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Daughter of millionaire couple poisoned with fentanyl laughed in front of police officer as she was arrested over her parents’ murder, court told – as she claims family friend charged with their killing was ‘like a brother’ to her


The daughter of a couple who died after being poisoned with a powerful prescription opiate on Tuesday told a court she had not been trying to implicate the defendant currently on trial for their murder.

Ellie Baxter admitted during cross-examination that she and her partner had been detained after they discovered the bodies of Stephen Baxter, 61, and his 64-year-old wife Carol at their house.

Describing how it ‘did get to a point after my parents died I did have no money’, she continued: ‘My partner wasn’t able to work after we were all arrested’.

But asked by Adam Davis KC, defending D’Wit, if she was ‘doing your level best to try and put him in it?’, she replied: ‘No, I honestly thought Luke was like my brother but unfortunately the evidence is showing up. It all makes sense.’

Miss Baxter, 22, accepted she and her partner Marcus Young had laughed in front of a police officer following their arrest three months after her wealthy parents died.

Ellie Baxter admitted during cross-examination that she and her partner had been detained after they discovered the bodies of Stephen Baxter, 61, and his 64-year-old wife Carol

Ellie Baxter admitted during cross-examination that she and her partner had been detained after they discovered the bodies of Stephen Baxter, 61, and his 64-year-old wife Carol

Stephen Baxter, 61, and his 64-year-old wife Carol, who were found dead sitting in their individual armchairs in their conservatory on Easter Sunday - April 9 - last year

Stephen Baxter, 61, and his 64-year-old wife Carol, who were found dead sitting in their individual armchairs in their conservatory on Easter Sunday – April 9 – last year

Luke D'Wit, 34, is said to have rewritten the Baxters' will in his favour the day after they were found dead in their million-pound house in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9 last year

Luke D’Wit, 34, is said to have rewritten the Baxters’ will in his favour the day after they were found dead in their million-pound house in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9 last year

D'Wit, an IT expert who helped the couple with the online side of their business, described himself to police as 'like an adopted son' to Mr and Mrs Baxter

D’Wit, an IT expert who helped the couple with the online side of their business, described himself to police as ‘like an adopted son’ to Mr and Mrs Baxter

But she insisted they were only showing exasperation at the questions they were being asked by officers, including about the fentanyl used to poison them and where she got £20,000 from to invest in an ISA.

‘They had falsely arrested me for murdering my own parents,’ she told Chelmsford Crown Court.

Jurors were told that when she learned D’Wit remained in custody, she said: ‘That’s not surprising.’

D’Wit, 34, is said to have rewritten the Baxters’ will in his favour the day after they were found dead in their million-pound house in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9 last year.

The couple ran a successful company, Cazsplash Ltd, which made bathmats designed to fit around curved or corner showers.

D’Wit, an IT expert who helped the couple with the online side of their business, described himself to police as ‘like an adopted son’ to Mr and Mrs Baxter, who were found dead in armchairs in their conservatory.

But the court has heard he ‘manipulated’ the family by inventing online personas, including a US-based doctor who advised Mrs Baxter to help treat her thyroid condition by limiting time with her family.

He is also said to have invented a theatre director called Jenny who offered Ms Baxter a contract for her aspiring career as a singer.

The Baxters' will which was shown to the jury

The Baxters’ will which was shown to the jury

Carol Baxter who was found dead with her husband Stephen

Carol Baxter who was found dead with her husband Stephen

Mr Davis suggested to Ms Baxter that D’Wit had only created ‘Jenny’ at the request of her father in an attempt to encourage her ambitions.

‘Your father was behind your career and had asked Luke to help with this,’ he told her.

‘Are you aware that it was through your father that this whole thing came about?’

She responded: ‘No, it could not have been.’

The witness added her parents had tired of D’Wit’s constant excuses to visit their house and had even installed a box at the front door so that he could drop things off without coming in.

Her parents had also tried to get all the passwords for computers and programmes associated with their business so that they could fire D’Wit, who worked for them two or three days per week, as they were fed up with him.

She admitted under cross-examination that she sometimes argued with her mother, who criticised her for ‘doing very little’ when she had been employed by Cazsplash.

‘I was going through a lot myself. If you work with family it can be quite fractious,’ she said.

‘If you bring a mother and daughter relationship into a workplace, it can bring its own problems.’

Her parents had also tried to get all the passwords for computers and programmes associated with their business so that they could fire D'Wit, who worked for them two or three days per week, as they were fed up with him

Her parents had also tried to get all the passwords for computers and programmes associated with their business so that they could fire D’Wit, who worked for them two or three days per week, as they were fed up with him

The witness added her parents had tired of D'Wit's constant excuses to visit their house and had even installed a box at the front door so that he could drop things off without coming in

The witness added her parents had tired of D’Wit’s constant excuses to visit their house and had even installed a box at the front door so that he could drop things off without coming in

Ms Baxter also denied failing to tell the truth about borrowing ‘small amounts’ of money from D’Wit before her parents’ deaths.

Mr Davis said she had borrowed a total of £7,000 from the defendant before and after the deaths.

Ms Baxter, who has two young children, admitted borrowing money from him when she was ‘short and struggling’ but insisted she had always paid him back.

She also said she had not heard about him investing £20,000 in Cazsplash.

Asked if she had handed jewellery belonging to her mother to D’Wit before it was found behind the sofa at his home in Mersea Island, she insisted: ‘I did not do that.’

Describing her shock at discovering D’Wit – who she says told her he had bone cancer – had sent her and her family messages and emails from fake people he invented, Miss Baxter told the court: ‘I was confused. Who do I trust now?

‘There was a lot of concern. He had been at my home, looked after my children, my parents.’

As he concluded his cross examination, Mr Davis asked Miss Baxter: ‘Were you involved in your parents’ death in any way?’

She replied: ‘No, I was not.’

Mr Davis went on: ‘Were you involved in a cover up of your parents’ suicide, which involved saying things about Luke, which involved the planting of fentanyl patches?’

Miss Baxter choked back tears as she replied: ‘No, not at all. All I am guilty of is loving my parents.’

Mr Davis read out a message sent to Miss Baxter by her brother Harry before their parents died, saying that they had told him they might take their own lives. The message said: ‘They just thought it would be easier if they died.’

He also suggested that there had been a family discussion soon after Mr and Mrs Baxter died, saying that their life insurance would be ‘invalidated’ if it was found that they had died by suicide.

Miss Baxter said she ‘vaguely’ remembered that her father had life insurance. But she added: ‘When you find two people dead, every form of reason goes through your head.’

The trial has heard that D’Wit slipped fentanyl that had been prescribed to his late grandfather into drinks he made for Mr and Mrs Baxter, who had two children together. Mrs Baxter also had two children from previous relationships.

He also took over Mrs Baxter’s medication for her medical conditions.

Jurors have been told the defendant set up a hidden camera to watch the couple die after he poisoned them.

He allegedly downloaded a home security app onto a mobile phone, which he placed in the Baxters’ home, and used another mobile to receive the images.

Tracy Ayling KC told the court: ‘He was the last person to see them alive. He watched them dying on his phone.’

This had allowed him to return to the house when they were unconscious and hide incriminating evidence, she added.

D’Wit denies two counts of murder, theft and possession of a Class A drug.

The case continues.



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