Last September it was reported here
that the body of Bath Spa University graduate Catherine Wells-Burr had been found in a burned out car, and that the police were keeping an open mind
into the cause of her death. Yesterday, three people were convicted of her murder.
This was an extraordinary as well as an extraordinarily callous crime, and involved a conspiracy between three people. It was motivated purely by greed; Rafal Nowak smothered Catherine as she slept, and two people assisted him to dispose of her body. One of his co-conspirators was his former girlfriend; the other was his uncle. Nowak appears to have seen himself as a bit of a ladies' man; he also had a wife back in his native Poland, one he was said to have been convicted of assaulting.
Nowak and Catherine had insured each other's lives, each naming the other as the benefactor, almost certainly on his prompting.
Leaving aside the usual lines of inquiry, this would have made him a prime suspect; probably realising this, he and Lagwinowicz created
"an elaborate trail of false phone calls and texts" the intention of which was to portray the victim as a woman of loose morals who had met her end at the hands of a sexual predator.
Talking of sexual predators, they don't come any more vile than teen paedophile Opemipo Jaji
. Last November he dragged an eleven year old girl into a North London park and raped her. The details of this sickening crime need not be related here except to say she was subjected to a prolonged ordeal. It has also been revealed both that Jaji was convicted of indecently assaulting a girl of twelve the year before, and that he had made indecent images on his computer - which is legal jargon for downloading child pornography.
The court heard that Jaji had a fixation about "little white girls", including apparently murder victim April Jones
, a picture of whom was found amongst his possessions.
Jali is said to be a trainee chef; if he is considered suitable for working in the prison kitchen he will have cooked many thousands of meals before he is released because Mr Justice Singh gave him a life sentence with a recommended minimum of eight years. Although that sounds woefully inadequate, it should be borne in mind that this is only a tariff; he is likely to serve considerably longer, especially as he was said to have been planning to attack a young girl for as long as two months. Had he been older, he would surely have received a longer tariff.
As Jaji begins his life sentence, Nowak, Lagwinowicz and Dmytryszyn await theirs for the murder of Catherine Wells-Burr. They will learn their fate on Monday.