Scott Dawson and Carol Dawson were both found guilty of the murder of Gary Dean last Friday, and on Monday were handed life sentences of 31 and 26 years respectively.
Temporary detective chief inspector Mark Oughton said it was not often that police shared with the public the significant lengths they went to to catch killers - but he wanted to highlight the work of investigators in getting justice for Mr Dean’s family.
TDCI Oughton explained how evidence in Mr Dean’s home - doors unlocked and bread rolls left out in the kitchen, signifying he was unable to eat his breakfast - allowed police to establish a time during which the murder occurred.
Unanswered phone calls from Mr Dean’s wife Caroline further narrowed down the time frame, as did Caroline seeing a Volkswagen Tiguan - later confirmed as Carol Dawson’s - on her route to work, indicating her husband was killed shortly after she left the house.
“Very quickly, we were able to identify Scott Dawson as a possible suspect,” added TDCI Oughton.
“The tension between the Deans and the Dawsons was well-known in the local community and was a key piece of information in the early stages of our investigation.”
In 2017, malicious anonymous letters containing allegations about Mr Dean were posted to his home and Caroline’s place of work.
“After Mr Dean’s murder, a forensic expert was called in to examine the handwriting in the letters in minute detail,” said TDCI Oughton.
“This expert confirmed that the handwriting in those letters unequivocally belonged to Carol Dawson.
“This shows that she played an integral role in the developing neighbour dispute, and demonstrated that the Dawsons were prepared to go to considerable lengths to discredit Mr and Mrs Dean.”
Police also seized handwritten notes exchanged between the Dawsons, which discussed the murder of Mr Dean and the interviews the two had undergone.
TDCI Oughton said: “Several notes in particular are illuminating.
“They appear to be an attempt by the Dawsons to account for DNA evidence that may have been on Mr Dean’s body.
“The notes said things like ‘IF MY DNA IS FOUND ON HIM THIS PROOFS HE WAS STILL TAKING CLOTHS FROM BARN’ and ‘I DON’T CARE IF HIS DNA IS ALL OVER LANDROVER AND VW AS HE WAS GOING IN VEHICLES WEN WE WAS AT TOP BARNS’.”