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Body Language Expert Reveals Four Gestures Which Gave Chris Watts Away

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Body Language Expert Reveals Four Gestures Which Gave Chris Watts Away

A body language expert has revealed the four gestures which gave away killer Chris Watts. Watch here:

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Watts is currently serving a life sentence without the chance of parole after he admitted to the brutal 2018 murders of his 15-week-pregnant wife Shanann, 34, and their two daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three.

His story became the subject of Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door in 2020, as viewers observed the killer feigning innocence.

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Now, true-crime documentary Chris Watts: A Faking It Special looks into how he was giving away his guilt prior to his eventual confession.

The first sign was evident in police body cam footage as officers scoured his property for clues.

Watts is serving life in prison for killing his family. Credit: discovery+
Watts is serving life in prison for killing his family. Credit: discovery+

Body language expert Dr Cliff Lansley explains: "We've got the swaying, we have the double-handed hand shrug, and we have a volume drop.

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"The swaying shows anxiety, so there's anxiety going on. He's making an affirmative claim that she was still here when I was here at 5.15am, but his hands are doing a partial gesture... So that small movement of the hands, the rotation, is what we call a double-handed shrug, which is part of the full gesture [of] 'I have no confidence in what I've just said'."

Watts' shiftiness increased further when neighbours showed police CCTV footage of him loading his truck with 'work equipment' - this later transpired to be the body of Shanann.

Dr Lansley says: "We also see a gesture which is often linked to despair or anguish, in terms of covering the head with the hands."

But it's during a televised appeal for his family to return that Dr Lansley says Watts gave away his guilt with four clear facial expressions and gestures - one of which also exposed the 'genuine pleasure' he took from feigning his innocence.

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Shanann was pregnant when he killed her. Credit: discovery+
Shanann was pregnant when he killed her. Credit: discovery+

Dr Lanley explains: "If you look at Watts' face in more detail with a close-up, on the left-hand side you'll see baseline. This is Watts' normal face during the non-emotional parts of the interview.

"But on the right, when he says, 'I just want them back,' and he's talking about his children here, you see the lip corners raised. You see the eyes tighten. His cheeks are raised. This combination of these two muscles is an indicator of genuine pleasure."

As the interview came to an end, Watts looked down the camera to make a direct appeal to Shanann, Bella and Celeste.

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As Watts did this, three more gestures gave away his guilt.

"In addition, while he's saying that, he slings out a left hand - a hand shrug - which rotates anticlockwise," Dr Lanley explains.

"Now, a single hand shrug is not enough for a behavioural analyst to rely on, but when he closes his eyes for a full second, and you see a slight head shake no when he's making the claim he wants them back, we've got a cluster of four behaviours which say there's nothing in this statement that you have confidence in, because it's not true."

You can watch Chris Watts: A Faking It Special on discovery+.

Featured Image Credit: discovery+

Topics: TV and Film, True Crime, crime

Jake Massey
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