Mother condemns council for removing shrine to her murdered daughter after receiving a single complaint describing it as 'litter'
18:21 GMT, 29 November 2012
A mother condemned a callous council today which removed a shrine to her murdered daughter, because of one complaint describing it as ‘litter’.
Three people, including her boyfriend, were charged with murder after the body of 23-year-old Catherine Wells-Burr was found in her burned out car dumped in a layby.
But tributes left at the scene by family and friends were bagged-up by a council cleanup crew after one person complained that it frightened a horse.
Three people including her boyfriend have been charged with the murder of 23-year-old Catherine Wells-Burr, her body was found in her burned out car dumped in a layby
Her parents were forced to pick through rubbish to recover the mementos before they were binned.
Jayne Wells-Burr found three black bin bags full of cards, candles and photos loaded in the back of a van on the A358, in Ashill near Chard, Somerset.
She said: 'I felt sick having to go through the bin bags. We found some lovely bouquets which had only been placed there on Saturday by friends who had come down from London.
'I know some of the flowers had died, but just seeing them there showed us how much Catherine was loved by so many people. Every day there was something new there.'
“This was our special spot, but it has been tarnished by what has happened. I can’t believe the council could be so uncaring
The complainant is believed to have told South Somerset District Council the cellophane on flowers was frightening horses.
Tragic: A guard stands next to flowers laid at the police cordon of the scene where the body of Catherine Wells-Burr was found
Sealed off: A policeman guards a white tent erected by forensic officers at the site where Ms Wells-Burr's body was discovered
Police described the death as a 'tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life.'
South Somerset District Council claim they acted sympathetically and were only tidying up the makeshift shrine, after receiving a complaint from a resident.
A spokesman said: 'We responded to a complaint from a resident regarding a litter issue at the same site as a temporary memorial site for Catherine Wells-Burr.
'When our operatives attended the scene, they started to clear items away from the area which included dead flowers and their wrappings.
Killed: Business analyst Catherine Wells-Burr was the victim of a 'tragic and brutal' killing, police said
'That left a loose photo there together with plastic flowers and butterflies, candles and candle stick holders and some small toy animals.
'In the road itself, there was some greenery, flowers and candles in amongst the leaves and other detritus that was picked up, the candles being put on the verge. Our operatives put all the items together and fixed the photo so that it didn’t blow away.
'As the authority responsible for litter collection, we only responded to the call as a litter complaint and acted accordingly to remove only obvious litter from the area, leaving items which we believed to be part of the memorial.
'We fully understand the sensitivity of the situation but the council considers it acted in best faith & conducted things as sympathetically as possible.'
Catherine, known as Caf, lived in Chard, Somerset, had just achieved a first class degree in Business Management at Bath Spa University.
She went on to work as a business analyst at manufacturing firm Numatic International, best known for Henry vacuum cleaners.
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers and tributes were left at the scene where her red Ford Focus was found burning. Less than twenty bouquets remained yesterday.
Catherine’s body was discovered on September 12, 2012. Three people have now appeared in court charged with her murder.
Tadevsz Dmytryszyn, 38, appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with her murder.
Catherine’s former boyfriend, Polish national Rafal Nowak, 31, and fellow Pole Anna Lagwinowicz, 33, have already been charged.
The trio have yet to enter pleas and a provisional trial date was set for April 2013.
Charged: Rafal Nowak, left, has appeared before magistrates in Bristol charged with conspiring to murder his girlfriend Catherine Wells-Burr, right, who was found in a burning car in Somerset
Ms Wells-Burr and Mr Nowak are understood to have worked together at a company in Chard, Somerset
Happier times: Posing with Mr Nowak, who has been charged in connection with her murder