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‘Fentanyl killer’ who watched couple die on camera before forging their will found guilty

An IT worker who poisoned a married couple with the opioid painkiller fentanyal and rewrote their will to take control of their shower mat company has been convicted of their murders.

Luke D’Wit, 34, befriended Stephen and Carol Baxter, aged 61 and 64, while working for them and later told police that he was “like an adopted son to both of them”.

Stephen and Carol Baxter were poisoned with the powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl (Essex Police/PA Wire)
Stephen and Carol Baxter were poisoned with the powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl (Essex Police/PA Wire)

Just one day after their deaths, he created a will on his phone on 10 April at 6.54am which left him the couple’s company Cazplash.

Describing him as the “beneficiary of a very odd will”, the terms included that all business decisions be put to him as the “director and person with significant control”.

Despite denying their murders, D’Wit, of Churchfields, West Mersea, was found guilty on both charges.

Luke D’Wit providing a statement to the police after their bodies were found (PA Media)
Luke D’Wit providing a statement to the police after their bodies were found (PA Media)

The couple’s daughter discovered them dead inside their conservatory at their home in Victory Road in Mersea Island on Easter Sunday last year.

Both were sitting in their individual armchairs, with no suicide note and their house and kitchen area kept neat and tidy.

In a 999 call, their daughter Ellie Baxter could be heard screaming and crying as she told the call handler “I need an ambulance right now” before she could be heard banging on the glass of the conservatory.

The phone was then passed to D’Wit who described himself as a “friend” and remained “very calm and plausible” throughout the call.

While he was not initially treated as a suspect, the investigation changed after the fire service ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning and a toxicology report in June indicated that fentanyl was a docator in both of their deaths.

The couple were found sitting in their armchairs by their daughter (PA)
The couple were found sitting in their armchairs by their daughter (PA)

In both cases, their stomach contents were analysed and it “suggests but doesn’t conclusively show that the drug was ingested orally”.

“It’s difficult to imagine any scenario when two individuals who are not prescribed fentanyl could accidentally contaminate their food with this drug,” the prosecutor told jurors.

Ahead of her death, D’Wit created a number of false identities, including a doctor from Florida who was offering medical advice to Mrs Baxter with “no clinical basis”.

Pretending to be Andrea Bowden, he told his victim that “seeing family releases too many chemicals in the adrenal gland” and warned her to keep less regular contact with her loved ones.

He similarly posed as a support group of false identities who were also sufferers of Hashimoto, the thyroid condition Mrs Baxter suffered from, and a solicitor to convince her family that the will he had created was authentic.

Doorbell footage showing D’Wit leaving their home on 7 April (PA)
Doorbell footage showing D’Wit leaving their home on 7 April (PA)

It later emerged that D’Wit had also installed a “mobile security surveillance application” which allowed him to operate a camera in the couple’s living room, and had watched them die.

Analysis of his phone found images of the two “in their armchairs” on the afternoon of April 7 last year, with Mrs Baxter’s pacemaker failing to record any further movements from then onwards.

Jurors heard that D’Wit had begun working for the couple in 2012 or 2013, with Mrs Baxter gradually becoming reliant on him due to her ill health.

Describing him as “weird”, their daughter said he knew the security key pin to the gate of their house, as well as the location of a key safe and was helping administer her mother’s medication.

Officers also found a bag containing a number of metal tacks alongside pill casings, which we strongly believe were previously given to Carol and led to her being admitted to hospital, where x-rays showed the tacks in her stomach.

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said in an interview outside court that D’Wit was “without doubt one of the most dangerous men I’ve ever experienced in my policing career”.

He said: “I have absolutely no doubt that had he not been caught, he would have gone on to commit further murders.”

Their daughter Ellie Baxter described him as ‘weird, but nerdy weird’ (Lucy North/PA Wire)
Their daughter Ellie Baxter described him as ‘weird, but nerdy weird’ (Lucy North/PA Wire)

Mr Kirby said that “justice has been served today”, adding that D’Wit “rightly belongs behind bars”.

The defendant “fooled everyone”, he added.

“He befriended people, came across as a very amenable, helpful person but in the background he was a cool, calculated killer who spent years planning the demise of Carol and Stephen Baxter,” he said.

He described D’Wit as a “loner” who “spent hours of his time creating false personas, all there to create control over the Baxters”.

He continued: “D’Wit’s downfall was the arrogance that existed within him.

“He didn’t cover his tracks properly and he was deluded in thinking that he could use fentanyl to kill two people and that wouldn’t be found to be suspicious.”

He is due to return to Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.