Fears 'fentanyl murderer' who poisoned married couple may also have killed father and grandfather

12 June 2024, 12:21

Luke D'Wit was jailed for life for the murder of the Baxters
Luke D'Wit was jailed for life for the murder of the Baxters. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Police fear that a murderer who killed a married couple with fentanyl may also have killed his own father and grandfather.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Luke D'Wit, 34, was jailed for life earlier this year for murdering millionaire couple Stephen and Carol Baxter, who were in their 60s, with the super-strength opioid.

D'Wit befriended the couple and created a series of fake online personas to manipulate them before murdering them last year.

The murderer altered the couple's will after killing them, and police said after his conviction that he was at least partly motivated by money. But they added that it was "unclear what was going on in D'Wit's mind".

And they said that there was no doubt that if he had not been caught he would have gone on to murder more people.

Read more: IT worker guilty of murdering millionaire married couple with fentanyl before altering their will

Read more: 'He lied his way into our lives': Daughter of murdered millionaire couple says IT worker 'completely brainwashed' mother

D'Wit befriended Stephen and Carol Baxter before killing them with fentanyl
D'Wit befriended Stephen and Carol Baxter before killing them with fentanyl. Picture: Family handout

Now officers are investigating the possibility that D'Wit killed his father Vernon, who had been prescribed fentanyl before his death in 2021.

Police are also probing the death of D'Wit's grandfather as part of their investigation, and said they would "not hesitate to act" on any new evidence.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: "Up to the conviction and sentence of Luke D'Wit, our determined focus has been securing justice in relation to the murders of Carol and Stephen.

"As with any investigation of this magnitude, everything we have uncovered is being reviewed and should anything suggest this has been the case we will not hesitate to act."

Luke D'Wit
Luke D'Wit. Picture: Essex Police

Mrs Baxter, 64, and her 61-year-old husband were found dead at their home in West Mersea in Essex by their daughter Ellie on Easter Sunday last year.

D'Wit was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court of murdering the Baxters following a trial lasting over a month.

Ellie said in evidence that her parents believed D'Wit was "weird, but nerdy weird".

She said he had initially been brought into their shower mat business Cazsplash in about 2012 or 2013 to "help build the website" before eventually coming round to their house "every day".

Prosecutors said he created a fake will on his phone the day after the Baxters were found dead, making him a director of the shower mat company.

Luke D'Wit
Luke D'Wit . Picture: Essex Police

Another fake persona - a solicitor - was used in connection with the new will, prosecutors said.

Tracy Ayling KC said in her prosecution closing speech that D'Wit murdered Mr and Mrs Baxter "calmly, coolly and in a way which had been entirely planned, maybe for some while".

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."

Mr Kirby said that "justice has been served today", adding that D'Wit "rightly belongs behind bars".

The defendant "fooled everyone", he added.

Ellie and Harry Baxter, the son and daughter of Stephen, 61, and Carol, 64
Ellie and Harry Baxter, the son and daughter of Stephen, 61, and Carol, 64. Picture: Alamy

"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".

"The level of deviousness he went to was phenomenal," Mr Kirby said.

Asked about a possible motive, Mr Kirby said it was "unclear what was going on in D'Wit's mind".

"Certainly he stood to benefit financially from the death of the Baxters and we believe that certainly this played part of the role in his motive," he said.

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."

D'Wit was arrested at his workplace and his bag contained fentanyl patches, opened and unopened.

Prosecutors questioned his claim that he was taking these back to a pharmacy following the death of his father in 2021.

D'Wit denied murdering Mr and Mrs Baxter and claimed in court that he created fake identities on the instructions of Mr Baxter and to give Mrs Baxter "someone to talk to and air all her grievances to".