Judge to decide on killer’s motive

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KILLER Julie Dixon is set to re-appear in court this morning (Wednesday) after she dramatically admitted the murder of Burgh le Marsh man David Twigg last week.

Mr Twigg, 46, died of smoke inhalation on March 13 after being locked in a store room cupboard inside his burning workshop.

Dixon, 43, initially told police that she and Twigg had been held by intruders and that she had escaped. But she later changed her story to that of a failed suicide pact between herself and Twigg, who was her partner at the time.

Dixon’s trial had expected to run up to a month, but she changed her plea to guilty after just one day of evidence. But before she can be sentenced the judge in the case will hold a ‘Newton hearing’.

These occur when the accused has pleaded guilty to an offence but their version of events contradicts that of the prosecution’s. The hearing is expected to begin at Lincoln Crown Court today (Wednesday).

During last week’s trial evidence, the court had heard that the couple were outwardly in a happy relationship, having been together for 15 years, but Dixon managed to conceal the chaotic financial state that had engulfed Mr Twigg’s joinery business.

She hid mail from him and even managed to hide from him the fact that he was made bankrupt, owing £17,500 in taxes.

Dixon had become unhappy and told friends she wanted to leave her partner.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said that Mr Twigg, who knew nothing of the financial mess he was in, spent his final hours with Dixon gardening and putting up fencing at the couple’s home in Burgh le Marsh.

But as they were putting their tools away Dixon locked him in a store room in his adjoining workshop and then poured petrol onto the concrete floor and set it alight.

Although the fire was short-lived it generated a large amount of smoke which spread into the locked store room. Mr Twigg was overcome by the smoke and fumes from the petrol.

Dixon raised the alarm and when fire fighters smashed their way into the store room they found Mr Twigg on his knees in a “prayer-type position” slumped forward. His death was as a result of smoke inhalation.

Dixon spent the next three months claiming the blaze was started by intruders who surprised the couple in the workshop.

But after police began to unravel her lies she was arrested for murder. It was only then that she came up with the story of a suicide pact. Even then she expressed her continuing love for her partner.

Mr Twigg, described as popular and extremely hard working, first met Dixon in the late 1990s when she was undergoing a divorce and they quickly moved in together.

Mr Aspden said “To the outside world David Twigg and Julie Dixon appeared to be a happy and contented couple who got on well.

“However the truth may not be so rosy and straight-forward.

“There is evidence that in recent times Julie Dixon had become dissatisfied with her relationship with David Twigg and had become somewhat depressed.

“She mentioned to close friends that she was thinking of leaving him and starting afresh.

“She had looked on the internet at websites that dealt with suicide. David Twigg does not seem to have realised how unhappy and dissatisfied his partner was becoming. The deterioration coincided with the onset of financial difficulties.”

Mr Aspden said that Dixon, who dealt with the paperwork for Mr Twigg’s bespoke joinery business, failed to pay invoices and the firm developed chronic cash flow problems.

“She managed to conceal the full extent of it from him. She was forced to tell a number of lies to prevent the truth coming out.”

Despite the financial difficulties the firm began sponsoring a motor-racing team with the couple flying out to the USA to watch the team in action.

Mr Aspden said: “David Twigg did not want to die that day. This was not a suicide pact. It was murder.

“It was only after she was arrested and realised the game was up that she abandoned the intruder story and came up for the first time with the story that she killed David Twigg in pursuance of a suicide pact.”

l Updates on the Newton hearing will appear on our website in coming days. Visit www.skegnessstandard.co.uk for all the latest news.