Friends of Julie Dixon, who lied about locking her partner of 15 years David Twigg in cupboard and burning him to death, say she choose a song about 'burning' for his funeral

Friends of Julie Dixon, who lied about locking her fiancé in a cupboard and burning him to death, say she choose a song about ‘burning’ for his funeral.

Julie, 50, murdered her partner of 15 years David Twigg, 46, in his workshop after she locked him in a cupboard and set the building alight in March 2011, in Burgh le Marsh near Skegness, Lincolnshire.

Now the case is the subject of a new Channel 4 documentary A Killer Makes a Call, which details how she blamed two masked intruders for the murder, but when police found no evidence of a raid they arrested her instead. 

In the true crime show, friends of the couple revealed how Julie was acting ‘weird’ at David’s wake, saying she was ‘very lively’ and ‘bubbly’ which made people feel uncomfortable. She also chose to play a song about ‘danger and burning’ at his funeral, despite the circumstances of his death. 

Former friend Lisa Mickel said: ‘Normally songs played at funerals would enhance memories of loving times and an emotional time but Red Light Spells Danger by Billy Ocean was a song choice which felt a little unusual. 

Friends of Julie Dixon, who lied about locking her partner of 15 years David Twigg in cupboard and burning him to death, say she choose a song about 'burning' for his funeral

Friends of Julie Dixon, who lied about locking her partner of 15 years David Twigg in cupboard and burning him to death, say she choose a song about ‘burning’ for his funeral

Jules Scotland, another friend of the couple, added: ‘It’s about burning and danger, and burning again, it constantly references burning and fire.’

The song, which spent ten weeks in the UK charts in 1977, contains the lyrics: ‘The red light spells danger, can’t hold out much longer ’cause red light means warning, can’t hold out. I’m burning.’

Julie was apparently acting ‘weird’ at the wake after the funeral which rang alarm bells with the friendship group and got them questioning her story. 

John Mickel said: ‘Not normally how people act when they bury their husband or boyfriend.’ 

Another said: ‘We all felt a bit awkward, I looked at my husband and said, “Do you want to go?”. It started becoming uncomfortable, so we left.

John added: ‘When we left the funeral and were driving home the five of us were analysing the situation, we were bouncing ideas. I think we got over half way and I can’t remember who said it but were were like ”Who did it? Who do you think has done it?”, and one by one all five of us said, ‘We think she did it”.

‘We had a silence for I think about 10 miles and we were thinking if we all think she did it, well the police must be thinking the same thing.’ 

Another friend of Julie, Muriel Gilling, said she ‘intuitively knew’ something was not right when she bumped into her widowed pal after David’s death.

She said: ‘I met Julie and her mother in Morrison’s and they both told me that there had been intruders and I said ”What did you do?” and she said ”I just ran, I just ran”, and I thought to myself, “That is not like you, if you were confronted by intruders you would stand your ground”. 

‘I didn’t say that to her, but I thought that, Intuitively I knew there was something not quite right.’ 

The couple were outwardly in a happy relationship, but Julie managed to conceal the chaotic financial state that had engulfed David's business

The couple were outwardly in a happy relationship, but Julie managed to conceal the chaotic financial state that had engulfed David’s business

However, Lisa claimed she noticed something was worrying Julie before the funeral, recounting a meeting she had with her at Croft race track after David’s death where she claimed her former friend got spooked by a police car. 

She said: ‘When we arrived at Croft there was a police car there, which was completely unrelated to us, but it obviously triggered Julie. She went into some kind of crazy frenzy. She started screaming and bashing things with her fists. 

‘I took her away from my family and I sat on the top of a hill with her, and I said ”What’s the matter, Julie?”, and she said, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”. I said, ”Why? What are you sorry for?”, but she just wouldn’t reply.’

Just weeks before, Julie had put on ‘a performance worthy of an Oscar during the 999 call where she hysterically spoke of masked intruders.

