SHOPPERS in Chard will be given the chance to show their support for a campaign launched by the family of murder victim Catherine Wells-Burr at the weekend.
Catherine’s mum, dad and sister – Jayne, Philip and Leanne – will be outside Tesco from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday (February 1 and 2), urging anyone with an email address who agrees that two of her killers should not be transferred back to Poland to sign an online petition.
Rafal Nowak and Anna Lagwinowicz were convicted with Tadevsz Dmytryszyn after a six-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, and were each jailed for a minimum of 32 years by Mrs Justice Sharp, but Catherine’s family understands that if Nowak and Lagwinowicz’s transfer applications are accepted they could be eligible for parole after just 25 years.
Furthermore, the Wells-Burrs will have no involvement in the killers’ rehabilitation process once they return to their home country.
More than 5,500 people have signed their petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59301 to stop this happening, but they are hoping to reach 10,000, at which point the Ministry of Justice – which would oversee any transfer – would have to acknowledge their request.
Mrs Wells-Burr said: “We shall be campaigning. We’ve done a lot of work through Facebook, but now we need to get the message out there to people on the street.
“We’ll be targeting anyone with email accounts – be it personal or work addresses – who wishes to sign the petition.
“We’re really pleading with anyone who wants to help to sign it. We’ve done so well already and want to continue the success.”
The family sent letters to several key figures when they first heard the news more than three weeks ago.
MP David Laws responded immediately, arranged a meeting with the Ministry of Justice to share concerns and has been in regular contact with the family since.
He said: “I’ve met one of the Justice Ministers to discuss this case, and express the strong views of the families and my constituents.
“Given how appalling this murder was, I can absolutely understand why people believe the sentence shouldn’t be shortened by a single day.
“I’ve updated the family on how these decisions are taken, and made it clear that I’ll be more than willing to help the family and constituents get their strong views over to the Ministry of Justice.”
Now a reply has been sent on behalf of the Prime Minister which said: “I was sorry to learn of the tragic loss of your daughter, Catherine.
“Your letter is receiving attention and a reply will be sent as soon as possible.”
Mrs Wells-Burr said she was grateful for the reply, adding: “It’s the highest you can go and at least they’re taking it seriously, which means a lot to us.
“David Laws is right behind us and we’re so grateful for his support.
“The Justice Minister is now waiting for us to put in a formal objection to the transfer, so I’m trawling through documents to find out how to do this. We’ll do the best we can.”
- Tadevsz Dmytryszyn is appealing his conviction and a hearing is due to be held at the Court of Appeal in London on a date yet to be set.