Trio given life terms over murder
A cheating Polish factory worker, his secret lover and her uncle have been condemned by a judge for murdering a university graduate for her money.
Rafal Nowak, 31, Anna Lagwinowicz, 32, and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn, 38, hatched a plot to get their hands on Catherine Wells-Burr's £123,000 life insurance and her half-share in a £137,000 house.
The murder was driven by greed and the result of months of secret meetings and phone calls between Nowak and Lagwinowicz, with Miss Wells-Burr oblivious to her part in the so-called love triangle.
Nowak and Lagwinowicz, who had been in a two-year relationship, met up for sex and to plot the case on up to 87 occasions and exchanged hundreds of phone calls on pre-paid SIM cards.
Nowak smothered his 23-year-old girlfriend with a pillow as she slept in the bed they shared in their new home in Chard, Somerset on September 12 last year.
Lagwinowicz - who was described by the judge as simmering with the desire for revenge over being dumped by Nowak for his English girlfriend - was joined by Dmytryszyn in disposing of Miss Wells-Burr's body at a local beauty spot.
They placed Miss Wells-Burr in the driver's seat and set fire to the car at 6am with five litres of petrol purchased days earlier - 20 minutes after Nowak had clocked into work at Numatic International - providing him with what he thought was the perfect alibi.
The Polish defendants spent months leaving a false trail for detectives, creating fake profiles for Miss Wells-Burr on adult websites and sending texts to her phone from a supposed mystery lover. But their web of lies was uncovered by police shortly after the badly burned body of the Bath Spa University graduate was discovered at Ashill, near Chard.
Nowak, Lagwinowicz and Dmytryszyn all denied having played any part in the death but were convicted of murder by a jury of six men and six women, who all attended Bristol Crown Court to see them jailed for life.
Mrs Justice Sharp told the defendants - who remained emotionless as they were told they would serve a minimum of 32 years' imprisonment - the murder was "a dreadful, pitiless crime committed in cold blood in grotesque breach of trust".