Teenage murderer confesses but girl says ‘I’m not guilty’

Ryan Sheppard.

Ryan Sheppard. - Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A TEENAGER has pleaded guilty to the murder of Weston man Mark Roberts.

Mark Roberts and finacee Zara Powell. Photo: Zara Powell.

Mark Roberts and finacee Zara Powell. Photo: Zara Powell. - Credit: Zara Powell.

Ryan Sheppard, aged 18, admitted during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court on April 7 that he killed the 35-year-old last year.

Mr Roberts was found injured in Baildon Road on the Bournville estate in the early hours of October 12, just a few hundred metres from the home he shared with fiancée Zara Powell.

He was taken to Weston General Hospital where he died the following day.

Members of Sheppard’s family waved from the public gallery while he sat in the dock and he was told he would be remanded in custody until his sentencing.

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Detective Inspector Lorna Dallimore, speaking outside court, said: “I am pleased that Ryan Sheppard has admitted his role in the murder of Mr Roberts and hope the guilty plea brings some comfort to his family.”

Tributes to Mr Roberts were submitted to the Mercury’s website and Facebook page when news of the incident broke and Zara said he was an ‘extremely good father figure’ to her two young children.

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She told the Mercury: “I loved him to bits. He was absolutely amazing. No-one could say a bad word about him.

“As soon as he came in the door from work my little boy would run up to him, and he would call out for him in the mornings.

“We were planning a good future together.”

Just days after Mr Roberts died his parents Andrew and Lesley, of Uphill, said their family had suffered an ‘unimaginable’ loss, and that Mark had been robbed of a chance of happiness with Zara.

A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has also been charged with murder but denies the allegation. She will appear in crown court on June 4 for trial.

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