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IT worker accused of poisoning his millionaire boss and his wife with fentanyl claims he created fake identities to converse with her on the orders of her husband, court hears


An IT ‘nerd’ accused of murdering a wealthy couple who employed and then befriended him today told a court he created fake online personas on the instructions of the husband.

Luke D’Wit is accused of slipping a powerful prescription painkiller into drinks he made for Stephen and Carol Baxter, aged 61 and 64 respectively.

The prosecution claims he then added a clause to their will which name him as a director of their bath mat firm, Cazsplash Ltd.

D’Wit also allegedly invented bogus online identities in order to manipulate Mrs Baxter, who had a thyroid condition, and her daughter, Ellie, 22.

But the defendant, 34, said he invented the contacts and faked messages from them on behalf of Mr Baxter when he took the stand to give evidence today.

One of these was a character called Cheryl – a patient of Dr Andrea Bowden, who was also a fictional identity supposedly created to liaise with Mrs Baxter about her illness.

Luke D'Wit, 34, is taken into custody after being arrested on suspicion of murdering his millionaire boss and his wife

Luke D’Wit, 34, is taken into custody after being arrested on suspicion of murdering his millionaire boss and his wife 

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

D'Wit also allegedly invented bogus online identities in order to manipulate Mrs Baxter (pictured), who had a thyroid condition, and her daughter, Ellie, 22

D’Wit also allegedly invented bogus online identities in order to manipulate Mrs Baxter (pictured), who had a thyroid condition, and her daughter, Ellie, 22 

‘Steve had the idea that she needed someone to talk to and air all her grievances to and it might get some of her anxiety away,’ D’Wit said.

‘We created someone for Carol to talk to.’

Regarding US-based Dr Bowden – who, the court has heard, made suggestions to Mrs Baxter including limiting time with her family – he added: ‘The actual mechanics was me but it was instructions from Stephen.’

Another online persona, a theatre producer called Jenny Trencher, was another idea of Mr Baxter’s to help Ellie. The aspiring singer was allegedly offered a contract by the stage boss.

Other inventions requested by Mr Baxter, according to D’Wit, included a fake woman who encouraged his wife to go on trips with him because they ‘didn’t always get on’, and another doctor who advised Mrs Baxter about ‘gut problems’.

D’Wit denied there had been a ‘sinister’ motive behind the made-up characters, saying they were about helping Mr Baxter improve his wife’s health and their relationship.

He claimed he struggled to maintain the deception as Mrs Baxter had been keen to meet some of the women he created.

‘It was a constant problem for Steve and myself because clearly she could not meet them,’ he said.

The home of the millionaire tycoon husband and wife in Essex where their bodies were found

The home of the millionaire tycoon husband and wife in Essex where their bodies were found 

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

The Baxters' will which was shown to the jury during the murder trial

The Baxters’ will which was shown to the jury during the murder trial 

‘There were always delays and various things to put in place.’

D’Wit also told the court some messages were written by Mr Baxter.

He said the couple’s relationship suffered after Mrs Baxter lost up to £200,000 to online fraudsters after investing in a bogus trading platform in 2019.

‘Her anxiety and mental health definitely took a turn but also her physical health,’ said D’Wit, who added Mrs Baxter became ‘obsessed about retrieving the money’.

The prosecution claims the defendant, who did IT work for the couple’s company, used the false identities to manipulate family members.

Prosecutor Tracy Ayling KC accused D’Wit of inventing a bone cancer diagnosis to ‘engender sympathy’ from his victims and their family.

He denied this, saying hospital records were incomplete.

Asked if he had any ill-feeling towards the Baxters or involvement in their deaths, he replied calmly: ‘No.’

Mr and Mrs Baxter were found dead at their million pound home in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9, 2023.

Tests showed they were killed with fatal doses of fentanyl, a drug which D’Wit had at his home nearby as it had been used by his late father, Vernon, who died from cancer in 2021.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told he used a home security app downloaded onto two phones – one left in their house as a camera, the other in his possession – to spy on the couple as they lost consciousness. He then entered the property to remove incriminating evidence.

The bodies of Stephen and Carol were found at their home in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9 last year

The bodies of Stephen and Carol were found at their home in Mersea Island, Essex, on April 9 last year

They were discovered by their daughter Ellie Baxter (pictured), 22, and her partner Marcus Young, who are said to have called D'Wit round from his nearby home after finding the bodies

They were discovered by their daughter Ellie Baxter (pictured), 22, and her partner Marcus Young, who are said to have called D’Wit round from his nearby home after finding the bodies

Their bodies were discovered by Ellie and her partner, Marcus Young, who were both arrested on suspicion of the double murder but later released.

The mother-of-two, from Colchester, told jurors earlier in the trial: ‘All I am guilty of is loving my parents.’ She also labelled D’Wit a ‘nerdy weirdo’.

D’Wit, who called himself a family friend to police, described seeing the Baxters’ bodies when he was called round to the house by horrified Ellie and Mr Young.

Both were ‘grey’ and there was ‘discharge’ coming from Mrs Baxter’s mouth.

He explained he collected medicines from around the property for first responders and denied that he saw or took any fentanyl patches.

D’Wit, who said he last saw the couple two days before their bodies were discovered, denies murder.

The trial continues.



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