Polish cheese-cutter murdered woman.

Posted: November 11, 2009 in Law & Disorder

Polish cheese-cutter found guilty of murdering Ermatati Rodgers of Wrexham now faces a mandatory life sentence.

IlieCCTV footage shows Lukasz Reszpondek buying the tools that he would use to cover up the grisly crime. Lukasz Reszpondek showed no emotion as the majority verdict was announced in Mold Crown Court yesterday.

The 11-strong jury took seven hours and 17 minutes to convict the defendant by a majority of ten to one at the end of the three week trial.

After the verdict, the officer who led the inquiry branded Reszpondek as determined and cold, and said he had done everything he could to protect himself. The court heard how he strangled her and buried her – but 14 months later tried to dig her up again as police closed in on him. Reszpondek spent three hours digging with a spade, a fork, and his bare hands but he could not recover the body.

So, in the early hours one day in March he went to police to tell them where the body was – and claimed she had simply dropped dead of natural causes at his home. He buried the woman in panic, he claimed. But the jury rejected his story and found that he had murdered her and then disposed of the body in a bid to get away with the crime.

The court heard how 41-year-old Mrs Rodgers, known as Tati, who lived in Gwersyllt, was missing for 14 months before her body was eventually found by police at a beauty spot at Erddig in March.

Police had set up covert cameras in the countryside and watched the defendant visit the shallow grave. He claimed he went there to pray. But after a long operation the police changed tactics to try and spook the defendant to lead them to the body – and it worked.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Chambers, QC, said that quite simply innocent people did not bury bodies.

He then set about disposing of the body and might well have got away with it if he had not made certain fundamental errors, the prosecutor claimed. Using his credit card, which police were able to trace, he bought a spade, a large suitcase and other items used to help him bury the body.

Secondly, he buried her body in clay which had the effect of preserving the body.

Thirdly, Mr Chambers said, the defendant had recorded the approximate area of the burial site at Erddig in the memory of his car satellite navigation system in the list of his favourite locations and named it “Tt”, an abbreviation of her name.

He kept returning to that area in his car but the police did not know precisely where the body was buried.

On Thursday, March 19, this year after months of surveillance, the police made a big show of digging in the fields around that area, looking for the body of Ermatati Rodgers, with a lot of Press publicity.

“The defendant made the error of taking the bait,” Mr Chambers said. “The defendant watched the police looking for the body from the top of a nearby slag heap, hiding in bushes, wearing camouflage clothing and using binoculars. “What he did not know was that the police were watching him, watching them,” he said.

By Sunday afternoon, March 22, the police digging was getting perilously close to the actual field which contained the body.

Mr Chambers told the jury. “The defendant must have thought that on the Monday morning they were likely to move into the actual field and find the body. “So, on that Sunday night, he tried to move it. “However it was more difficult that he anticipated and after about three hours he had to stop. It was only at that stage that he went to Wrexham police station.
“He told them where they could find the body.”

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers conducted a post mortem examination and he said that there was no sign of any natural decease which could have explained her sudden death. But he did find bruising and fractured thyroid cartilage horns consistent with strangulation.

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