This is what 18 years looks like. In those early photos of Scott Watson as he walked to court, he looked just like a million other young guys, flashed up and slightly self-conscious. His hair is dark and combed to the left. He’s wearing a dark suit with scarlet tie. He could be anyone’s son, brother or uncle, with things to do later that day, and plans for getting ahead.
Now he looks like a guy who sells fridges at Noel Leeming. Like someone in charge of the produce department at Pak’nSave. Still your average guy, but someone whose prime is past. The hair is greying and there’s not really enough to comb any more. The dark eyes now look through wire-framed glasses. He looks more solid, more stocky. He looks dispiritingly middle-aged.
Scott Watson is 44 now. When he appeared in the High Court at Christchurch in May this year to challenge the Corrections Department’s attempt to stop this story being written, it was the first time he’d been seen in public since he was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Other than his family, nobody recognised Watson as he took a seat beside his lawyer, Kerry Cook. That’s what 18 years does – you change far more than you realise, and people forget how you once were.