THE family of Catherine Wells-Burr have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support they have received after it was announced two of her killers may serve shorter sentences in their native Poland.
The 23-year-old graduate’s mother, father and sister – Jayne, Philip and Leanne Wells-Burr – set up a petition in a bid to stop Rafal Nowak and Anna Lagwinowicz being transferred to prison in their home country.
Nowak, Lagwinowicz and Tadevsz Dmytryszyn were each sentenced to a minimum of 32 years in jail by Mrs Justice Sharp at Bristol Crown Court in June after being found guilty of murdering Catherine.
But if the pair’s applications to serve their sentence in Poland are successful, the Wells- Burr family understands they could be eligible for parole after 25 years.
In less than a week, more than 5,000 people have shown their support for their cause by signing the online petition, at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59301
If that number doubles, the Ministry of Justice – which is overseeing the transfer applications – must provide a response to the family.
Mrs Wells-Burr said: “We are overwhelmed by the support shown by people, especially with the short time we have – we have been told that if the Government rubber-stamps it, the first time they can be deported is April.
“We can’t thank people enough – to know that Catherine was so loved by so many people goes a long way.
"We didn’t expect this much support, because unfortunately some people think this is to do with money – but for us it is about morals and following the right process, which includes the importance of our victim impact statements. To have that taken away from us would be terrible.
“We have met David Laws MP and he was setting up an urgent meeting with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to discuss the matter.”
In the meantime, the family is hoping to set up outside Tesco in Chard on February 1 and 2 with slips and a laptop to reach anyone who might not have heard about the petition but would like to sign it.
They are just waiting for confirmation from the store that this is possible.
Mrs Wells-Burr added: “Anyone who has an email account can sign the petition, if they feel they want to, so we are trying to get the message out to as many people as possible to reach our 10,000 target.”
- Tadevsz Dmytryszyn is appealing his conviction and a hearing is set to be take place at the Court of Appeal in London, but a date has not yet been set.