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04 July 13

Documents Team Helps to Convict Life Insurance Murderers

Polish factory worker Rafal Nowak, his ex-girlfriend Anna Lagwinowicz, and her uncle, Tadevsz Dmytryszyn, hatched an intricate plot to murder Nowak's partner Catherine Wells-Burr in order to claim a £123,000 life policy.

The 23-year-old was smothered in her sleep before her body was dumped in her car, which was then deliberately set on fire.

Nowak and Lagwinowicz had not only planned to murder Ms Wells-Burr, but also attempted to severely damage her reputation by setting up fake profiles under her name on explicit dating and social network sites. They used her photo and placed it next to pornographic images - making them look like her - trying to create the impression she was promiscuous.

After smothering Catherine, Lagwinowicz and Dmytryszyn used her phone to send a message to a "mystery man" (actually a dummy account set up by Nowak) - a message which Lagwinowicz had drafted on Post-it notes that were later found in her flat. The Post-it Note was examined by Dr Kate Barr, one of Key Forensics’ Questioned Documents experts, who identified Anna Lagwinowicz as the author.

Dr Barr also identified Anna as having produced a map of the area surrounding the Wells-Burr family home, created so she could visit Mr Nowak there when he was alone, and as having written various website/email address/logins for the fake dating site profiles of Catherine.

During a police interview Nowak tried to deny there had been any life insurance for Ms Wells-Burr at all, instead suggesting one her dating site ‘contacts’ was responsible for her death.

But his efforts to evade justice failed and Nowak, Lagwinowicz and Dmytryszyn were all found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 32 years.

The investigation into the murder was worked on by 200 police officers, who looked at 3,000 exhibits - hundreds of which were sent for forensic examination.

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