Beds, Herts & Bucks

Thomas Baird murder: James Carbott jailed for life for 'brutal' killing

Thomas Baird Image copyright Family photo

A man who beat and stabbed his ex-partner's father before setting his body alight in a "brutal and relentless attack" has been jailed for life.

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

James Carbott, 31, of Epping Green, Hemel Hempstead, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court to a minimum of 27 years for murder and arson.

Carbott had denied both charges but was found guilty by a jury.

During the four-week trial, the court heard firefighters discovered Mr Baird's body outside his burning bungalow, where he lived alone, and called police.

'Very dangerous man'

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

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

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

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

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

The court was told Carbott had suffered from anxiety and depression after being attacked in 2007 and also had a disorder, described as being on the autistic spectrum.

His defence barrister argued he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the offence and had suffered a temporary loss of control when he attacked Mr Baird.

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Bright told Carbott his attack had been "brutal and relentless".

"When you lose your temper, as you did that night, you are a very dangerous man," he said.

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

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