Catherine Wells-Burr 'dead before Ilminster car fire'

Catherine Wells-Burr
Image caption Catherine Wells-Burr worked as a business analyst

A woman whose body was found in a burning car in Somerset was likely to have been killed earlier and then placed in the car, police have said.

Catherine Wells-Burr was found in her red Ford Focus near the A358 in Ashill near Ilminster, Somerset, on 12 September at about 06:30 BST.

Det Ch Insp Simon Crisp said police believed she was killed hours before.

Ms Wells-Burr's boyfriend Rafal Nowak, 31, is one of two people who have been charged with conspiring to murder her.

Mr Nowak, of Willow Way, Chard, appeared before Bristol Magistrates' Court earlier.

He has been remanded in custody and is next due to appear before Bristol Crown Court on 9 October.

Speaking outside court, Det Ch Insp Crisp, said: "We are in possession of information that leads us to strongly suspect that Catherine didn't die in the fire.

"We believe she was murdered in the early hours of last Wednesday morning and she was transported to the scene of the fire, which was lit at about 6am.

'Another vehicle'

"We are really keen to speak to anybody who may have seen Catherine's car, which was also transported at the same time.

"We think potentially that car was in the company of another vehicle around the Chard area in the very early hours, travelling around Chard along the A358 to Ashill."

Mr Crisp added that a police operation to speak to motorists along the A358, one week on from when Miss Wells-Burr's blazing car was discovered, had unearthed "new lines of inquiry".

Ms Wells-Burr's family have released a second tribute to her.

Their statement read: "Our beautiful Catherine was inspirational to so many people and touched their hearts.

"We are so shocked, devastated and disappointed by the recent developments.

"Our aim is now to seek justice for Catherine."

Anna Julia Lagwinowicz, 32, has also been charged with conspiring to murder the Bath Spa University graduate.

Ms Lagwinowicz was remanded in custody by magistrates in Bristol on Tuesday. She will appear next at the city's Crown court.

A 38-year-old man being questioned by police has now been released on police bail.

Ms Wells-Burr worked as a business analyst in Numatic International in Chard.

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