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Rafal Nowak, 31, appears in court over Catherine Wells-Burr death
10:36am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Somerset
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- Burnt out car found at 6.30am near A358 at Ashill on Wednesday (September 12) morning
- Body of Catherine Wells-Burr, 23, found in vehicle
- Thousands pay tribute as murder inquiry launched
- Anna Lagwinowicz, 32, of Taunton, appears in court charged with conspiracy to murder Catherine
- Rafal Nowak, 31, also charged with conspiracy to murder
- A 38-year-old man remains in custody
- Family said she was "caring, loving and bubbly"
THIS is the site where the burnt out car was found.
The surface has been re-layed following heat damage.
THE family of Catherine Wells-Burr have released a second statement following her death last week.
Jayne, Phil, Leanne, and all her family have said: "Our beautiful Catherine was inspirational to so many people and touched their hearts.
"We are so shocked, devastated and disappointed by the recent developments.
"Our aim is now to seek justice for Catherine."
A 38-YEAR-OLD man who had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Catherine Wells-Burr has been released on bail, detectives said this afternoon.
Two other people - Rafal Nowak, 31, and Anna Julia Lagwinowicz, 32, have been charged with conspiracy to murder and remanded in custody.
YOU can read printed tributes to Catherine Wells-Burr in this week's Chard and Ilminster News - out now - and Somerset County Gazette - out tomorrow (Thursday).
DCI Simon Crisp, who is leading the investigation into Catherine's death, has confirmed detectives believe she was killed in the early hours of Wednesday morning and her body was transported to the A358 at Ashill.
Speaking outside Bristol Magistrates' Court this morning, DCI Crisp said: "We are in possession of information that Catherine died in the early hours of last Wednesday.”
RAFAL Nowak has been remanded in custody after a brief appearance at Bristol Magistrates' Court this morning.
Mr Nowak, 31, of Willow Way, Chard, was dressed in a checked shirt and jeans and spoke only to confirm his name and address during the brief hearing.
He is charged with conspiracy to murder his girlfriend Catherine Wells-Burr, who he lived with at the address in Willow Way.
He was remanded in custody and will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on October 9 - the same date as co-accused Anna Julia Lagwinowicz, 32, of South Street, Taunton.
OUR reporter says Catherine's boyfriend Rafal Nowak is expected to appear in the dock at Bristol Magistrates' Court within the next 30 minutes.
Other cases are being dealt with first.
POLICE were stationed by the side of the A358 near Ashill this morning exactly one week after the discovery of Catherine Wells-Burr's body in a Ford Focus.
Officers were hoping motorists driving past the scene may have seen a suspicious vehicle or person at the site seven days earlier.
MOTORISTS driving along the A358 tomorrow morning will be asked to cast their minds back to Wednesday, September 12 when the body of Catherine Wells-Burr was found.
Drivers who have any information are being asked to report it to officers who will be at the location near Ilminster between 5am and 7am.
A community contact vehicle will also be at the location so drivers can leave their details with police.
DCI Simon Crisp, the officer leading the investigation, is keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area at the time, particularly anyone who saw a red Ford Focus 5 door hatch back with another vehicle.
He said: "I would ask people to think back to last week. Where were you going that morning and does anything from your journey stick in your mind? Did you see anything suspicious or out of the ordinary? Please stop and speak to my team, or leave your details and we will get back in touch."
Two people have been charged with conspiracy to murder in connection with Catherine's murder.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.
THE boyfriend of Catherine Wells-Burr has been charged with conspiring to murder her.
Rafal Nowak, 31, (above) is due to appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court tomorrow morning (Wednesday).
A 38-year-old man who was also arrested in connection with the incident remains in police custody where he is being questioned.
OFFICIALS at Bath Spa University have spoken of the sorrow at the site following the death of graduate Catherine Wells-Burr.
A spokesman said: "Bath Spa University is deeply saddened about the death of graduate Catherine Wells-Burr.
