Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Brother 'too scared' to get help for Michael Gilbert

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

A man whose parents, two brothers and girlfriend deny killing a man then dumping his body has told a court he was "too scared" to get help.

Richard Watt, 25, who admits familial homicide, told Luton Crown Court he knew Michael Gilbert was seriously ill after beatings by the family.

His decapitated body was found in the Blue Lagoon in Bedfordshire last year.

Robert, 20 and James Watt, 27 of Chertsey Close, Luton, deny murder and familial homicide.

Richard Watts, who has also admitted perverting the course of justice, told the court he was afraid what his brother James would do if he got help and was warned by his mother to "think of the outcome".

'Jumped on stomach'

When he spoke to James, his brother gave him a "mouthful" and told him to keep out of it, he said.

Speaking of Mr Gilbert, he added: "One day I said to him 'why are you putting up with it?' and he said to me 'I love you lot, you are my family'."

His girlfriend, Nichola Roberts, who weighed about 18 stone (114kg), and James would jump on Mr Gilbert's stomach, he said.

In the days after, the victim's stomach swelled so much he "looked pregnant" and he was soiling himself.

The prosecution allege Mr Gilbert was held prisoner and treated as a slave by the Watt family and died at their home in Marlborough Road, Luton, on or about 21 January 2009.

His body was then cut up and dumped in the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey.

Mr Gilbert escaped twice but James set out to find him and then continued to beat and torture him, the court heard.

Richard Watts' girlfriend, Nichola Roberts, 21, of Burfold Close, is charged with murder, familial homicide and perverting the course of justice.

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.

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

The trial continues.

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