A former detective has revealed how a single text message helped police to catch the killers who bludgeoned a millionaire to death for £2,000.
The gruesome details will come to light tonight in Kym Marsh’s crime series Murder Next Door.
Builders Dawid Rymar, Slawomir Bugajewski and Ireneusz Mydlarz were hired by millionaire William John Saunderson-Smith to renovate one of his properties in west London.
A few months after finishing the job they crept into the 58-year-old’s attic bedroom and bludgeoned him to death as he slept, before making off with £2,000 in cash.
However, what they didn’t know at the time was, the killers missed the £250,000 in cash hidden in the attic of the property, as well as £100,000 secreted in another house owned by Mr Saunderson-Smith.
Shortly after the crime took place, all three suspects fled the country.
Rymar, 24, and Bugajewski, 39, spent the money they had stolen on a trip to Paris, while 37-year-old Mydlarz, flew directly back to his homeland in Poland.
Detective Chief Inspector Howard Groves, who was heavily involved in the case, told Metro.co.uk that it was a single text message from Mr Saunderson-Smith to Rymar that helped lead police to the murderers.
‘There was a text message that we found while going through the data that was significant to us,’ he told us.
‘It was significant and would have been one of the first two or three bits of evidence that would have pointed us in the direction of our suspect and suspects.
‘Once we had identified one, the links to identify the others would have been much easier. It basically told us that the suspect and the victim were known to each other.’
DCI Groves went on to explain that police also found a fingerprint on the outside of a window at Mr Saunderson-Smith’s house which he believed belonged to the same suspect.
He went on to add that if the suspects were working at the victim’s house months before his death, then they would expect to find their fingerprints.
However, as the investigation continued, they realised the fingermark was recent, meaning the suspects had been back to the house without the millionaire’s consent.
‘It was a pretty big bit of evidence to have because we could show from the crime scene that it was a recent mark,’ he continued.
‘It was more than likely where somebody had entered the property and therefore we would say that that mark was put there on the night when at least one of the suspects entered the property.’
Police were also able to link the suspects to the crime after they discovered the victim’s DNA in one of their vehicles.
It took detectives nearly a year to bring them to justice after all three suspects fled the country after the murder.
DCI Groves believes that their decision to leave the country was as a result of what happened on that night and was not premeditated.
‘Another significant piece of evidence was that within four hours after the attack, we could prove they were at Victoria Coach Station,’ he added.
‘There was nothing to suggest that they had made plans to leave the country before the attack.
‘They went there, they killed him and thought “Oh my god, s**t has hit the fan, now we’re off”.
‘So, we were able to prove that they had made no preparation for that.’
Speaking about how police finally tracked them down and convinced them to come back to the UK, DCI Groves concluded: ‘We knew they had their phones on them, so we decided to ring them personally.
‘We said “Hello, this is the Metropolitan Police, we believe you are a possible suspect in the murder of William John Saunderson-Smith. This is not an interview but we would like you to come back so we can question you on this matter”.’
Within a matter of weeks, one of the suspects came back to the UK on their own accord.
Another one was eventually caught and arrested at the airport on his way back to the UK and the final suspect came into the police station with his solicitor.
In 2012 all three suspects were found guilty and were jailed for life.
The four-part series Murder at my Door with Kym Marsh premieres on CRIME+INVESTIGATION with the first episode airing tonight.
Episodes will be available for 30 days on catch up and on-demand services.
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