Jayden Parkinson murder trial: Ben Blakeley 'spoke of grave burial'

  • 26 June 2014
  • From the section Oxford
Jayden Parkinson Image copyright Police/family
Image caption Jayden Parkinson was found dead on 18 December last year

The man accused of murdering Jayden Parkinson and burying her in his uncle's grave said nine years ago that was how he would "get rid of a body", a court has heard.

Jurors heard Ben Blakeley made the comment when he was 13 years old and living at a children's home.

He is accused of murdering his pregnant ex Jayden, 17, and burying her in a Didcot graveyard last December.

Mr Blakeley, 22, from Reading, admits manslaughter but denies murder.

Annabelle Stoodley, who was a care worker at Thornbury House in Kidlington, told Oxford Crown Court he was there because of problems at home.

Ms Stoodley said she overheard a conversation between Mr Blakeley and another resident.

'No-one would look'

"Ben said if he ever had to get rid of a body, he would put it in a family member's grave," she said.

"I challenged what he was saying and asked why.

"He explained it was because no-one would look in a grave, because it would be very difficult to tell body from body - things would get muddled up like DNA.

"The DNA evidence would be mixed up."

The court heard that when she saw TV news reports about Jayden Parkinson she instantly recognised Ben Blakeley's name.

When police found Jayden's body at All Saints Church in Didcot, Ms Stoodley phoned Thames Valley Police and told them about the conversation, jurors heard.

'Scared for myself'

The court also heard from Kirsty Penford, who told jurors she had been dating Ben Blakeley for three or four months when she discovered she was pregnant.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked: "What was his response?" [to the news of the pregnancy]. "That it wasn't his baby and that I had been cheating on him," she replied.

She told the jury: "I felt quite upset, obviously very hurt, very scared for myself."

She told the court about a string of violent incidents, including one when he had accused Ms Penford of lying about where she had been while they were standing at the top of some stairs.

"I told him I was going to fall, he said 'I know' - and I fell down the stairs - I was seven months pregnant.

"I was very bruised, but I wasn't worried about me, I was worried about my daughter.

"I opened the door and ran," she said.

'Vulgar comments'

The jury also heard from Jayden's sister, Shardy George, who said that the last time she saw the teenager alive she had tried to persuade her not to go back to Mr Blakeley.

Ms George told the court that he would "often make vulgar comments about intimate parts of [Jayden's] body" and she recalled her sister telling her about times he was violent towards her.

At the end of her evidence, a note was passed from Mr Blakeley in the dock and read out to the court.

In it he apologised to Jayden's family for everything that had happened.

Ms George interrupted the reading of the note by shouting "no" towards the dock and several members of Jayden's family became upset and left the courtroom.

A 17-year-old boy from Didcot, who cannot be named, is also on trial.

He has admitted perverting the course of justice but denies preventing the lawful burial of Jayden.

Her body was found on 18 December in a disturbed grave at the cemetery two weeks after she was reported missing.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died from pressure to the neck.

The trial continues.

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