A man has denied murdering a husband and wife who were found dead with fentanyl in their bodies.
Luke D’Wit, 34, of Churchfields, West Mersea, pleaded not guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to the murders of Stephen Baxter, 61, and Carol Baxter, 64, in April this year.
The married couple were directors of Cazsplash, a firm which makes shower mats and bathroom accessories.
Their bodies were discovered at their home on Mersea Island in Essex on 9 April.
The defendant also denied the theft of jewellery belonging to Mrs Baxter on or before 6 July.
D’Wit, who appeared in court via a video link from Chelmsford Prison on Monday, also denied a count of possessing a class A drug, fentanyl, on 16 July.
The defendant, who wore a short-sleeved shirt and remained seated throughout the hearing, spoke to confirm his identity, to confirm he could hear proceedings and to enter his not guilty pleas.
He also confirmed he understood the directions of Judge Christopher Morgan, who remanded him in custody until his trial, which is due to start on 12 February next year.
Essex Police said officers were called to the address in Victory Road on Mersea Island by the ambulance service, with the Baxters’ deaths initially treated as unexpected and not suspicious.
As a result of an investigation and toxicology analysis, two men and a woman were arrested on 6 July, the force said.
Police later confirmed a woman and a man have since been released on bail.
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At an inquest, which was opened and adjourned in Chelmsford earlier this year, Mrs Baxter’s provisional medical cause of death was given as “combined fentanyl and promethazine toxicity with terminal bronchopneumonia”.
Mr Baxter’s provisional medical cause of death was stated as “cardiomegaly and alcoholic liver disease with fentanyl intoxication”.