A man who admitted killing three men in Colchester has been given a life sentence and been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Thirty-five year-old Tom Saunders pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility for killing his nephews Jason and Danny Gibson and their friend Richard Booth on the evening of 5 October 2019.
Saunders will serve his sentence in a secure hospital, having been given a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years and 8 months before he is able to apply for parole. Should he be deemed mentally fit to be discharged from hospital at any point in his sentence, he will be transferred to a prison.
HHJ Judge Martyn Levett, sentencing Saunders at Ipswich Crown Court, called the killings “painfully sadistic”. The court also heard that there was a significant amount of planning and pre-meditation by Saunders, and no provocation from his victims.
Brothers Jason and Danny were found dead inside a flat in Wellesley Road shortly before 12.30am on 6 October while Richard was found dead in a car parked in a communal car park outside.
Officers had gone to the address after concerns were raised about the people inside.
Saunders had also harmed himself and had been taken to hospital for treatment. It was while receiving treatment there that he was arrested on suspicion murder.
Forensic post-mortem examinations identified Jason and Danny Gibson and Richard Booth had each sustained multiple stab wounds.
Saunders was later charged with murder.
As part of the investigation and trial process, expert psychiatrists all agreed that Saunders, of Bounstead Road, Colchester was suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia at the time he committed the killings. The court heard that he had previously refused medical support for his illness.
In January this year, Saunders entered a plea of guilty to three counts of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
These pleas were later accepted by prosecutors and at a hearing at Ipswich Chelmsford Crown Court today, Thursday 17 March, he was sentenced.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:
“The actions of Tom Saunders have led to three young men losing their lives in the most horrific and brutal way. “I want to pay tribute to the courage and dignity their families have shown throughout this process. “These tragic incidents have left them devastated and has had a massive impact on them. “Saunders poses a very real danger to the public and I’m pleased he’s now not going to be able to endanger the safety of others.”