British man used fentanyl to poison couple after gaining trust, monitored deaths via app

A British IT worker who befriended and worked for an older couple, poisoned them with fentanyl and monitored their death with his cellphone was sentenced Friday to a minimum 37 years in prison.

The sentencing of Luke D’Wit, 34, came two days after he was found guilty of murder in the deaths of Stephen and Carol Baxter, 61 and 64, last April at their home in West Mersea, 70 miles east of London.

During the six-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, jurors also heard that D’Wit had created a fake will on his phone to make him a director of their shower mat company, a day after he killed them. He even monitored them remotely as they died from his deadly concoction.

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The court had also heard that D’Wit had used a series of personas from 2021 to manipulate the couple. Among others, he pretended to be a doctor from Florida and a member of a fake support group for the thyroid condition Hashimoto’s, which Carol Baxter suffered from.

Describing D’Wit’s actions as “cruel and senseless,” Justice Nicholas Lavender handed down a life sentence, with D’Wit not eligible for parole for at least 37 years.

He said he was sure that D’Wit extracted the fentanyl that killed the couple from patches which had been originally prescribed for his father, who died in 2021.

Ellie and Harry Baxter, the son and daughter of Stephen and Carol Baxter, stand outside Chelmsford Crown Court, in Chelmsford, England, on March 22, 2024, as a statement is read by the police after the sentencing of Luke D’Wit. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

“It’s distinctly possible what motivated you was a desire to control others,” he said.

The judge said D’Wit spiked a drink he gave to the couple on April 7, which they took as they trusted D’Wit to prepare “supposed health drinks” for them.

The defendant cleaned up afterward, the judge said, adding that “when the Baxters were unconscious, you took the macabre step of using an application on two mobile telephones to monitor them while you left the house for a time.”

D’Wit, who sat in a wheelchair in the secure dock, appeared to show no reaction as his sentence was read out.

The couple were found dead by their daughter two days after their poisoning.

She told the court that D’Wit had “lied his way into our lives” over a decade.

“I have never known an emotional pain to physically hurt so much,” Ellie Baxter said in her impact statement to the court. “It was like my insides were on fire. I screamed and I screamed.”

Prosecutor Tracy Ayling said Luke D’Wit’s murder of the couple followed “quite an extraordinary long-term case of manipulation.”

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