THE family of a young Chard woman who was the victim of a cold-hearted murder plot are asking the public to get behind them as they fight to stop two of the killers returning to Poland to serve their sentences.
Catherine Wells-Burr’s mother, father and sister – Jayne, Philip and Leanne – have set up an e-petition to stop the transfer happening, as it could cut the murderer’s minimum jail terms.
Rafal Nowak, Anna Lagwinowicz and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn were found guilty of killing Catherine Wells-Burr and were each handed a 32-year jail term by Mrs Justice Sharp in June after a six-week trial at Bristol Crown Court.
The trio conspired to kill the 23-year-old graduate at her home in Willow Way in September 2012 and took her body to a secluded spot in Ashill, where they set fire to the vehicle.
But Catherine’s boyfriend Nowak and Lagwinowicz, his former lover, have applied to serve their sentences in Poland, which could see their jail terms reduced to 25 years each.
Catherine’s mother Jayne, father Philip and sister Leanne were appalled to discover the news through a colleague of Philip’s brother two weekends ago.
Mrs Wells-Burr said: “I think it’s disgusting that we have not been involved in any stage of what they are doing. Nobody has told us anything. It feels like we are not even worth knowing about it.”
Mr Wells-Burr added: “They could have been in Poland already and we wouldn’t have known anything about it.
“We are devastated and disgusted that they are trying to go home and get a shorter sentence. Why are they being rewarded for going back there? The way we look at it is that if you commit a crime in a country you should see the punishment through there, too, and then be deported.”
The family has written to a number of key figures – David Laws MP, Prime Minister David Cameron, Home Secretary Theresa May, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Justice Minister Jeremy Wright, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens – in a bid to stop the transfer.
They are now asking members of the public to sign the e-petition – which already has more than 400 signatures – to show the level of support for their fight.
Mrs Wells-Burr said: “The judge said they should serve 32 years minimum and that’s what we want – that’s what we believe in.
“While they are serving their sentence here we are involved – for example we would be able to read our witness impact statements to them face-to-face when they applied for parole in what should be 32 years. But we will have no part in the process if they serve their sentences in Poland.
“It makes a mockery of our justice system, which served us so well. We feel let down by our Government.”
Mr Wells-Burr added: “It’s like we are second-class citizens in our own country. We shouldn’t even be fighting this.
“We put everything into the court case and got some closure from that, but now less than a year later we are fighting again. It’s not right.
“We hope we will have the public’s backing – our priority is that their sentences aren’t reduced.”
To sign the e-petition, visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59301