A violent and controlling man has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years for murdering his 17-year-old pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Ben Blakeley killed former Colne Primet High School pupil Jayden Parkinson in the countryside on December 3rd – 24 hours after she told him she was expecting his child.
After strangling the teenager, Blakeley buried her body in his uncle’s grave at a cemetery in Didcot, Oxfordshire.
The former binman was obsessive and controlling and threatened to post intimate videos and photographs of Jayden on Facebook after their break up, hoping she would kill herself as a result.
A jury at Oxford Crown Court found Blakeley guilty of Jayden’s murder following a five-week trial by a majority decision of 11-1 after more than 20 hours of deliberations.
Blakeley (22), of Reading, Berkshire, had denied murdering Jayden but admitted her manslaughter.
Judge Patrick Eccles QC said Blakeley had spun a “web of lies” to cover up what he had done.
He said: “It required a heart of stone to keep up that pretence and a heart of stone to deal with her body in the way that you did.”
His brother Jake Blakeley (17) admitted a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by helping to dig the grave in which Jayden was later buried.
The jury of six men and six women was dismissed on Friday having failed to reach a verdict on whether Jake Blakeley, of Didcot, prevented a lawful burial for Jayden.
The judge said: “On December 3rd you took Jayden Parkinson, a complicated but loving and vulnerable 17-year-old girl, into open countryside in the dark of an early winter’s evening and murdered her by strangulation.”
The judge said that “unreasonably jealous” Blakeley’s treatment of Jayden had involved “physical and emotional abuse” during their relationship.
“You dominated and controlled her daily life,” the judge said.
“You removed her phone so she couldn’t contact others and when she was at the hostel you demanded that she stayed in her room, even to the extent of forbidding her from using the toilet, forcing her to urinate in a plastic bottle.
“Jayden was infatuated with you, her violent abuser, and found it difficult to separate emotionally from you.”
The judge said Jayden finally plucked up the courage to end the relationship in November, with Blakeley threatening to pose intimate photographs online to “humiliate” her.
“Unfortunately she discovered that she was pregnant and you were the father,” the judge said.
“Being a decent young woman she wished to inform you of that fact.”
The judge said the pregnancy was the only reason Jayden met Blakeley on December 3rd.
“At the time you were in my judgement consumed with anger having found out that Jayden had been intimate with another young man after she had broken off her relationship with you,” he said.
The judge said Blakeley murdered Jayden without thinking of the possibility she could be carrying his unborn child.
The judge told Blakeley: “You first concealed her body in a ditch. It is clear that you later decided to move her body.
“In the early hours of the morning of December 9th, you returned to the ditch and dug up Jayden Parkinson’s body.
“You then crammed the mortal remains of poor Jayden into a suitcase.
“You then persuaded an unwitting taxi driver to transfer her body to All Saints’ Church in Didcot.
“You had dug a grave for Jayden over the interred body of your Uncle Alan.
“To your twisted mind, you might have thought a graveyard was a better place for Jayden to be buried than a ditch in a field, but there was no respect or remorse in this hasty interment.”
The judge said Jayden’s father had died shortly before the trial and must have been “haunted” by what Blakeley had done.
He said Blakeley had caused upset to the priest, congregation and family members of those buried in the graveyard by the “sacrilege done there”.
The judge also jailed Blakeley for eight years for attempting to pervert the course of justice, to run concurrently with his murder sentence.
Members of Jayden’s family shouted “See you in hell” as Blakeley was led to the cells.
Speaking outside court, Jayden’s mother Samantha Shrewsbury said: “Finally justice has been done for our Jayden.”
She thanked Thames Valley police officers and prosecution witnesses during the five-week trial, in particular Blakeley’s ex-girlfriends, who showed “immense courage in attending court to speak of his sick and twisted mind”.
“From the day that Jayden’s life was so cruelly taken, the kindness shown to us by the people of Didcot has been immeasurable,” she said.
“Over the months we have also found strength in the messages of support from strangers around the country and indeed worldwide.
“We will never be able to find an ounce of forgiveness for the evil that murdered Jayden and then concealed her body in such a cold, calculated and callous manner.
“For us as a family, today is not the final chapter in this tragedy. But now we can at least begin the challenge of coming to terms with the heartbreak which we all feel, and the rebuilding of our lives.
“Despite today’s sentencing of Ben Blakeley, our nightmare will never end.
“We can never erase from our minds the pain that was inflicted on Jayden, nor can we erase the image of Jayden’s battered and bruised body. We will never be able to celebrate birthdays, Easter or Christmas with Jayden, and we will never get to see Jayden grow up, get married and have children - this is our life sentence, it’s now time for Ben Blakeley to start his.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Ward, of Thames Valley Police, said Blakeley had treated the case with “complete contempt”.
“He has lied and acted to deceive police and that culminated in him burying her body in the most wicked way,” he said.
The detective said the case was unusual in two ways, firstly as the force charged Blakeley with murder before Jayden’s body had been discovered.
“He buried her in a pre-existing grave and we are satisfied that that hasn’t happened in the UK before,” he added.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation examining the way Thames Valley Police handled Jayden’s disappearance is under way.
The results are expected to be published next year.