"Catherine graduated in 2011 with a first class honours degree in Business and Management and will be fondly remembered by all those here who knew her.
"Our heartfelt sympathy and sincere condolences are with Catherine’s family at this distressing and difficult time.”
A WOMAN has appeared in court charged with conspiring to murder Catherine Wells-Burr.
Polish national Anna Julia Lagwinowicz, of South Street, Taunton, spoke only to confirm her name and address via an interpreter during a 10-minute hearing at Bristol Magistrates Court.
The court heard Ms Lagwinowicz, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark t-shirt and dark trousers, is the former partner of Catherine's boyfriend Rafal Nowak.
Ms Lagwinowicz was remanded in custody and will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on October 9.
ANNA Julia Laqwinowicz, 32, is due to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court (pictured) this morning charged with conspiracy to murder 23-year-old Catherine Wells-Burr.
Catherine's body was found in a burnt-out car in Ashill, between Chard and Taunton, last week.
Our reporter will be in court for the hearing - keep checking back to this story for the latest updates.
A 32-YEAR-OLD woman has been charged with conspiracy to murder in the investigation into the death of Catherine Wells-Burr.
Anna Julia Laqwinowicz was arrested on Thursday in connection with Catherine's death and has remained in police custody since.
She is due to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court tomorrow morning (September 18).
Two men have also been arrested - a 31-year-old and a 38-year-old are in police custody and are still being questioned.
DCI Simon Crisp, who is leading the inquiry, said: "I am still extremely keen to speak to a number of people who have not yet come forward.
"We know that there were many motorists that passed the site of this crime on Wednesday morning, and those people may have information that could help us. I would ask that you come forward and speak with us no matter how small you think your information may be, please let us decide.
"It is also important that we speak with anyone who may have been in the area between 3am and 6am on Wednesday, using the roads between Chard and Ashill (the A358). Did you see a red Ford Focus, 5 door hatch back that may have been in company with another vehicle? If you did, please contact us."
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.
AN update on the 32-year-old suspect being questioned by detectives is expected later this evening, police have said.
TRIBUTES continue to pour in for Catherine Wells-Burr.
The Facebook group, which can be viewed here , now has more than 7,500 members.
Donna Sell posted: “I give all my thoughts and condolences to all Catherine's family and friends, may you rest in peace you beautiful girl, a star in the night sky will be brighter now with u above, sleep well princess and such a sad and terrible tragedy for anyone, love to all that knew her xxx.”
Among the other messages, Jacacia Totterdell said: “RIP cousin xxxxx” and Phil Man posted: “Losing a loves one is hard, but knowing God gained an angel makes the grief a little easier. RIP Catherine x.”
DOZENS of floral tributes have been laid at the site where the body of Catherine Wells-Burr was discovered last week.
A TRIBUTE page set up on Facebook in memory of Catherine Wells-Burr now has almost 7,500 members.
Sarah Arnold, who was among the friends leaving floral tributes near the scene on the A358, posted: "We were all united in remembering our Caf. So pleased with who else was there tonight, it was all the right people.. Will remember it always ♥ xxx."
Tracey Whatley added: "R.I.P sweetie taken away so young. My condolences to the family and friends of Catherine. Sweet dreams the angels will take care of you xx."
7:38pm Sat 15 Sep 12
Everyone misses caff so so much....we all love you little angel xx
DETECTIVES have been quizzing a 32-year-old woman over the death of Catherine Wells-Burr all weekend.
They were given extra time to question the suspect on Saturday after the initial arrest a day earlier.
A decision on whether she will be charged or not is expected later today (Monday).
POLICE are still at the scene in Ashill sealing off the road that leads to the scene where the car was found.
Floral tributes to Catherine Wells-Burr have also been laid at the cordon.
There is a police presence along the A358 past the area.
CHARD United Football Club paid tribute to Catherine Wells-Burr with a one minute silence ahead of their game yesterday (Saturday) at Jocelyn Park.
