DEAD MODEL WHO CAGED HITMEN KILLERS.

Byline: CHARLOTTE WARDTHIS is the stunning model whose evidence from beyond the grave
helped convict two hitmen for the coldblooded execution of a Midland
private detective. Paul Ras and Loren Sundkvist were jailed for life on
Friday after being found guilty of murdering Barry Trigwell on the
orders of his 'Black Widow' wife Anne.

Mrs Trigwell was jailed for life in 1996 after glamour model Linda
Smith told police she overheard her gangster husband, Alex Mitri,
discussing the contract killing with her and the two hitmen.

South African Linda, 29, a former Penthouse Pet and Miss
Johannesburg, was due to give evidence in the new court case but died in
a mysterious car crash in Durban in 1999.

But her evidence -recorded in a witness statement -still helped to
convict the two hitmen.

In the previous trial, she had told Birmingham Crown Court that her
husband - a South African gangland boss - had been paid pounds 15,000 to
arrange the hit.

He is still wanted for questioning over the murder by British
police.

Following Trigwell's court case, Miss Smith revealed she
feared that there was an underworld contract on her.

'I know there are people who want to kill me,' she said.
'I have to watch my back all the time. I live on my nerves and out
of a suitcase.'

After her mysterious death, Capt Rolene Van der Merwe of Interpol
in Pretoria said: 'It is weird that she has died at this stage.

'We have re-opened the files and are liaising with Durbanpolice to find out exactly what happened.'Barry Trigwell, 44, was found bludgeoned to death at his home in
Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, in February 1995.

His South African wife was 6,000 miles away in Johannesburg at the
time - but it quickly became clear that she had masterminded the
killing.

After her conviction West Midlands Police continued with the case
against Ras and Sundkvist, eventually convincing the South African
government to extradite the men.

Following a five-week trial, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court took
almost 16 hours to convict Ras, 41, and 48 year-old Sundkvist.

Jailing the hired assassins, Mr Justice Pitchers told the men:
'You were prepared to come to this country for modest reward and
kill a man who had done little harm to anyone else and absolutely none
to you.'

The judge added that many things would stick in the mind of those
involved with the trial, including the victim's reported last
words: 'Oh God, why me?' Family members in the public gallery,
including Mr Trigwell's sister and daughter, wept as the majority
10-2 verdicts were returned.

Sundkvist stood motionless, clutching a Bible, while Ras buried his
face in his hands.

A pair of shoes, a cigarette lighter and a tuft of bloodstained hair found in a hire car had led detectives to the men.

Anne Trigwell, who was having an affair in South Africa, had stood
to gain hundreds of thousands of pounds from her husband's death in
insurance claims.

After the case Det Supt Matt Sawers said the verdicts marked the
end of one of the longest criminal investigations ever carried out by
West Midlands Police.

Mr Sawers said Mr Trigwell had helped solve the case by passing a
phone number to his sister.

The private detective became suspicious in the final days before
his death after receiving phone calls from a South African man who
wanted to meet him.

Mr Trigwell had used the 1471 facility on his phone to retrieve a
number which he passed to his sister, saying: 'If anything ever
happens to me, give this number to the investigators.'

It turned out to be the number for a hotel in Sutton Coldfield
where Ras and Sundkvist, who were promised pounds 10,000 each for
completing the crime, had stayed around the time of the murder.

Mr Sawers said Alex Mitri was still wanted for questioning.

'There is a key player that remains beyond the reach of
British justice,' he added. 'It remains difficult for us to
reach him. It is a matter that will have to be kept under review.'

CAPTION(S):

TRAGIC BEAUTY ... Model Linda Smith's evidence was used to
convict Paul Ras and Loren Sundkvist; JAILED... Paul Ras; MURDER...
Loren Sundkvist; EXECUTION... Barry Trigwell with http://cashcarrental.co.za/ - credit car rental pretoria - Black Widow' wife
Anne

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