Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lagoon murder accused created 'climate of fear'

Michael Gilbert
Michael Gilbert's headless body was found at a gravel pit pool

A woman told a court how her brothers, who are accused of killing a man and dumping his body in a lake, created a "climate of fear" in their home.

The decapitated body of Michael Gilbert was found in the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey, Bedfordshire, last May.

Amanda Chapman told Luton Crown Court how she found out Mr Gilbert had died in the family home.

Robert and James Watt, of Chertsey Close, Luton, deny murdering Mr Gilbert on or about 21 January last year.

James Watt, 27, and Robert, 20, are also accused of familial homicide.

Miss Chapman told the jury of a conversation she had with her mother outside Dunstable police station when she was told for the first time that Mr Gilbert had died.

'Years of violence'

"They beat him to death. She told me they cut him up and wrapped him up," Miss Chapman said.

Asked by Stuart Trimmer, prosecuting, what she had learned of her mother's role, she said: "She told me she mopped the blood up and helped wrap him up."

Luton Crown Court heard earlier Mr Gilbert was made to sleep handcuffed to a bed to stop him escaping.

The prosecution said the victim had suffered years of violence before being killed, his body dismembered and head cut off.

The brothers' father, Antonio Watt, 70, of Chertsey Close, is charged with familial homicide and perverting the course of justice.

Their mother, Jennifer Smith-Dennis, 58, is charged with familial homicide and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Nichola Roberts, 21, of Burfold Close, Luton, the girlfriend of the accused men's brother, Richard Watt, is charged with murder, familial homicide and perverting the course of justice.

Natasha Oldfield, 29, of Chertsey Close, who is the girlfriend of James Watt, faces the same charges as Ms Roberts.

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