Killer of three men set to be sentenced in March

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 who has admitted killing three men in Colchester will be sentenced in March.

Tom Saunders, of Bounstead Road, Colchester, was due to stand trial next 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, earlier this month Saunders denied murdering the three men but admitted their manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and these pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

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

On Thursday (January 20) Judge Martyn Levett agreed with barristers in the case that Saunders would be sentenced during a hearing starting on either March 7 or March 14.

During the hearing, which is expected to last about four days, 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. 

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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".