Tuesday 24 April 2018

Man lured ex-fiancee to her death saying 'I've got a surprise for you'

Eystna Blunnie
Eystna Blunnie

Ben Kendall

A MAN lured his heavily pregnant ex-fiancee to her death saying "I've got a surprise for you" before brutally killing her and their unborn baby, a court has heard.

Tony McLernon convinced Eystna Blunnie to meet him in a street in Harlow, Essex, in England telling her in a text message "Got a surprise for you, hope you like it", Chelmsford Crown Court heard.


But when the heavily pregnant 20-year-old met him in the early hours of June 27 last year, unemployed McLernon, fuelled by alcohol and cannabis, forced her to the ground where he repeatedly kicked and stamped on her, prosecutor Andrew Jackson said.


"It was an act of brutal, sustained and wholly unprovoked violence," Mr Jackson added.


"He knew he was not only killing her but their unborn child as well."


Residents living near the scene of the alleged attack in the town's Howard Way, minutes from Ms Blunnie's home, heard her "horrific" screams and the impact of the blows.


Ms Blunnie, who was due to give birth within days, was later found with severe head and facial injuries and died in hospital.


After the alleged killings, McLernon hid in nearby woodlands and sent a text message to his father saying "I'm scared".


He later spoke to his father on the phone and told him "I think I've killed Eystna", the court heard.


McLernon, 24, from North Grove, Harlow, denies murdering Ms Blunnie and a charge of child destruction by wilfully causing the death of an unborn child.


A series of text messages, sent by McLernon to friends and family, were read to the court.


In one, sent on June 23, he wrote: "I f****** swear bro, I'm going to knife Eystna soon, she's proper ruining my relationship."


In other messages sent to his cousin, he claimed that Ms Blunnie had been contacting his new partner.


"I'm sure I'm going prison Monday, my ex is proper trying to ruin my relationship with my new girl," he added.


Earlier he had sent a message to Ms Blunnie telling her she "would not last or make it through her pregnancy".


The couple had been together since April 2011 and got engaged three months later.


In October, Ms Blunnie told McLernon she was pregnant with his child but they broke up the following year after Ms Blunnie, a catering student and barmaid, made complaints to police that he had been abusing her.


Mr Jackson told jurors: "It was a relationship marked by controlling, bullying and violent behaviour on the part of this defendant towards Eystna.


"Within a month of the relationship beginning, family members saw Eystna with bruising to her arm and within that bruising they saw the outline of knuckles."


On one occasion, police were called to find Ms Blunnie with visible bruising.


She told officers the couple had argued all night with McLernon saying: "The child is not mine.


"I could do better than you."


Late on the night of June 26, McLernon and Ms Blunnie had exchanged text messages.


She had initially been reluctant to meet him but he convinced her with "self-pitying messages designed to gain sympathy from Eystna a make her go to him", Mr Jackson said.


McLernon had a history of abusive relationships, the court heard.


One woman reported him grabbing her by the throat in bed and attacking her in front of passers-by in a park.


Another called police after he painted the words "whore and bitch" on walls near her home then threatened her on her doorstep.


The case is expected to last up to four weeks.

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