1:08pm Sat 15 Sep 12
I can truely say this is the first time in my whole life that ive felt so lost and upset.Not only is it well beyond upsetting and shocking but a wonderful friend has been lost.Ive known catherine for 6 years and in that time we have shared memories that will never ever be forgotten. I will always remember her 18th birthday where friends and family met to celebrate. Ive never seen a bigger smile on her face.Catherine had a heart of gold. She was an intelligent and bright young woman who had so much going for her. She thrived on doing well and always put her friends and family first.Like all will agree caff will never be forgotten. Gone from out home but not from our hearts.Let the police do their job to find the evil person who took caff away from us all.Id like to send all my love to her family and friends and ask everyone to think of the great times they spent with her.R.I.P Catherine. I love you very much....and you will be missed by all
6:54pm Fri 14 Sep 12
I found out this horrible news while I was on holiday. I worked with Catherine at Numatics and will always remember when I was having a bad day she was always there to make me smile. I've known Catherine since she was about 11 and I worked in tescos and she would come in with her dad and sister. I cant believe she has been taken away from us and she will be missed by so many. My thoughts are with her family xx
DETECTIVES have been given a further 36 hours to question the 32-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of murdering Catherine Wells-Burr.
They have also released more details about Wednesday morning.
Police want to speak to the driver of a dark coloured people carrier they think was travelling from Ilminster to Taunton past the scene at around 6.10am.
Officers believe the car braked at the point of the fire.
DCI Simon Crisp said: "I would also like to speak to anyone who saw a white transit or smaller van or was in a white transit or smaller van that was parked in the vicinity of the scene.
"My final appeal is to members of the public who saw anyone in the area wearing a high visibility jackets, these people may have information that is significant to this investigation."
Anybody with information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.
CATHERINE Wells-Burr's employers Numatic International, based in Chard, have released this statement: "Catherine was a valued employee who worked with us in manufacturing during her university holidays and after graduation as a full time employee.
"She moved to our IS department last year to further her career as Business Analyst.
"We are all shocked and saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts are with Catherine's family and all those affected."
Numatic is best known for making the Henry vacuum cleaners.
If you work at Numatic and would like to leave a tribute to Catherine, add your comments using the form at the bottom of this page and we will aim to publish them in Wednesday's Chard and Ilminster News.
THE family of Catherine have described her as an "amazing and special person."
A statement by mum Jayne, dad Phil, sister Leanne and boyfriend Rafal (pictured above with Catherine), said: "We have lost our beautiful Catherine; she was full of character, she was caring, loving, and had a bubbly personality.
"She had a wonderful sense of humour, and was an amazing, special person.
"Catherine had achieved so much in her short life and had worked so hard to gain her Bachelor of Honours in Business Management, gaining a first class degree from Bath Spa University.
"She was so happy starting her life with Rafal and excited about their future together.
"We would like to express thanks for all the messages of sympathy and support, we have found some comfort in all the kind and thoughtful words that have been said about Catherine and in knowing how well she was loved.
"We have found this hard to understand why someone would have done this to her.
"There are no words to express how we feel about what has happened to her early on Wednesday morning. We desperately need to know why.
"She will be sadly missed."
12:08pm Fri 14 Sep 12
Caf was a very close friend of ours. We will miss her VERY much. A Facebook page has been set up by some of her friends in memory of her. This can be found at http://www.facebook.
com/RIPCatherine.The Twitter hashtag #RIPCatherine is being used for people to pay their respects online also.
THE picture below has been created by friends since Catherine's death.
They asked us to post it on their behalf.
CHARD Mayor Cllr Cathie Morrison, below, said she was "deeply shocked" by Catherine's death.
She added: "All I can say is I was deeply shocked when I heard the news. I feel for Catherine's family and for everybody who knew her.
"Having spoken to the town council we would like to express our sympathy to the family at this difficult time."
MORE than 4,200 people have now joined a Facebook page set up in memory of Catherine Wells-Burr.
