Home World Fentanyl poisoner sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for murder of Essex couple

Fentanyl poisoner sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for murder of Essex couple

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Fentanyl poisoner sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for murder of Essex couple

A man who poisoned a couple with fentanyl after spending years creating a series of fake personas to manipulate them has been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 37 years for his murders.

Luke D’Wit killed Stephen and Carol Baxter with the synthetic opioid at their home in West Mersea, Essex, on April 9, 2023. He then changed their will the following day to become a director of the company they ran.

“I have never experienced emotional pain that was so physically painful,” the couple’s daughter, Ellie Baxter, told Chelmsford Crown Court as she gave her victim impact statement on Friday. Referring to the moment she found her parents’ bodies, she said: “It was like my insides were on fire. I screamed and I screamed.

D’Wit had been friends with the couple for several years. He began creating a series of fake online personas to manipulate in 2021. These included a Florida doctor he called Andrea Bowden and several members of a fictional support group for the disease Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, from which Carol Baxter suffered.

The couple’s daughter told the court: “I tried to push her to go to the doctor, which she did. But she was completely brainwashed by Dr. Andrea Bowden.

“Luke D’Wit, who was behind the character of Dr Andrea Bowden, thought sending videos of my mother to Andrea would be a good idea. But, in reality, Luke just wanted to see and observe the results of his twisted and abominable actions, sometimes even filming my mother herself and laughing.

Stephen and Carol Baxter. Photograph: Essex Police/PA

She said he was initially drawn to join his parents’ business selling shower mats around 2012 or 2013 to help her build her website. He ended up visiting their home regularly. Ellie Baxter said his parents looked after him. “They just decided he was lonely, especially after Luke’s father died.” They took him under their wing and let him participate,” she said.

But the court heard that in the background D’Wit was carefully constructing a false reality in what prosecutor Tracy Ayling KC described as “a truly extraordinary case of long-term manipulation”.

He also drugged Carol Baxter, making her appear as if she was suffering from dementia or had suffered a stroke, the jury was told. The pain he inflicted on her “was intended for Luke D’Wit’s own gratification”, Ayling said.

He ultimately murdered the Baxters “calmly, coldly and in a way that had been entirely planned, perhaps for some time,” she told the court in her closing address.

In sentencing D’Wit on Friday, Judge Nicholas Lavender said he was sure he extracted the fentanyl from the patches prescribed to his father before his death. He said their contents were powdered and given to Stephen and Carol Baxter in a drink, which they took because they trusted D’Wit to make “so-called health drinks”. The judge told D’Wit: “It is entirely possible that what motivated you was a desire to control others.” »

D’Wit, who wore a patterned short-sleeved blue shirt, appeared to show no reaction as he sat in a wheelchair on the secure dock.

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