“convicted baby killer” may have been the victim of vigilante justice after he was found murdered in a close knit village where locals claimed to have worked out his past.
David Gaut, 54, was discovered dead by police in his rented flat where he moved in alone just six weeks ago.
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Mr Gaut – but police refused to say he was the same man as the convicted killer freed from jail.
A man named David Gaut, then 21, was jailed for life in July 1985 for the murder and torture of a 17-month old boy just 11 miles from the village of New Tredegar, near Caerphilly, South Wales, where he recently moved to.
But locals told how feelings were running “very high” as people were convinced it was the same person as the child killer.
Over 30 years ago, Gaut was babysitting his girlfriend’s son Chi Ming Shek – known as Marky – when he battered, kicked, and burned the sole of this child’s foot.
“He first of all told us he was inside for a crime but he didn’t do it”
The baby’s mum 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 made love to 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, but a pathologist said the baby’s injuries could have been caused by punching, kicking, falling, being thrown or a combination of these.
The baby died of multiple injuries including a broken arm, injured liver and spleen and a fractured skull.
Gaut was convicted of murder and jailed for life in July 1985 – but would have been due to apply for parole since then.
Police confirmed the name of the man found dead in New Tredegar, near Caerphilly, South Wales, as David Gaut. His next of kin has been informed and enquiries are continuing.
A cordon outside his home in South Wales
A cordon outside his home in South Wales Credit: Wales news service
A source said: “This is an active murder investigation and we would never comment on claims about a victim’s past.”
Neighbours at Long Row, New Tredegar, said that Gaut told them that he had spent time in prison “for a crime he didn’t do”.
One woman said: “He has been living here for about six weeks but he’s not from here. He’s not local.
“He told us he’d been to prison for 33 years.”
A man at the same house said: “He first of all told us he was inside for a crime but he didn’t do it.”
Mr Gaut’s body was discovered around 3pm on Saturday. Two men, aged 23 and 51, of New Tredegar and a man, 47, of Aberbargoed, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
They are currently in police custody for questioning.