Among the messages posted on the site, which can be viewed here , is this poem from Sean Smith:
Words say nothing
Now that you’re gone
We fall to the floor.
There’s no meaning
To why you are gone
It just hurts to the core.
...The news opened our eyes
Took our breath away.
At first unnerving
Tears rolled from our eyes
To see you taken away.
We didn’t lose a life
We just gained an angel.
You oozed such life
You won’t leave a stranger.
Our hearts are aching
As we wait in the cold
The answers lie waiting
Where the truth will unfold.
A brighter star shines from above
All that we ask is you share the love
Stay strong and try to dry those eyes
Catherine wouldn’t want to hear us cry.
THE family of Catherine Wells-Burr have released a photograph of her taken at her graduation ceremony.
The body of Catherine, 23, who studied at Bath Spa University, was found in a red Ford Focus on Wednesday morning.
A WOMAN has been arrested in connection with the death of Catherine Wells-Burr, police said today.
A 32-year-old woman was arrested last night (Thursday 13) on suspicion of murder and is now in police custody.
Two men who were also arrested have since been eliminated from the inquiry, police said.
DCI Simon Crisp said: "A post mortem will begin today to try and identify how Catherine died.
"We still need information from members of the public and those people who knew Catherine or knew of her.
"It is imperative we get a full picture of her life and you may have information that could help."
DCI Simon Crisp, who is leading the investigation into the murder of Catherine Wells-Burr, has pledged to catch her killer.
He told reporters: "I can assure you we will find those responsible and bring them to justice."
Heart goes out to catherines family.at this awful time #R.I.P #catherinewellsburr— @BigCowdrey 13 September 2012
Absolutely horrific news can't believe somebody would do that #RIPCatherine #ashill #catherinewellsburr— @Gov_the_gunner 13 September 2012
Officer investigating murder of Catherine Wells-Burr says 'we will catch her killer' - http://t.co/sOph3LUV #catherinewellsburr— @GazetteAMcGill 14 September 2012
THOUSANDS of people have taken to social networking site Facebook to leave messages on a tribute page to Catherine.
The group, R.I.P Catherine Wells-Burr, was only set up last night (Thursday) but already has over 3,500 members.
Mo Symons posted: "This is so awful. My thoughts are with all of her family and friends. A young beautiful woman taken. I pray that the person who did this is found and brought to justice. RIP to a lovely young woman."
Steve Clarke said: "Such a waste of a young life. R.I.P Catherine."
Mark Jeffries put simply: "Heaven has got a new angel."
And commenting on the amount of group members, Leanne Michelle said: "She deserves every single one - proves how loved she is x."
OFFICERS continued to search the area around where Catherine's body was found late into Thursday afternoon.
4:51pm Thu 13 Sep 12
I am deeply saddened by a loss of a other person from my home county.
I was lucky enough to meet Catherine's aquaintance once or twice and she was a lovely girl.
What I'm even more shocked about is how Somerset is going down hill. I work away from the area 9/10 months a year and when ever I check back in the news, always some tragedy or death. People these days make me sick.
I'm just glad I'm far away from it all.
RIP Caf, best wishes and condolences to all her family and close friends
3:08pm Thu 13 Sep 12
I'm in complete shock at this tragic news. Catherine (or Caf as she was known by many) was such a sweet, beautiful person.
I feel so sad for her friends and family. x
THIS is a picture of murder victim Catherine Wells-Burr, whose body was discovered in a burnt-out car in Ashill yesterday (Wednesday) morning.
DCI Simon Crisp speaks to the media at Taunton Police Station on Thursday, September 13.
FULL statement from DCI Simon Crisp: "The person that died in the car yesterday at Ashill was Catherine Wells-Burr. We believe it to be her but formal identification is yet to take place.
"I am making a double appeal today. Firstly for those people that may have witnessed Catherine and her red Ford Focus arriving at the scene which is alongside the A358 near Ilminster.
