Catherine Wells-Burr murder: Poland transfer would be 'devastating'

Rafal Nowak, Anna Lagwinowicz and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Rafal Nowak, Anna Lagwinowicz and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn were all found guilty of murder

The family of a murdered woman have said they are "devastated" that two of the people convicted of her killing could serve shorter sentences.

Rafal Nowak, Anna Lagwinowicz and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn were jailed in June for a minimum of 32 years for murdering Catherine Wells-Burr.

But Nowak and Lagwinowicz have applied to be transferred to Poland where their sentences could be cut to 25 years.

Dmytryszyn is also appealing against his conviction.

During a six-week trial, the jury heard Nowak plotted the murder with his ex-girlfriend, Lagwinowicz and her uncle, Dmytryszyn, in order to claim a six-figure life insurance policy.

Miss Wells-Burr's family understands the move could mean their sentence are cut by seven years.

Her mother, Jayne, said the news was "like a slap in the face".

'Being rewarded'

"We're just devastated. We didn't expect nearly a third to be taken off their sentence by going home at a lower tariff," Mrs Wells-Burr said.

"To us it is like they are being rewarded, that they can have a clean slate when they go back to Poland and they can start their lives again and really, a life sentence is what we are living.

Image copyright Wells-Burr family
Image caption Jayne Wells-Burr said she woke up and went to sleep every day thinking of her daughter

"When Catherine's sentencing was done by Justice Sharp, she actually directed to each of the individuals and said the seriousness of the crime and that they were highly dangerous people.

"They were cunning and manipulative, in plotting and planning Catherine's murder for many months.

"She gave the maximum term - 32 years - that's the severity of it, how she saw it.

"If they go over to Poland we won't have been part of the probation process, we will not be able to face them at the end of sentence to see if they are remorseful, whether they even care about what they have done.

"I believe that when a crime is committed to a British citizen, in this country, our laws should be applied regardless."

Prison agreement

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said they could not comment on individual cases, but that the UK does have a prison transfer arrangement with Poland which allows nationals of either country to serve their prison sentence in their home state.

"This government is committed to seeing more foreign national offenders serving sentences in their own country," she added.

Image caption Catherine Wells-Burr's parents said the news was a "slap in the face"

An appeal hearing for Dmytryszyn will take place at the Court of Appeal in London, but a date has not yet been set.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court heard Nowak smothered his 23-year-old girlfriend as she slept at their home in September 2012.

Lagwinowicz and Dmytryszyn then drove Miss Wells-Burr's body in her red Ford Focus car to a countryside beauty spot, at Ashill.

They placed the body in the driver's seat and set fire to the car 20 minutes after Nowak had clocked into work at Numatic International, in the hope this would provide him with an alibi.

The jury heard Nowak and Lagwinowicz had met to plot the murder on up to 87 occasions and exchanged hundreds of phone calls using prepaid Sim cards.

They also 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.

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