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Wells-Burr family continue fight to keep killers in UK
THE family of murder victim Catherine Wells-Burr are working on their last chance to stop two of her Polish killers returning home to serve their prison sentences.
Her mother Jayne, father Philip and sister Leanne are finalising a letter for Justice Minister Jeremy Wright, which Yeovil MP David Laws will hand deliver to him this week.
Rafal Nowak and Anna Lagwinowicz have applied to be transferred to Poland, where they would be eligible for parole after 25 years, despite being sentenced to a minimum 32-year term each last year after being found guilty of Catherine’s murder.
Huge public support has been shown for the Wells-Burrs’ bid to stop the transfer via an online petition signed by almost 6,500 people and a paper petition which has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.
The family has also received letters from the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, and the UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, among other notable figures since they began their campaign in January.
Mr Farage wrote: “For the perpetrators of this horrendous crime to escape the full rigour of the law would be one more injustice to be heaped on your heads and that of the entire nation.
“These murderers should serve their full sentences and only then should they be deported from the shores of this country.”
But the final decision will rest with Mr Wright, who wrote directly to David Laws about the matter.
In the letter he said: “It is the policy of this government to ensure wherever possible that foreign national prisoners should serve their sentences in their own country, alleviating the burden of the British taxpayer.
“It’s not always possible for the receiving state to impose the same sentence as the courts here. It’s not normal practice to involve victims or their families in decisions relating to the transfer of individuals to another country.”
Catherine’s family are awaiting legal advice before sending their letter to Mr Wright, which will convey their disappointment at some of his comments.
Mrs Wells-Burr said: “I think there are other ways of saving money. This is such a serious crime and it wouldn’t be the same sentence in Poland – what does that say to our judges?
“This letter is our last chance and even then I’m not sure he will read it all. We haven’t got much faith in him.
“Every day is a struggle for us and even more so when you are told the victims don’t count. We are all still working, so this is taking all our energy, but we are doing it because we love Catherine so much.”
David Laws is set to accompany the family when they deliver the petition, signed by people across the West Country and beyond, to 10 Downing Street at a future date.