"Did anybody see that car arrive? Did anybody see suspicious people arrive or leave the scene at about 6am to 6.30am on a busy road? We need you to call us.
"The second part of the appeal is to help us understand Catherine's private and social life.
"Did she know her killer is the question that we're asking ourselves. Did she arrange to meet somebody at the location where she met her death? These are the things we are seriously considering.
"Please don't leave it to others to tell us, call us immediately.
"The post mortem examination is yet to take place so I am unable to confirm whether she died in the fire or beforehand.
"I believe we are still searching for the offenders. At this moment there is not a specific person we are looking for.
"We are working on the theory that she possibly knew the attacker. We do not think this is a random attack but we are not ruling it out."
SPEAKING at Taunton Police Station this afternoon, DCI Simon Crisp, below, said detectives believe Catherine may have known her attacker.
He said: "We are working on the theory that she possibly knew the attacker."
Full statement to follow...
Latest Tweets on Catherine Wells-Burr Murder Inquiry
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IN a statement, Catherine's former school, the Holyrood Academy in Chard, has said they are 'deeply shocked and saddened' at the news of her death.
It read: "She is warmly remembered as a very friendly young person, gregarious and with a great sense of humour.
"Catherine always had a smile and a positive outlook. Our sincere condolences go to her family and friends at this difficult time."
A MEDIA briefing on the Catherine Wells-Burr murder inquiry is about to get under way.
WRITING on Facebook, former Holyrood School pupil Chris Powell has paid tribute to Catherine.
He wrote: "Catherine Wells-Burr - Can't believe what I'm hearing.
"You always had a smile on your face, always took the time out to talk to and advise people putting them before yourself.
"We were so so close in school... How anyone could do such a thing to someone so harmless and beautiful - inside & out, is something I will never understand.
"R.I.P babe. Thinking of you and your family."
THE scene of the discovery:
THE officer in charge of the investigation - DCI Simon Crisp - is the same policeman who led the inquiry into the murder of Rev John Suddards in Thornbury, near Bristol, earlier this year.
CATHERINE Wells-Burr's body was found in a red Ford Focus, police have said.
LOCATION of body discovery
FULL statement from DCI Simon Crisp:
"This is a tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life.
"We are working to establish what happened in the early hours of yesterday morning that led to this car being set ablaze.
"I would like to appeal to anyone with any information about this incident to get in touch with us no matter how small you think that piece of information may be.
"In particular I'd like to speak to any motorists who were in the area around the time who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or anyone crossing the A358. It is also very important that we speak to all of Catherine's friends and associates who she may have socialised with, as well as anyone else who may have any knowledge about her social and private life.
"Your information may be crucial so please contact us by calling 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.
"Finally I would like to thank local residents for their cooperation as we carry out this investigation and also those motorists who have been inconvenienced because of the road closures."
DCI Crisp will further address the media at Taunton Police Station this afternoon.
THE woman has been named as 23-year-old Catherine Wells-Burr.
Detective Ch Insp Simon Crisp said: "This is a tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life.
"We are working to establish what happened in the early hours of yesterday morning that led to this car being set ablaze."
THE discovery of the woman's body is being treated as murder, police have confirmed this morning.
POLICE are treating the discovery of the body in a car this morning in Ashill as suspicious.
Fire crews discovered the woman's body in the car after being called to the incident shortly before 6.30am.
Anyone who was in the area at the time and believes they may have any information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.
POLICE were called to reports of a car on fire shortly before 6.30am this morning (September 12) in a field off the A358.
The fire service was called and confirmed that there was a body in the car.
Police enquiries are continuing in the area at the end of Thickthorn Lane, leading to Southtown and Hastings.
Officers have confirmed they are keeping an open mind and treating the death as unexplained until a post mortem is held to determine the cause.
A BURNT out vehicle has been found in Thickthorn Lane off the A358 in Ashill.
A number of police and fire crews have been seen in the area and are currently investigating the incident.