Stepbrothers broke Andrew Scanlan's neck for 'giving mum cancer', chopped him up and buried him in two holes
Mark and James Baigent were inspired by American series 'CSI' and thought they could easily pull out a ‘perfect crime’
A spine-chilling murder took place in 2006 in England that shook the people to the core. Two brothers killed their older half-brother before dismembering his body.
Reelz’s recent episode of 'CopyCat Killers' has documented the brutal murder of Andrew Scanlan, who was handcuffed, beaten, and strangled before his body was chopped by his step-brothers James and Mark Baigent, with the help of a close friend Jeff Woods.
The Baigent brothers killed Andrew, 35, of Eastfield, Peterborough because they thought he was the reason behind their mother’s death. Their mother, Linda, died in October 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer. The brothers had claimed that their 55-year-old mother was diagnosed with cancer because Andrew gave police a statement that helped convict Mark of an attempted armed robbery in 1998 for which he was sentenced for four-and-a-half years.
Linda was the common link between the three brothers, but once she died, that connection and the protection for Andrew disappeared. “When a parent dies, it’s so easy for one sibling to blame another one in order to get easy answers,” said Dr J Buzz Von Ornsteiner, a forensic psychologist, in the show. After their mother’s death, Mark even went to Andrew’s home and warned him to stay away from the funeral.
James and his younger brother spent weeks planning the murder to take revenge for their mother’s death. According to the show, the two brothers were obsessed with the American drama series ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and thought they have seen enough episodes of the show to cover their tracks. “They had ulterior motives in life. They were only interested in shows where people are getting hurt, killed. They thought they can commit the perfect crime and easily get away with it,” said Jamila Bey, crime journalist, in the ‘CopyCat Killers’ episode. The brothers then involved Woods who instantly agreed without any hesitation. “Like-minded people find each other,” said Ornsteiner.
A few weeks after Linda’s death, the plan to kill Andrew was rolled into action. James and Mark went to Andrew’s house on November 17, 2006. They convinced him to come with them as they needed his help in Linda’s will. After picking up their half-brother, the Baigents picked up Woods and they drove towards the forest to carry out the killing after midnight. The trio first handcuffed their victim and took him into the woods. They started beating Andrew with rod, but he didn't die. Mark broke his neck while James stabbed him multiple times to kill him. The brothers and Woods then chopped off Andrew’s body parts.
The trio also dug two pits in two different locations. While they threw Andrew’s head and hands in one pit, they buried the rest of the body in the second hole. To make their crime ‘perfect’, they also sent a text message to Andrew’s girlfriend saying he had got some work opportunity, so he would return in a few days. They cleaned their car thoroughly to remove the victim’s hair and cloth fibers. James’ wife Charolette also helped them in clearing the evidence.
However, it didn't prove to be a perfect crime. Charlotte’s birthday came a few days after Andrew’s murder and one of her friends threw her a party.
Charlotte got so wasted at the party that she got involved in a fight and warned them that her husband could kill anybody. When the friend asked the meaning of it, Charolette dished out how James and Mark had killed Andrew.
Meanwhile, Andrew’s girlfriend had also lodged a missing complaint since she suspected foul play in his disappearance, and she was sure that the message she had received from his boyfriend’s phone had not been sent by him. Police started their investigation and questioned a lot of people including Andrew’s girlfriend and the Baigent brothers, who initially played innocent.
However, police were not satisfied with the brothers’ statements and checked their phone records which showed the same location where Andrew’s phone was last located. They also tracked the call records and found that the brothers called multiple numbers days before the murder but all the numbers belonged to Woods.
Framing went wrong
Police immediately called Woods for interrogation and he tried to frame the Baigent brothers for the killing. Investigation found there was yet another twist in the tale. Charolette and Woods were involved in an illegitimate affair and Woods thought that if he could frame James and Mark in the murder, he would be able to be with Charolette. But nothing went as planned.
All four were arrested for the murder. The Baigents and Woods were given life sentences while Charolette was sentenced for two years. James was eligible for parole only after completing 24 years in jail, while Mark would get parole after 22 years of sentencing. Jeff’s parole was set after 20 years of jail term.