Man admits manslaughter of three men, but denies murder

From L-R: Richard Booth and brothers Danny Gibson and Jason Gibson who were all killed in Colchester

From L-R: Richard Booth and brothers Danny Gibson and Jason Gibson who were all killed in Colchester. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: ESSEX POLICE

A 34-year-old man accused of killing three men in Colchester has admitted manslaughter.

Tom Saunders, of Bounstead Road, Colchester, was due to stand trial later this month for three offences of murder following the deaths of brothers Danny Gibson, 35, and 31-year-old Jason Gibson, both from Colchester, and 35-year-old Richard Booth in October 2019.

However, Saunders appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via a prison video link on Friday, January 7, and denied murdering the three men but admitted their manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

He also admitted having an offensive weapon, namely a knife, in a public place.

Prosecution counsel Karim Khalil QC asked the court to adjourn the case until January 17 to allow the prosecution to consider whether the pleas are acceptable.

If the pleas are acceptable a further hearing will be heard in February during which psychiatrists will give evidence about Saunders’ mental state.

Essex Police were called to an address in Wellesley Road, Colchester at 10.15pm Saturday, October 5, 2019, over concerns for the welfare of two men following reports of an altercation. 

Wellesley Road is currently cordoned off Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Police at the scene in Wellesley Road, Colchester - Credit: Archant

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Officers found the bodies of brothers Danny and Jason Gibson inside the property, while Mr Booth's body was found in a car in Hospital Road.

Post mortem examinations established that the three men died from multiple stab wounds.

Saunders first appeared at court on October 8, 2019, before magistrates in Colchester and since then he has been seen by a number of psychiatrists while being held at Rampton Secure Hospital.

During a previous hearing at the end of October this year, Saunders was deemed fit to stand trial following psychiatric tests. 

His barrister Tracy Ayling QC told the court that her client’s diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia had never been disputed and he was "still very unwell".