There were several crime stories in December that shocked Watford Observer readers.

From five people being jailed for a "honeytrap killing", to a fake gun being put to a 12-year-old's chest during a robbery spree, the police certainly had their hands full last month.

See four big crime stories that you may have missed below:

M1 death

The body of a man was found 34 hours after what police said was a "minor collision" on the M1 near Watford.

The force discovered him at around 2.30pm on Monday, December 4, after he was believed to have been struck by a vehicle "sometime" between then and 4.30am the previous day.

Herts Police later said it is believed the man's vehicle was involved in a “minor collision” at 4.30am on Monday, December 4, but officers were still trying to establish what happened between then and when his body was found.

A few weeks later, a 28-year-old man from Leicester was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic collision. 

Son jailed for murdering father

A 24-year-old man was jailed for a minimum of 17 years after being found guilty of murdering his father.

Husnein Amjad, of Fuller Road in Watford, was sentenced on December 7 following a 13-day trial at St Albans Crown Court.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict after hearing evidence of how the defendant had beaten Amjad Hussain, 52, to death in the family home on October 28, 2021.

Amjad had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April 2022 but denied murder.

At the time of the attack, Husnein Amjad’s mother had put her mobile phone on audio record when she left the house, because there were rumours that her husband Amjad Hussain had married another woman while he was away in Pakistan.

The recording captured the attack, which was later used as evidence. 

During the trial, prosecutor Wayne Cleaver said: "It captures events over about 50 minutes during which time sounds can clearly be heard consistent with his father being hit and kicked, groaning as if semi-conscious and in pain."

'Armed robber' targets child and four others

A man reportedly put a fake gun to a 12-year-old’s chest in one of five attempted robberies in one night – sparking a police manhunt.

The suspect committed two robberies and two attempted robberies near Woodside Stadium, Watford, at around 6.20pm on December 5.

Another victim was then targeted at around 9.45pm in nearby Katherine Place, which involved them being forced to drive to an ATM and withdraw cash. Officers believe he had an imitation firearm which has been seized from the scene.

The 12-year-old’s mum previously told the Watford Observer: “I feel sick to my stomach knowing my child had been through a traumatic experience like that but I’m glad her and the other people this happened to weren’t hurt.

“It's one of them things that you think will never happen to you.”

She described the suspect as a white man, around 5ft 11ins, who was wearing all black including a long Zavetti Canada coat with a fluffy hood, black balaclava and black gloves. Police added he is thought to be in his 20s.

No arrests have been made.

Five jailed for 'honeytrap' killing

Five people received a total sentence of 100 years in prison after killing a father-of-two in Bushey.

Two were found guilty of manslaughter and three of murder, after Vishal Gohel was found unresponsive in his second-floor flat in Bushey High Street, at around 10.45pm on Sunday, January 23, 2022.

An investigation was launched when Mr Gohel’s neighbour raised the alarm.

He had noticed the door ajar and, concerned, went in and discovered Mr Gohel lying dead on the bedroom floor, gagged and beaten.

A post-mortem examination revealed brain damage and a fractured voice box, consistent with being strangled.

DI Jenkins said: "We quickly found evidence of a honeytrap where the women had gained access on the promise of sexual liaisons that never happened.

"They then let their male accomplices in to steal property.

“But this wasn’t just a robbery. Mr Gohel, who had visited a local cashpoint and shop earlier that night, was brutally killed."

Six defendants had denied murder prior to a trial at St Albans Crown Court in July 2023. One of these defendants was cleared of all charges.