Charity collection held in honour of Jayden Parkinson at Didcot Fayre

Among those collecting donations were, from left,  Ally Jo Doe, 12, Layla Smith, 17, Beth Ray, 17, and Abbie Ray, nine

Among those collecting donations were, from left, Ally Jo Doe, 12, Layla Smith, 17, Beth Ray, 17, and Abbie Ray, nine Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

FRIENDS of Jayden Parkinson held their first charity fundraiser at the weekend, as her family await a jury’s verdict on her killer.

Friends of the Didcot 17-year-old – found dead in a graveyard in December – collected more than £330 for a domestic violence charity in her honour.

Jayden’s Gift will raise money and awareness of victims of domestic violence.

Ben Blakeley, 22, has admitted manslaughter but denied murder of his ex-girlfriend at Oxford Crown Court.

During the trial, he admitted being violent, obsessive and controlling towards previous girlfriends and putting his hands around their throats.

The jury retired on Wednesday and will resume its deliberations today.

Beth Ray and Layla Smith, who went to Didcot Girls’ School with Jayden, held a raffle and collected donations at the town’s Edmonds Park on Saturday.

The 17-year-olds – who also collected donations around the town – want to raise money and awareness for domestic violence victims.

Miss Ray said: “We wanted to set up the charity to prevent young girls from being in the same situation as Jayden was in.

“Instead of all the bad press about what has happened to her we want to get something good out of it as well.

“She was a really bubbly, outgoing person who always cared about everyone.

“All of Jayden’s family and more of her friends have been involved and they have been very supportive.”

Oxford Mail:

Jayden Parkinson

Miss Smith said: “It is disgusting what happened to Jayden but we are trying to get something positive out of it.

“We are planning to do other events and we want to look into doing a skydive to raise money.”

Didcot’s Gary Sellman, 46, who took part in the raffle, said: “I have followed it in the news and it is absolutely tragic and horrific for a young girl like that to lose her life.

“What they are doing here is very good.”

East Hagbourne’s Anne Bottley, 48, said: “It is excellent what they are doing from something so tragic.”

Jayden left One Foot Forward hostel in Iffley Road, Oxford on December 3 and was last seen on CCTV leaving Didcot Parkway station later that day. After a week-long police search her body was found in a grave in the grounds of Didcot’s All Saints Church.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, said Jayden died after he put his hands around throat during an argument on December 3.

He told jurors she then fell off the wooden footbridge they were standing on between Didcot and Upton and into a ditch.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road in Reading, admitted perverting the course of justice by hiding her body.

His younger brother Jake, 17, of Venners Water, Didcot, admitted perverting the course of justice by hiding her body but denies preventing a lawful burial.

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