Justin Burnett and Claire Lunn killed Piotr Lacheta, who was found dead in the town’s Cowgate Cemetery on the morning of Tuesday 1 October 2019.

Burnett, 38, and Lunn, 48, pictured below, were arrested on the same day and, following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court, were both convicted of murder on Monday 22 February 2021.

Both offenders were given life sentences at the same court on Thursday 25 February and were each ordered to serve a minimum term of 19 years.


Mr Lacheta was living in a tent in Cowgate Cemetery at the time of the offence and was in a relationship with Lunn.

Shouting was heard on the night before he was found dead, with witnesses believing they recognised Burnett’s voice.

A witness later saw Burnett and Lunn together, with Burnett saying he had stamped ‘all over’ the victim.

A dog walker found Mr Lacheta’s body the following morning. He had suffered fatal injuries to his head, chest and neck before being dragged around sixty feet away from Lunn’s tent.

Brought to justice

Burnett and Lunn were found at the scene and arrested that morning. Both had blood on their clothing.

Both denied murder, but were charged and convicted after witness and forensic evidence proved their involvement. The motive for the attack remains unclear.

Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, senior investigating officer for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘This was a brutal murder of a vulnerable man by two people who were both well known to him.

‘These two offenders were quickly identified as suspects by officers who attended the scene and were arrested shortly after.

‘The level of injuries suffered by the victim showed it was a sustained assault and neither defendant has since taken responsibility for or explained their actions, which had such fatal consequences.

‘The length of the sentences imposed recognise the lack of contrition shown by either defendant and the seriousness of the offence, and I am pleased that these two offenders will not be free to harm anyone else for a considerable amount of time.’

By Ed

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