The murderer of Burgh le Marsh man David Twigg will be jailed for a minimum of 23 years after she was given a life sentence today (3 January).
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence at Lincoln Crown Court, described divorcee Julie Dixon, 43, as having produced “a performance worthy of an Oscar” in her efforts to absolve herself of any blame for the killing her long-term partner Mr Twigg, 46.
Dixon, wearing a long black cardigan on top of an orange dress, showed little emotion only occasionally wiping her eyes with a tissue as the judge described her as an out and out liar.
For three months after her fiance’s death she claimed he was killed by intruders.
She later changed her story saying they had a suicide pact before switching again to claim his death was an assisted suicide.
Dixon’s barrister even used the example of Wales football team manager Gary Speed claiming his death showed how a person with apparently everything to look forward to could take his own life.
But her story was rejected by Judge Heath who described Dixon as “a resourceful and imaginative liar”.
Sentencing Dixon, the judge said: “Her performance in the 999 call and to the emergency services at the scene and late at the hospital would be worthy of the highest praise had she been an actress in a fictional drama and would have merited an Oscar. Sadly there was fiction. The fiction was her concocted account of being attacked by intruders.
“She was interviewed as a victim of crime and behaved like one. She gave a detailed untruthful account of what happened punctuated by tears and sobbing. It was all a charade, her account being made up. That was designed to mislead the police. She lied and lied and lied.”
As the Judge addressed Dixon directly, he told her: “David Twigg was an amiable, hard-working and honourable man. What you did to him was evil. There was a significant degree of planning and premeditation.
“The pain that your prolonged and multiple lying has caused David Twigg’s parents can only be imagined.”
The body of Mr Twigg had been found kneeling in a “prayer type position” after firefighters, alerted by a 999 call from Dixon, broke into the store room at his bespoke joinery business outside Burgh on March 13 last year.
Mr Twigg died from smoke inhalation after Dixon locked him in the store room and then set light to petrol which spread fumes under the door.
Gorden Aspden, prosecuting, said Dixon had considered ending the relationship and starting a new life for herself after hiding the couple’s escalating financial problems from Mr Twigg and remortgaging their bungalow several times.
She had failed to pay invoices at the joinery business, which sat next to the couple’s bungalow and hid letters so that Mr Twigg did not know he had been declared bankrupt with tax debts of £17,500.
Mr Aspden told the court Mr Twigg was probably unaware that a warrant had been issued for his arrest for not co-operating with the official receiver three days before Dixon struck the match which killed him.
Her barrister Gregory Dickinson QC, in mitigation, said: “This appears to have grown out of desperation and stress rather than sheer cold-blooded wickedness.
“Now at the age of 43 she is going to spend a very great deal of what remains of her active adult life behind bars.”
Lincolnshire Police Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibbon said: “The sentence fits the serious nature of the crime. From the beginning Julie Dixon lied to her friends, to her family, the emergency services and the police.
“The judge referred to internet searches looking how to stupify people and put things in drinks which shows some planning and pre-medidation.”