Beds, Herts & Bucks

Thomas Baird trial: James Carbott guilty of murder and arson

Thomas Baird Image copyright Family photo

A man who beat and stabbed his ex-partner's father before setting his body alight has been found guilty of murder and arson.

Thomas Baird, 63, was found dead on 2 March last year outside his home in Westerdale, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

James Carbott, 31, of Epping Green, Hemel Hempstead, was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court of both charges.

He will be sentenced by the court at a later date.

The trial heard firefighters discovered Mr Baird's body outside his burning bungalow, where he lived alone, and called the police.

'Dead or dying'

A post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered multiple stab wounds, injuries to the head and his body and he had been set alight.

Jurors were told Carbott had been in a relationship with Mr Baird's daughter Kelly and worked for him for about three months.

But it was said the friendship changed when the defendant's relationship with Ms Baird ended "acrimoniously".

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption James Carbott was found guilty after a four-week trial

The court heard her father, Mr Baird, had threatened Carbott with violence and warned he would damage the home he shared with his mother.

As a result, the court heard Carbott attacked the builder with a crowbar and knife, before setting fire to his body while he was either "dead or dying".

The court heard Carbott had an autistic spectrum disorder and suffered from anxiety and depression after being attacked in 2007.

His defence barrister argued he had acted in self-defence or was guilty of manslaughter, because he was suffering from diminished responsibility and had a temporary loss of control.

Det Insp John Arthur, of Hertfordshire Police, said: "Thomas was the victim of a horrific and sustained attack and Carbott lied in an attempt to cover his tracks."

Mr Baird's daughter and Carbott's ex-partner Kelly Baird said her father had been "devoted" to his family, adding they would "never recover from this tragedy".

Judge Andrew Bright QC said Carbott would receive a mandatory life sentence when he returns to court.

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