Woman arrested over Somerset burning car graduate murder

 

A woman has been arrested in connection with the murder of a university graduate whose body was found in a burning car.

Catherine Wells-Burr, 23, was discovered in her red Ford Focus, which was abandoned in a field by the side of a road near Ilminster, Somerset.

A 32-year-old woman was arrested last night on suspicion of murder and currently remains in police custody.

Two men also arrested have been eliminated from the inquiry, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp said: "A post-mortem will begin today to try and identify how Catherine died.

"We still need information from members of the public and those people who knew Catherine or knew of her.

"It is imperative we get a full picture of her life and you may have information that could help."

Firefighters were alerted to the blazing five-door vehicle shortly before 6.30am on Wednesday off the A358 in Ashill.

Fire crews extinguished the flames and discovered the body of the Bath Spa University graduate inside the wreckage.

Avon and Somerset detectives have earlier confirmed they are treating her "tragic and brutal" death as suspicious.

On August 25 Miss Wells-Burr updated the cover photo on her Facebook profile with a picture of a woman covering her face with a book.

Accompanying the picture was the cryptic message: "You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one."

Detective chief inspector Simon Crisp, who is leading the investigation, said yesterday: "This is a tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life.

"We are working to establish what happened in the early hours of yesterday morning that led to this car being set ablaze.

"I am making a double appeal today. Firstly for those people that may have witnessed Catherine and her red Ford Focus arriving at the scene which is alongside the A358 near Ilminster.

"Did anybody see that car arrive? Did anybody see suspicious people arrive or leave the scene at about 6am to 6.30am on a busy road? We need you to call us.

"The second part of the appeal is to help us understand Catherine's private and social life.

"Did she know her killer is the question that we're asking ourselves. Did she arrange to meet somebody at the location where she met her death? These are the things we are seriously considering.

"Please don't leave it to others to tell us, call us immediately.

"The post-mortem examination is yet to take place so I am unable to confirm whether she died in the fire or beforehand.

"I believe we are still searching for the offenders. At this moment there is not a specific person we are looking for.

"There are many lines of inquiry that we are examining; one of those is that this may not have been a random attack and that Catherine knew her killers or killer.

"I can assure you we will find those responsible and bring them to justice."

Tributes were paid to Miss Wells-Burr, who lived in the town of Chard with her family and achieved a first-class degree in business management.

Maurice Hicks, head teacher of Holyrood Academy in Chard where she was a former pupil, spoke of his shock at the news.

"Everyone at Holyrood Academy is deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news about Catherine," he said.

"She is warmly remembered as a very friendly young person, gregarious and with a great sense of humour.

"Catherine always had a smile and a positive outlook. She was very popular with the other students and had lots of friends.

"Our sincere condolences go to her family and friends at this difficult time."

Friends also took to social networking sites to pay tribute to Miss Wells-Burr.

Polly Derbyshire left a message on the Facebook page R.I.P Catherine Wells-Burr (official).

She said: "R.I.P Catherine. I'll remember you as bright, beautiful, funny and hardworking. My deepest Sympathy to all of her family."

Joss George added: "Although I hardly knew you, I remember you when you were a little girl playing in the garden next door to us. You were such a lovely little girl, singing and dancing. Such a happy child. Life can be so cruel. You will be missed very much."

Timmy Jay, using the name Timmybadger, tweeted: "Really shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Catherine Wells-Burr. Caf was a beautiful, sweet person."

Miss Wells-Burr worked as a business analyst for Chard-based Numatic International Ltd, which is best known for manufacturing Henry vacuum cleaners.

The firm was directing all inquiries to Avon and Somerset Police.

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments