Saturday 24 February 2018

Man murdered teenage ex-girlfriend after finding out she was pregnant with his child, court hears

Ben Blakeley, 22, accused of being obsessive and controlling and regularly beat Jayden, court hears

Jayden Parkinson. Her ex-boyfriend murdered her after finding out she was pregnant with his child, a court heard today. Photo: Thames Valley Police/PA Wire
Jayden Parkinson. Her ex-boyfriend murdered her after finding out she was pregnant with his child, a court heard today. Photo: Thames Valley Police/PA Wire

A man murdered his teenage ex-girlfriend after finding out she was pregnant with his child, a court heard today.

Ben Blakeley, 22, killed 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson in countryside south of Didcot, Oxfordshire, on December 3 last year, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Blakeley was accused of being obsessive and controlling and regularly beat Jayden.

Her body was found in an established grave at All Saints' churchyard in Didcot, Oxfordshire, on December 18 last year, after she was last seen alive on December 3.

Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, told the jury of five men and seven women that Jayden had been living at the One Foot Forward hostel in Oxford when she disappeared.

She was captured on CCTV leaving the hostel - where she had been a resident for four weeks - at 3.31pm on December 3.

Mr Latham said that at 4.06pm Jayden was caught on CCTV at Oxford railway station with Blakeley.

At 4.27pm a security camera recorded the last known sighting of Jayden as she arrived at Didcot railway station with her ex-boyfriend.

Shortly after midnight, staff at One Foot Forward reported Jayden missing after she failed to return to the hostel.

Mr Latham said: "The prosecution case is that Jayden was killed by Ben Blakeley that same evening in open countryside south of Didcot - there is no dispute between prosecution and defence.

"We cannot be precise about location for this simple reason - unlike most killings the body was moved from where the offence occurred.

"There is only one person alive who knows the truth and we would invite you to be very sceptical about what he says or has said."

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, Berkshire, has denied murdering the teenager but has admitted killing her and disposing of her body.

But the prosecution refused to accept his plea and he has now gone on trial alongside a 17-year-old boy.

The youth, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty this morning to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. But he denied a charge of preventing a lawful burial between December 2 and December 10 last year.

Mr Latham said it was not disputed that Jayden died at the hands of Blakeley on December 3 - as he admits her manslaughter - but was denying her murder.

"Ben Blakeley and Jayden had been in a relationship for some time before her death," Mr Latham said.

"On any view it was difficult. We allege he was controlling, to an obsessive and excessive degree.

"He was violent and abusive to her and controlling and hitting her.

"The relationship seems to have come to an end around November 23 last year - so very shortly before her death."

Mr Latham told jurors that Jayden found the ending of the relationship difficult.

"She found it difficult to let go and hours before her death she left the hostel to meet him - it was the last time she was seen alive," the prosecutor said.

The jury heard that Blakeley had made 13 videos of Jayden and taken 30 pictures of her naked and she told staff at the hostel that he was threatening to put them on Facebook.

"Jayden was reporting real difficulties with violence and problems with the videos he had taken of her while they were having sex, of videos he had taken of her in sexual poses," Mr Latham said.

"He was threatening to put those images on Facebook.

"She also reported that she had been taken to a field by Blakeley in a car and they had slept there.

"He had taken her shoes and coat and suggested she was a slave for talking to other people.

He was so controlling that he told her what to eat."

Mr Latham said various witnesses would describe seeing or hearing incidents of how Blakeley treated his girlfriend.

A neighbour of Blakeley in Reading recalled seeing Jayden with a black eye, describing her as a "quiet girl" who would not say "boo to a goose".

"Another witness describes seeing bruising to her neck," Mr Latham said.

Jayden also told someone at the hostel that Blakeley had kicked her in the head.

Mr Latham said that when Jayden first moved to the hostel she would remain in her room.

"Jayden explained to a member of staff that she had a boyfriend and she was not coming out of her room because he had told her not to," he said.

"She was not even to come out of her room for food and was eating crisps and biscuits.

"She was not allowed to speak to anyone and as a result she had lost all her friends.

"She was not allowed to shower and had to go to Blakeley's grandmother's house in Didcot. She was not allowed to use the toilet and had to use a bottle."

Mr Latham added: "He told her that he knew other people that lived at the hostel and they would report any transgressions to him."

The court also heard that Blakeley told Jayden he had strangled a previous girlfriend and he had also thrown away the teenager's keys and mobile phone.

Mr Latham said: "He made her feel it was her fault that he needed to hit her.

"You may think this is a classic sign of a bullying and abusive relationship - somehow making the victim feel it is their fault."

After splitting up with Blakeley, Jayden reported to police the allegations about the videos on November 27.

She told police that Blakeley had asked if they could get back together but she refused because she had "had enough of his possessive, controlling and abusive behaviour".

She told officers: "He became angry and calling me a whore and he then said the videos and photographs would end up on BlackBerry Messenger and Facebook.

"He told me that 'When you see them I hope you kill yourself by jumping off a bridge'.

"I am terrified he will send them everywhere, which will ruin my life, and I want them deleted."

The court was told that staff had heard Jayden was not using contraception and asked her to take a pregnancy test on December 2, which proved positive.

The teenager indicated that the father of the unborn child was Blakeley.

As he had confiscated her mobile phone, Jayden asked to use the phone in the hotel's office in front of staff to ring Blakeley, a call which lasted 45 minutes.

"He was angry and abusive and saying it was someone else's and not him that was the father," Mr Latham said.

"It seems on an earlier occasion she had told him that she had slept with someone else."

The jury heard that the next day - the day of Jayden's death - she took another pregnancy test which also proved positive and again rang Blakeley.

Mr Latham said Jayden told hostel staff that she wanted to meet up with her ex to "persuade" him that he was the father even though they questioned the "advisability" of doing so.

Jayden left One Foot Forward at 3.31pm and met Blakeley at Oxford railway station before they travelled together to Didcot.

The teenager was last seen alive arriving at Didcot at 4.27pm.

Staff at the hostel reported Jayden missing shortly after midnight on December 4 when she failed to return.

Coincidentally, later that day, police, who were investigating Jayden's complaint about the video and photographs, arrested Blakeley on suspicion of possessing incident images.

Mr Latham said: "He killed her on December 3 but here he is on December 4 talking about her as if she was still alive.

Blakeley denied possessing indecent images of Jayden, telling police: "I am saying it is more than f****** lies... I want to see them."

Mr Latham said: "He was becoming aggressive in this interview."

The police officers asked Blakeley whether he had had much contact with Jayden since they split up.

"I try to have least contact with her as possible because she does drama like this," Blakeley told police.

Asked why Jayden would have made up the allegations, Blakeley replied: "Because I must have broken up with her or something... I don't know."

Jurors were also told that a taxi driver had positively identified picking up Blakeley with a large suitcase on December 9.

Mr Latham said he would be "inviting the jury to infer" that by then Blakeley's co-accused - who cannot be named - knew he had killed Jayden "and was being asked to help move the body".

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