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IT worker accused of poisoning millionaire and his wife with fentanyl ‘set up a secret camera to watch them die after he had befriended them and changed their wills’


An IT expert accused of poisoning a wealthy couple he befriended and rewriting their wills to his benefit set up a secret camera to watch them die, a court heard today.

Police allegedly found images from an app on Luke D’Wit’s phone which showed Stephen Baxter, 61, and his wife Carol, 64, slumped and dying in their home.

CCTV footage from a neighbouring property is said to show the defendant checking another of his phones outside the couple’s million pound house on the day they died.

Mrs Baxter was managing director of Cazsplash Ltd, a bathroom accessories firm which sells bathmats designed to fit around curved or corner showers.

The former adult educator came up with the idea and held the intellectual property rights.

Tributes were paid to Stephen and Carol Baxter by their neighbours, who said they were a 'lovely couple'

Tributes were paid to Stephen and Carol Baxter by their neighbours, who said they were a ‘lovely couple’

Luke D'Wit, 34, filmed on body cam footage during a police interview

Luke D’Wit, 34, filmed on body cam footage during a police interview

Her husband, whom she married in 2000, was a fellow director of the business, which launched 12 years ago.

He was also global lead, operational risk and assurance, for multi-billion pound transnational real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which was founded in the UK but has its headquarters in Chicago.

The couple had two children together, while Mrs Baxter had two more children from two previous marriages.

Prosecutor Tracy Ayling KC said the CCTV may have caught D’Wit, 33, looking at images of the ‘incapacitated’ couple.

The information could have been used to allow him to wait until they were unconscious so that he could remove evidence he had put powerful prescription synthetic opiate fentanyl in their drinks.

‘You will need to ask yourselves ‘Why was Mr D’Wit watching Mr and Mrs Baxter in the conservatory?’ Ms Ayling said.

‘Was he watching them die? Both of them were already incapacitated and we know the fentanyl was taken orally.

‘Was this when he made everything pristine, for instance clearing up the cups and making sure he didn’t leave a trace?

‘He was indeed the last person to see them alive. He watched them dying on his phone.’

Ms Ayling said police found the iHeart home security app, which is often used by people to monitor babies and animals, had been downloaded on two of D’Wit’s phones, enabling one to be placed secretly in the Baxters’ home in West Mersea, Essex, and the other to receive pictures.

The app was downloaded on one phone on August 6, 2022, and was activated with a verification code shortly after 4pm on April 7 last year. About an hour later just after 5pm on the same day the app was downloaded and verified on the second phone, she added.

Ms Ayling said the app was triggered to take video by any movement which could include shadows on a wall or something moving outside.

The IT worker leaving the shower tycoon's house after he 'killed them with fentanyl' on the evening of April 7

The IT worker leaving the shower tycoon’s house after he ‘killed them with fentanyl’ on the evening of April 7

The IT worker told the police officer that he last saw them alive two days before they were discovered dead by their daughter

The IT worker told the police officer that he last saw them alive two days before they were discovered dead by their daughter

Users could delete clips but there was still a cache of the initial image stored on their device.

Police found six cached images showing the couple in their chairs in their conservatory between 5.14pm and 5.45pm on April 7 which was Good Friday. The images were shown to the jury with the faces of the couple blacked out.

Ms Ayling added that CCTV from a neighbouring property had shown D’Wit walking towards the Baxters’ home at 5.44pm on April 7 while he was ‘looking at a phone’.

She added: ‘The prosecution case is that he was looking at those images of the Baxters in their conservatory sitting in their armchairs.’

The couple’s bodies were found two days later when their daughter Ellie, 22, and her partner Marcus Young called round to visit them.

Ms Ayling said: ‘An analysis of the images shows that they did not move at all after these images were taken. Carol’s left foot was in exactly the same position.’

The court earlier heard how Mrs Baxter’s pacemaker was sent off for analysis by a cardiologist after her death to see if it could give any information.

