Oxford

Jayden Parkinson murder: Ben Blakeley jailed for life

Jayden Parkinson Image copyright Police/family
Image caption Ben Blakeley had been violent towards three other girlfriends before Jayden

The violent ex-boyfriend of teenager Jayden Parkinson has been sentenced to life for her murder.

Ben Blakeley strangled the 17-year-old, who was pregnant with his child, and buried her in his uncle's grave in Didcot, Oxfordshire, last December.

In a statement, Jayden's family said they had their own life sentence and that their "nightmare" would never end.

Blakeley, from Reading, denied murder but admitted killing Jayden and was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years.

'See you in hell'

Jayden's family said in a statement: "We will never be able to find an ounce of forgiveness for the evil that murdered Jayden and then concealed her body in such a cold, calculated and callous manner.

"For us as a family, today is not the final chapter in this tragedy.

"We will never be able to celebrate birthdays, Easter or Christmas with Jayden, and we will never get to see Jayden grow up, get married and have children - this is our life sentence, it's now time for Ben Blakeley to start his."

They praised his three former girlfriends who gave evidence during the trial and said he had a "sick and twisted mind".

As Blakeley was sentenced, "see you in hell" was shouted from the public gallery.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Ben Blakeley insisted that he did not intend to kill Jayden but was convicted of murder

Blakeley showed no emotion as Judge Patrick Eccles QC passed the sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.

The judge said Blakeley had spun a "web of lies" to cover up the fact he had strangled her in a "jealous rage" after finding out Jayden had been intimate with another man.

He added: "It required a heart of stone to keep up that pretence and a heart of stone to deal with her body in the way that you did."

During the trial, jurors heard Blakeley and Jayden had their last argument on a footbridge at a disused railway that runs from Didcot to Upton.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, described grabbing Jayden around the throat with both hands a "million" times before and said he thought she was "joking" when she fell to the ground.

The court were told he prepared one shallow grave in the countryside close to where he strangled her.

A second was dug in the grave of his uncle, Alan Kennedy, at All Saints' churchyard in Didcot.

'Violent and dangerous'

Judge Eccles told Blakeley: "In your twisted mind you may possibly have thought that a graveyard was a better place for Jayden to be buried than a ditch in a field.

"There was no hint of respect of remorse in this hasty interment and I am convinced that your primary purpose was to prevent anyone else from ever knowing what had happened to Jayden Parkinson."

The jury heard how Blakeley had a history of violence towards previous partners, pushing an ex-girlfriend down the stairs when she was seven months pregnant because he believed the child was not his.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Ben Blakeley's brother Jake will be sentenced on 22 August for perverting the course of justice

Blakeley was also given eight years to be served concurrently for perverting the course of justice, a charge he admitted.

Speaking after the sentence, Det Ch Supt Chris Ward called Blakeley a "violent and dangerous liar" and said: "Ben mistreated Jayden, controlled her and often beat her, which eventually resulted in her murder last year.

"Blakeley has never shown any remorse, nor has he cooperated with the police investigation.

"Instead, Ben chose to lie and has put Jayden's family and friends through a harrowing trial, where they have been forced to listen to the details of his abuse of Jayden and other former girlfriends."

The jury was discharged earlier on Friday after failing to reach a verdict over Blakeley's brother Jake, who was accused of preventing the lawful burial of Jayden.

The 17-year-old, of Venners Water, Didcot, denied the charge, but admitted perverting the course of justice. He will be sentenced on 22 August.

Thames Valley Police has refused to answer questions about how it handled reports about Ben Blakeley until the conclusion of an Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry into its response to Jayden's disappearance.

The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) and representatives from the Oxford City and South Oxfordshire and Vale Community Safety Partnerships are combining a domestic homicide review and a serious case review into Jayden's death.

Both reviews automatically happen in cases where a child dies or has been seriously harmed in circumstances where abuse or neglect is known or suspected and is required by law. The findings are due in 2015.

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