Michael Gilbert

Watt family terrorised estate

Troubled life of murder victim

‘Slave’ called abusers family

Three people convicted of the murder of a vulnerable man who they kept as their slave have been jailed for life.

Michael Gilbert, 26, was tortured for his benefit money by the extended Watt family at their home in Luton.

James Watt was ordered to serve a minimum of 36 years, Natasha Oldfield will serve at least 18 years and Nicola Roberts a minimum of 15 years.

The court heard Mr Gilbert was kept as a slave and tortured before he was killed and his body dumped.

Richard Watt, 25, had previously admitted familial homicide and will be sentenced shortly.

Robert Watt, 20, and the brothers’ mother Jennifer Smith-Dennis, 58, were also found guilty of familial homicide and also await sentencing.

The three members of the Watt family and the brothers’ girlfriends were also convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Gilbert’s body was dismembered and dumped at a beauty spot known as the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey, where it was discovered by fishermen in May last year.

Case review

During the trial, the court heard “vulnerable” Michael Gilbert, who met James Watt at a children’s home when they were 15, was treated as a slave by the family.

Police said he was regularly assaulted and threatened over several years.

He was hit with bats, shot, stabbed and beatings were often filmed on mobile phones.

When the 26-year-old escaped, James Watt traced him through his benefit payments and National Insurance number and he would be forced back in to captivity.

Police had even paid for a rail ticket so he could return to Cambridge and escape the family but he was traced and bundled into a car before being taken back to the family home.

Det Ch Insp Jon Humphries said the defendants had showed callousness beyond anything he had witnessed in more than 26 years of service.

A serious case review is to be held in relation to the case.

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