Fire crews found David kneeling in a ‘prayer-type position’ after they broke into his joinery business to try and save him. 

Julie ended up fooling the police for months, playing the victim of a horrendous attack by fictional intruders.

Lisa, recalled the moment she arrived at their home to speak to Julie on the day of the murder, saying: ‘When I walked in she was rocking back and forth. She had burns to her face which was quite striking when I walked in. She was wearing her brother’s clothes, presumably because forensics had taken her clothes.

‘I think she was on medication to try and calm her down, from what her family were saying, after being through this horrific ordeal. ‘

‘She told me her story but it just triggered even more questions. What were they doing there, what were they after, why did they try and rob you in balaclavas, what did they want?’ 

During the 999 call, Julie could be clearly heard telling the operator: ‘They set fire to the place.’

When asked about David, Julie replied: ‘He’s in the store room I think,’ adding, ‘I think they’ve locked him in.’

Julie was sentenced to 23 years behind bars after eventually pleading guilty to David's murder on the second day of her trial

Julie was sentenced to 23 years behind bars after eventually pleading guilty to David’s murder on the second day of her trial

Julie went on to describe the fictional intruders, telling the operator: ‘They were just dressed in black and had a hoodie on, like a mask.’

When firefighters arrived, they described Julie as ‘hysterical’, and a small tin of burning liquid was found in the workshop entrance.    

Two weeks before the murder, Lisa noticed Julie was acting different and appeared more on edge. Concerned about her, she asked if everything was alright at home.

Lisa said: ‘She told me some strange things had happened over a couple of weeks, things in the middle of the night setting the dogs off barking, people messing with their electricity so the power would go off and then on again and just odd strange things that she couldn’t give an explanation to.

‘I did what I could reassure her. It did sound a little bit strange and it did give me a feeling of discomfort.’ 

With no evidence to support her story of burglars, Julie eventually became the prime suspect herself and was arrested. 

Checks on her computer showed that in the days leading up to the murder she had been searching for ways to kill someone without leaving any evidence that could be revealed in a post-mortem examination.

Police also spotted her on CCTV buying two cans of petrol the day before the murder and placing them in her car. When questioned about them she said it was for the lawnmower.   

Officers discovered the business was in a bad state financially. It was in so much debt that, unbeknown to David, he was about to go bankrupt.

Julie hid from him that a warrant had been issued for his arrest for not paying his business taxes, and crimefighting charity Crimestoppers even offered a £3,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Julie was responsible for the practical side of the business they ran and was in charge of the accounts.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting officer, said she failed to pay invoices and the firm developed chronic cash flow problems. She hid mail so he did not know he had been declared bankrupt, owing £17,500 in taxes.

She later changed her story saying they had a suicide pact before switching again to claim his death was an assisted suicide.

John Mickell said: ‘There is no way David would ever consider suicide, we were planning stuff for the next year.’

Keith Hampsall, David’s best friend added: ‘They had just put 200 meters of fencing up on the Sunday, and they are both going to commit suicide? Ridiculous.’  

The judge presiding the case at Lincoln Crown Court said Julie’s ‘performance’ in the 999 call, to the emergency services at the scene and later at the hospital would be ‘worthy of the highest praise had she been an actress in a fictional drama and would have merited an Oscar’. 

The then 43-year-old was sentenced to 23 years behind bars after eventually pleading guilty on the second day of her trial.

As Judge Michael Heath addressed Julie directly, he told her: ‘David Twigg was an amiable, hard-working and honourable man. What you did to him was evil. There was a significant degree of planning and premeditation.

‘The pain that your prolonged and multiple lying has caused David Twigg’s parents can only be imagined.’

The court heard that the couple were outwardly in a happy relationship, but Julie managed to conceal the chaotic financial state that had engulfed David’s business.

Keith, David’s best friend said: ‘The way David died it will haunt me for the rest of my life, I was absolutely devastated, nobody deserves to die like that. He was my best friend. It still troubles me to this day, to my death it will continue to.’ 

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