Next door neighbour in court over murder of child killer ‘found beaten to death’

The next door neighbour of a child killer beaten to death after 33 years in jail appeared in court today with two friends also accused of his murder.

David Gaut, 54, was jailed for life after brutally killing 17-month old Chi Ming Shek in South Wales in 1985.

He was found dead with serious head and facial injuries on Saturday in his rented council flat in New Tredegar – 11 miles from where he killed Chi in Caerphilly.

David Osbourne, 51, was Gaut’s next-door neighbour since he moved six weeks ago and was arrested with Darren Evesham, 47, and Ieuan Harley, 23, who are also from New Tredegar area.

Last night they were charged with his murder and appeared at Newport Magistrates’ Court this morning.

Chi’s mother Jane Pickthall was shocked by the news he had been murdered and told MailOnline she had no idea he had been killed – but declined to comment further.

Gaut was released from prison in November and was housed in New Tredegar last month – but locals in his new neighbourhood found out about his sickening past after seeing his name using Google.

One said: ‘He was given a good beating. Some people are saying he should have the same treatment he gave to that baby. An eye for an eye’.   

David Osbourne,

David Osbourne,

Ieuan Harley

Ieuan Harley

David Osbourne, 51 and Ieuan Harley, 23, (left to right) appeared in court today with Darren Evesham, 47, accused of murdering David Gaut

Teams have been conducting searches of the property, pictured, today wearing protective clothing, with locals saying they have checked ‘bins, houses and even the river’

Jane Pickthall, whose live-in lover Gaut murdered her 17 month old baby

Jane Pickthall, whose live-in lover Gaut murdered her 17 month old baby

Murder victim, Chi Ming Shek.

Murder victim, Chi Ming Shek.

Jane Pickthall found her beloved son Chi Ming Shek dead under a chest of drawers after sleeping with her boyfriend and said today she had no idea her son’s killer was dead

Gaut, who told new neighbours he had served 33 years for killing a soldier, was babysitting for his then girlfriend when he battered, kicked, and burned the sole of Chi’s foot before dumping his battered body under a chest of drawers.

He even had sex with the boy’s mother after the murder and it was only the next morning when she found her beloved son dead with a broken arm, torn liver and a fractured skull.

Today it emerged that the child killer had been released from prison in November – and he may have been moved three times before ending up in the home where he died.

He told locals he had served 33 years for murder  – but insisted it was because he had shot a soldier and claimed he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Pictured: A South Wales Echo front page article from the time David Gaut was put on trial for killing Chi and lied that it was an accident

Pictured: A South Wales Echo front page article from the time David Gaut was put on trial for killing Chi and lied that it was an accident

Pictured: A South Wales Echo front page article from the time David Gaut was put on trial for killing Chi and lied that it was an accident

But it appears residents of New Tredegar delved further and found out more about his terrible past using Google.

Gaut was found dead with severe facial and head injuries in his council-owned flat.  

Villager are furious that Gaut was housed in a council flat in their community.

They became suspicious after Gaut ‘bragged’ to them he had served time for 33 years.

A local, who did not want to be named, said: ‘We got to know him quite well since he’d moved in.

‘He used to go on about how he had been in prison for 33 years. He bragged about it. He told us he had shot a soldier but he told us he had been set up.

‘We were in his flat and saw his middle name was Tracy on the letters he had.

‘We thought that was unusual so I googled him to see if I could find out what he had done.

‘That’s when we saw the details of what he did to the baby boy. We couldn’t believe it.

‘It’s disgusting. I can’t believe we have been living (near) that. Apparently he’s been moved three times since he’s been out if prison. Word got out then about what he had done.’  

Another woman said: ‘He then said he had shot someone a long time ago but we knew that wasn’t true. Everyone knew he killed a baby and everyone was talking about it.’    

Neighbours say police have been combing the area and looking inside wheelie bins while forensics officers were photographing the lawn outside his home.

Searches are also believed to have been carried out in a river behind the properties.

One man said: ‘They’ve been looking everywhere. There was a burnt out car that they were looking at.

‘They’ve been in our bins and looked in the river as well.’ 

Officers are also carrying out fingertip searches for evidence outside the council flat

Officers are also carrying out fingertip searches for evidence outside the council flat

Officers are also carrying out fingertip searches for evidence outside the council flat

Forensic teams, pictured at the scene, have also inspected a burnt out car and the river behind the house (pictured)

Forensic teams, pictured at the scene, have also inspected a burnt out car and the river behind the house (pictured)

Forensic teams, pictured at the scene, have also inspected a burnt out car and the river behind the house (pictured)

Three men have been arrested after the murder, which took place at Gaut's basement flat (pictured today)

Three men have been arrested after the murder, which took place at Gaut's basement flat (pictured today)

Three men have been arrested after the murder, which took place at Gaut’s basement flat (pictured today)

Another local said he had spoken to David Gaut but had no idea of his crimes.

He said: ‘I helped to move his TV into the his house. He’s only been here a matter of weeks.

‘He told me that had served 33 years but said he didn’t do it. I didn’t ask questions.

‘I was away when it happened so I didn’t hear anything but I’m not surprised. You don’t know who is moving into this street any more.

‘I didn’t have much to do with him but I spoke to him from time to time.

‘The police have been combing all the grass so it looks like they are looking for a murder weapon.

‘I’ve lived [nearby] for years and it used to be great. We used to have lovely street parties. It’s all changed now.’ 

The Ministry of Justice today confirmed that there had been a risk assessment before Gaut moved in last month.

A Prison and Probation Service spokesperson said: ‘Thorough risk assessments are carried out before deciding on accommodation for offenders released on licence.

‘There is an ongoing police investigation, so it would be in appropriate to comment further.’

Toddler Chi was tortured and murdered in Caerphilly. 

Gaut, then 21, was jailed for life in July 1985 after babysitting his girlfriend’s son Chi Ming Shek – known as Marky – when he battered, kicked, and burned the sole of the child’s foot.

The baby’s mother, Jane Pickthall, then 23, had been out drinking and left Gaut to look after her two young children.

She arrived home in Caerphilly, South Wales, and had sex with Gaut – but the next day she found her son’s dead body under a chest of drawers.

A murder trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard Gaut tried to make the death look accidental.

He said at the time the boy had tripped and fallen down the stairs. 

But pathologist Dr Owen Williams said the baby’s injuries could only have been caused by punching, kicking, falling, being thrown or a combination of these.

Prosecutor Aubrey Myerson QC said while the mum was out neighbours heard loud noises – including banging and crashes.

Miss Pickthall told a jury how she found Marky dead underneath a chest of drawers in his bedroom. She could see he was badly bruised in the groin area, chest and forehead.

Mr Myerson said: ‘The killing did not arise from just one attack but from a series of assaults.’

Unemployed Gaut told police Marky had got out of the cot and claimed he smacked the tot’s bottom but he fell down the stairs.

He said he gave Marky mouth to mouth and put him back in the cot – because he ‘looked all right’.

The baby died of multiple injuries including a broken arm, injured liver and spleen and a fractured skull.   

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