Mentally-ill man stabbed cousins and another man to death in 'frenzied' attack

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. - Credit: ESSEX POLICE

A mentally ill Colchester man brutally killed three men, including two of his cousins, in a “frenzied” attack with a knife he had bought for the purpose, a court has heard.  

Brothers Danny Gibson and Jason Gibson and their friend Richard Booth died in October 2019 after 35-year-old Tom Saunders stabbed and slashed them more than 60 times, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The bodies of Danny Gibson, 34 and Jason Gibson, 32 were found dead inside their flat in Wellesley Road, Colchester, while Mr Booth, 35, was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car, which was parked in the communal car park situated behind their flat.

Karin Khalil QC, prosecuting, said the brothers’ flat showed signs of repeated and brutal attacks on the two victims.

Mr Booth’s car was fitted with a dashcam which was recording during the killing. The footage wasn’t played in open court because of its extremely distressing nature, said Mr Khalil.

In the footage, Mr Booth and Saunders could be heard greeting each other followed by a thud and the sound of Mr Booth groaning.

This was followed by more thudding sounds and Saunders could be heard swearing and saying: “How does that feel?”

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Following the killings Saunders told a relative: “Don’t worry I made sure I finished them off: so they are definitely dead.”

Saunders, of Bounstead Road, Colchester, has admitted the manslaughter of the three men by reason of diminished responsibility.

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

He denied murdering the men and these pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

Mr Khalil QC said that prior to the killings Saunders’ mental health had deteriorated and he had become paranoid that people were “out to get him” or wanted to kill him.

His mother described him as not eating or sleeping for the preceding three days and constantly playing the radio and listening to news items relating to Boris Johnson, Brexit and events relating to the Extinction Rebellion protests.

A month before the killing he’d attended a medical appointment but had refused to see a psychiatrist and refused to be admitted to hospital.

He also refused to consider the possibility of appropriate medication but had chosen to smoke cannabis instead, said Mr Khalil.

The court heard that during a post-mortem examination Mr Booth was found to have 21 stab wounds and cuts to the neck, chest, abdomen, arm and hand.

Danny Gibson suffered 30 stab wounds and cuts to the neck, chest and back and Jason Gibson had 15 stab wounds and cuts, some of which appeared to have been caused by a chopping motion, said Mr Khalil.

Jason Gibson’s fatal wound was inflicted to the left side of the neck and cut the spinal cord causing almost immediate paralysis.

On the day of the killings, Saunders had purchased some black clothing and two knives with 30cm long blades.

He later went out in the new black clothes and when he returned home he was covered in blood.

He had then gone out again and when he came back he was  wearing only his underpants and trainers. 

He was bleeding heavily from cuts to his arms and hand and said he wanted to die.

Due to the injuries that he had inflicted on himself, Saunders lost a lot of blood. 

He refused to go to hospital but whilst at home he lost consciousness and an ambulance was called.

Saunders later told a policeman: “I want to die, can you help me?"

“It wasn’t said in an emotional voice, but in a calm matter of fact way,” said Mr Khalil.

In police interviews Saunders, who was described as having a “fixed stare”, said he’d been given a task by the government to reduce the population because of overcrowding and that he planned to cycle around at Halloween kidnapping people and taking them somewhere to torture them.

Saunders’ sentencing hearing which is expected to last three days continues on Tuesday.