Six family members jailed over headless body in Blue Lagoon

The torture and death of a man whose headless body was dumped in a lake was branded "depraved" by a judge yesterday as he sentenced six members of the same family.

Judge John Bevan QC jailed three members of the Watt family for life for murdering Michael Gilbert and three others for familial homicide.

The 26-year-old was kept as a slave and tortured for his benefit money before being killed. His headless body was dumped in the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey, Bedfordshire, last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

James Watt, 27, his girlfriend, Natasha Oldfield, 29, and his brother Richard's girlfriend, Nichola Roberts, 22, were jailed for life for murder.

Watt will serve a minimum of 36 years, Oldfield a minimum of 18 and Roberts a minimum of 15.

James's brother, Robert Watt, 20, and his mother, Jennifer Smith-Dennis, 58, were jailed for eight years and 10 years respectively for familial homicide.

A third brother, Richard Watt, 25, who previously pleaded guilty to familial homicide, was sentenced to six years in prison.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

James, Robert and Richard Watt had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and, on Friday, Roberts, Oldfield and Smith-Dennis were convicted by the jury.

James Watt was heard to say "Cheers" to the judge as he was sent down yesterday.

Passing sentence today, the judge said the whole case was a "grotesque story".

He said Mr Gilbert died a "cruel, lonely and violent death" and that the description of him as a slave was only a "mild exaggeration".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He told the family: "In all my years, both on the bench and at the bar, I have only ever dealt with a handful of cases where the behaviour can properly be described as depraved and you can be rightly added to this list. How, in a civilised society, this behaviour was allowed to continue is a mystery."

During the trial, the court heard that Mr Gilbert was kept as a slave and tortured for his benefit money by members of the family at their home in Luton.

Mr Gilbert's mother, Rosalie White, did not want to comment after the sentence but his sister, Patricia Bussey, said: "It's about time it's been done, it's been dragging on for long enough.

"Michael has been tortured long enough and now he can finally be left in peace."

Related topics: