts" had been found, the disbelief when he found out his own stepson and stepson's girlfriend were responsible, and the difficult trial afterward.

While bleak and sad and awful, there was a sense of comfort reached out through the arm of the community that gathered around the family to console when they could, support financially to bring around a fairy-tale carriage to carry her remains for a funeral, the determination and hard work of the police force, the tearful conclusion from the presiding judge, and the gathering of family and friends when the parents couldn't go on alone. As the father stated, when one chapter ended in each stage, only emptiness remained.

I do have to say that I don't get why the parents didn't switch their daughters out of school or make other arrangements where she was bullied that it affected her mental and physical health. Sometimes we tell kids to tough it out and make it through, but sometimes you have to step in and say enough's enough and take them out of the difficult situation.

I feel for the young girl who had such a difficult struggle so young, including with bullying and anorexia, before being murdered at 16. I couldn't imagine the struggles of the family, who said it would have been better for them all to have been killed at once than left behind to deal with the reality of what happened. How could I not rate a book so genuine in its heartbreak and devastation as less than a high rating? Books such as this aren't easy to rate - they're not done to be entertaining, although I couldn't put it down, but to tell a story. This did that, and did it convincingly. I pray the family can find a semblance of peace in the years to come.