Pregnant Eystna Blunnie murder: Tony McLernon convicted
A man has been convicted of murdering his heavily pregnant ex-fiancee and causing the death of their unborn baby.
Tony McLernon "lured" 20-year-old Eystna Blunnie to her death in Harlow, Essex, on 27 June last year.
He forced her to the ground and kicked and stamped on her, leaving her for dead in the middle of the road, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
The jury found McLernon, 24, of North Grove, Harlow, guilty of murder and child destruction after two hours.
'Web of lies'
Miss Blunnie, a catering student and barmaid, was due to give birth to a girl days later.
She died in hospital and doctors were unable to save her baby.
McLernon who, according to police, had threatened previous partners with violence, had claimed two men were responsible for killing Ms Blunnie and he was unable to do anything to help her.
Speaking after the case, Det Ch Insp Lucy Robinson said the victim had made arrangements to meet McLernon as she was desperate for him to be involved in her baby's life.
But, when McLernon met her in the early hours, he beat her and left her for dead, Det Ch Insp Robinson said.
"McLernon sought to cover his tracks and concocted a web of lies to account for where he had been that evening and his knowledge of the murder," she added.
"Throughout the thorough police investigation he has not sought to explain his actions, nor has he admitted his guilt or shown any remorse.
'Dangerous, violent man'
"He has deprived a family of the special time with a new mother and baby, Eystna's parents of their grandchild and Eystna the chance to be a mother to the baby she was so looking forward to having.
"Tony McLernon is a dangerous, violent man.
"He has subjected numerous ex-girlfriends to constant fear of being assaulted, and Eystna paid the ultimate price during his final violent outburst.
"What he has taken away from the Blunnie family can never be replaced, but I hope he never has the opportunity to put another family through the pain they continue to suffer."
In a statement released after the verdict, Ms Blunnie's family said they had been shattered by her death and that of her unborn child, Rose.
"The worst part was to find out that their deaths were such a brutal murder," they said.