East Lancs teen Jayden Parkinson's boyfriend was violent and abusive, court told

Jayden Parkinson, from Pendle

Jayden Parkinson, from Pendle

First published in East Lancashire

A MAN on trial for allegedly murdering his teenage ex-girlfriend after finding out she was pregnant with his child was also violent, abusive and controlling to other partners, a court heard today.

Ben Blakeley, 22, is alleged to have pushed a former girlfriend - who was seven months' pregnant at the time - down a flight of stairs and threatened to stab her in the stomach to kill their baby.

He is also said to have threatened to kill one girlfriend and repeatedly tried to strangle another during rages.

Blakeley is on trial at Oxford Crown Court accused of the murder of 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson, from Pendle, and then burying her body in his uncle's grave.

Prosecutors have accused Blakeley of being obsessive and controlling of Jayden and after they split he had threatened to post intimate naked videos and photographs of her on Facebook - hoping that she would kill herself as a result.

Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "His relationship with her was characterised by highly controlling behaviour and violence.

"The relationships with other women will answer the question of whether he used minimal violence towards her that happened to kill her or she died as a result of an attack upon her in which at very least he intended to cause her really serious harm.

"He is a man, the prosecution say, who seriously injures women."

Mr Latham said that in 2007 Blakeley started a relationship with 16-year-old Kirsty Penford, who soon fell pregnant with his child.

"Her pregnancy made him upset and he accused her of being unfaithful. She was desperate for the relationship to work," he said.

"The relationship was characterised by outbreaks of rage. He would only allow her to wear make-up when she had bruises to her face that he had given her.

"He would regularly threaten to kill her."

Mr Latham said Blakeley also - like Jayden - confiscated Miss Penford's phone.

He added: "When she was seven months' pregnant he threw her down the stairs and he threatened to stab her in the stomach to kill the baby.

"The day after the birth he marched into the ward and he began to wheel the cot away. He completely lost control and the police had to be called.

"She was so frightened of Blakeley upon leaving the hospital she moved away from Oxford. Although she is in a new and happy relationship, to this day she is frightened of him."

By 2009 Blakeley was in a new relationship with Katie Gale and the court heard that things began to deteriorate in 2010 and by the following year there was violence.

"He started hitting her, he bruised her face and significantly, he tried to strangle her," Mr Latham said.

"In total he did this on seven or eight occasions and did this with enough force to leave marks on her neck."

Blakeley was also accused of confiscating Miss Gale's phone and one on occasion she required treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

"She didn't want to make a formal complaint because she was so frightened of what he would do if he found out she had reported him," Mr Latham said.

By October 2011 Blakeley had started seeing Sarah Rees - and while with her he began the relationship with Jayden, Mr Latham said.

He said the girl's mother, Christine, was concerned about the relationship with her daughter, although she herself did not witness any violence.

"He made her feel that it was her fault that he resorted to violence," Mr Latham said.

"Does that strike a chime with you?

"The violence resulted in bruises to her jaw and reddening to the neck. He punched her in the ribs.

"In summary she describes a very controlling and intimidating relationship, denying her contact with the outside world - even destroying the sim card of her phone."

Mr Latham said that Miss Rees's mother would describe to the court what happened when she asked Blakeley to leave her home.

She could hear what sounded like a rolled-up newspaper hitting something and when she went into the room her daughter's glasses were on the floor.

Later, Blakeley grabbed a knife from the kitchen and only left the house when Mrs Rees called the police.

Oxford Crown Court has heard Jayden was last seen alive with Blakeley on the afternoon of December 3 last year in Didcot, Oxfordshire having met up to discuss her pregnancy.

When she had broken the news to Blakeley 24 hours' previously in a telephone call he became angry, denying he was the father, prosecutors allege.

On December 19 her body was recovered from the grave of Blakeley's uncle, Alan Kennedy, at All Saints' churchyard in Didcot.

In the graveyard Blakeley and his co-accused, a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, buried Jayden's body in the grave of Mr Kennedy, who died in 2006.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, Berkshire, has denied murdering Jayden but has admitted her manslaughter and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

But the prosecution refused to accept his plea and he has now gone on trial alongside the boy.

The youth has also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice but denies a charge of preventing a lawful burial.

A post-mortem examination found that Jayden died as a result of pressure to the neck. There was also evidence of "relatively widespread" areas of bruising to her face and scalp which was indicative of being caused by a fist or foot.

The court heard evidence from the first witness in the trial, One Foot Forward support worker Hannah Ryan, who said she first met Jayden on the night of November 18 last year when she knocked on the teenager's bedroom door.

"She just looked quite timid and a bit wary of me and a bit quiet," she said.

"She said her boyfriend was not allowing her to come out of her room and not to mix with anyone else at all.

"She had been staring at four walls. She said he was not ever allowed out to get food and I asked what she did about food and she said she had a stash of crisps and biscuits in her room.

"I was concerned about that because it was not healthy, so I asked her if she wanted to come to the kitchen to get some food but she said she wasn't hungry."

Miss Ryan said that Jayden told her that Blakeley had forbidden her from using the shower.

"She said he had asked her to hold her wee until he was there and at that point he had been staying away for three days and it was painful to hold."

Miss Ryan said that Jayden told her she had discovered Blakeley was seeing another girl.

She got the girl's number from Blakeley's phone and rang her.

"She called Sarah and said there were other girls and said that Sarah knew about those and sort of accepted it," Miss Ryan said.

"She said that Ben find out immediately that she had telephoned Sarah and he came straight round and got physical, strangling her, telling her she mustn't ever do anything like hat again.

"She told me that Ben was the cause of her losing all her friends and they had just one by one fallen out with her because of Ben."

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