It showed that Mrs Baxter, who normally moved for around 300 minutes in every 24 hour period, had only moved for a total of two minutes from 4.51pm on April 7 and until the late afternoon the next day.

The will D'Wit allegedly created on his phone which was released by police

The will D’Wit allegedly created on his phone which was released by police

The cardiologist concluded from the data that she had probably died between 11am and 2pm on April 8, meaning that she would have already lapsed into a coma by the time D’Wit visited their home.

D’Wit who did IT and website work for the couple’s business called Cazsplash which sold bath mats designed to fit around curved showers, was filmed on their Ring doorbell leaving their home at 7.45pm on April 7.

The footage showed nobody else going into their house afterwards, suggesting he was the last person to seem them alive, said Ms Ayling.

The court heard today that D’Wit had the Ring doorbell app on his phone and had accessed it around four hours before the bodies of Mr and Mrs Baxter were discovered, despite not having a Ring doorbell at his own home nearby.

After the bodies were discovered, police found Mrs Baxter’s phone had accessed the wi-fi router at D’Wit’s home on the evening of April 9, and then accessed its Ring doorbell app the following day.

Ms Ayling said D’Wit, who claimed to have been the best friend of Mrs Baxter and ‘like an adopted son’ to the couple, later downloaded the Ring footage of him leaving their home, said Ms Ayling.

He made internet searches on May 31 and June 26 to try and find out how to delete Ring videos, it is claimed.

Stephen and Carol Baxter who were found dead in their home in West Mersea, Essex by their daughter on April 9

Stephen and Carol Baxter who were found dead in their home in West Mersea, Essex by their daughter on April 9

Prosecutors have alleged that D’Wit poisoned the Baxters with fentanyl which had been prescribed as a painkiller for his late grandfather ‘in order to profit from their deaths’.

He is said to have targeted them with ‘a web of deception and manipulation’ by creating a fake online support group for sufferers of the thyroid condition Hashimoto’s Thyroditis which Mrs Baxter suffered from.

He made a false identity on his phone for a doctor called Dr Andrea Bowden in Florida giving purported advice to Mrs Baxter on how to treat her condition, Ms Ayling said. This included limiting access to her family.

He also allegedly created the identity of a woman called Jenny, a theatre producer who contacted Ellie, an aspiring singer, offering her a performing contract.

The court heard he made a voice recording of himself putting on a woman’s voice and pretending to be Jenny in an apparent rehearsal before phoning Ellie, although no call was made.

Ms Ayling told jurors: ‘In case you thought the recording of Jenny was a bit of a joke or a laugh, he made a web search for the best ten voice changers, and how to change a voice during a live call.’

The home of the millionaire tycoon husband and wife in  Essex

The home of the millionaire tycoon husband and wife in  Essex

She said that Ellie had told police that D’Wit had put himself in charge of her mother’s medication, giving prepared boxes of supposed herbal medicine and preparing drinks for her which she thought tasted ‘disgusting’.

When he was arrested, he was found to have what was left of his grandfather’s fentanyl patches with some packets already opened.

Jurors heard how four empty patches from the same batch were found in the Baxters’ home.

Police also found D’Wit in possession of capsules of the drug promethazine, an antihistamine used in over-the-counter cold medicines, which had been adapted so that they contained four times the amount of medication.

Ms Ayling said the drug was found in potentially lethal quantities, along with fentanyl, in the blood of Mrs Baxter, and was a contributory cause of her death.

Evidence was found that he had used a chisel and a pot at his home as makeshift pestle and mortar to grind up tablets and put them in the capsules, she added.

Officers also discovered that D’Wit had used his mobile phone the day after the couple were found dead to create an addition to their wills, making him a director of their business.

When his home in West Mersea was searched, some of Mrs Baxter’s jewellery was found between the sofa and stairs.

Opened and unopened letters sent to Mrs Baxter at her home and her bank card were also recovered by police, said Ms Ayling.

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

The trial continues.



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