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Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Shallow grave killer found guilty

Ermatati Rodgers
The body of Ermatati Rodgers was found buried on farmland

A dairy worker has been found guilty of murdering a woman and burying her body in a shallow grave.

Lukasz Reszpondek, 28, originally from Poland, showed no reaction as the jury ruled he had killed Indonesian-born Ermatati Rodgers, 41, of Wrexham.

Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, sitting at Mold Crown Court, adjourned sentencing until Friday but said Reszpondek faces life.

After the jury's verdict by a 10 to one majority, police said the motive for the killing might never be known.

The body was undiscovered for 14 months and the judge praised the "very long, intensive and skilful" police inquiry.

The jury of six men and five women took seven hours and 17 minutes to convict the defendant at the end of the three-week trial.

After the verdict, the officer who led the inquiry branded Reszpondek determined and cold, and said he had done everything he could to protect himself.

"From day one, there was a determination and a coldness about him that it was clear he would do whatever it took to frustrate the police inquiry," said Det Ch Insp Wayne Jones.

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"All he was concerned about was self-preservation, not the recovery of Tati's body or the feelings of her family and friends."

The court heard how married father-of-two Reszpondek met divorcee Ms Rodgers - known as Tati - at a Dairy Crest plant in Wrexham.

He denied they had a sexual relationship and said she was helping him with his English as they worked on the production line.

But police found his DNA on her mattress and deleted "glamour photographs" of Ms Rodgers on his digital camera which included her in underwear and semi-naked poses.

After returning with his wife and two young children to Poland for Christmas 2007, Reszpondek drove 900 miles back to the UK while his family were to follow later by plane.

CCTV footage caught Lukasz Reszpondek buying a spade and a suitcase before burying the body

Once back in Wrexham, he and Mrs Rodgers met at his home in Rhostyllen, and "against a background of the emotional and conflicting demands of the eternal triangle of a wife and another woman", he lost his temper and strangled his lover, prosecutor Michael Chambers QC told the trial.

He then played computer games for a day and a half while her dead body remained at his house, before burying her in a field at Erddig near Wrexham.

Fourteen months after she was reported missing, he tried to dig her up again as police closed in on him.

Officers had become suspicious of Reszpondek and had placed him under surveillance.

They found he kept returning to the burial site and it emerged that he had saved the area in the favourites of his satnav and named it "TT", short for Tati - the name by which Mrs Rodgers was known to her friends.

When officers began digging up fields looking for the body, worried Reszpondek, who had been watching the police's movements, spent three hours digging with a spade, a fork, and his bare hands to try to recover the body. But it was too difficult.

So in March this year 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 claimed that in panic he buried Mrs Rodgers, who he described as very attractive.

But the jury rejected his story.

Following the verdict, Det Ch Insp Jones said: "I don't think we will ever know what the motive was.

"There are a number of possibilities why he killed her but I don't think it is right that we speculate on that at this time."

Reszpondek was remanded in custody ahead of his sentence on Friday when the judge will set the minimum term that he must serve before he becomes eligible for release on licence.



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