Killer’s cousin ‘could hear teenager being throttled’

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson Jayden Parkinson

BEN Blakeley’s cousin said she heard him throttling Jayden Parkinson when the couple stayed with her before the 17-year-old was killed.

Blakeley, 22, admits manslaughter but denies murdering Jayden on December 3 last year.

Yesterday a jury in Oxford Crown Court heard evidence from Blakeley’s 21-year-old cousin Faith Kennedy about events last year, when she lived in Christchurch Road, Reading.

Questioned by prosecutor Richard Latham QC, she said Jayden’s relationship with Blakeley made her unhappy.

Mr Latham asked: “Did you see how Ben treated Jayden?”

She replied: “I was in the bedroom and I would hear noises, as if he had his hands round her neck.

“She would walk in afterwards crying and she would have red marks where he had strangled her.

“One time he was in the bathroom with her and he would throw her about and hit her head on the shower. I could hear it in the other room.”

Mr Latham asked: “Was Jayden a happy or unhappy girl during this period?”

Miss Kennedy said: “When Ben wasn’t around she was happy. Though she was crying a lot.”

Also giving evidence yesterday was forensic archaeologist Dr Karl Harrison. He told the court he was asked by the police to go to the cemetery next to All Saint’s Church, Didcot, on December 18.

He said that as he examined the grave of Ben Blakeley’s uncle, Alan Kennedy, he began to reveal the missing 17-year-old’s body buried at a depth of 38cm.

After removing all the recently-disturbed earth from the grave, Dr Harrison said, the hole was found to be 1.67m long and 0.65m deep.

He was asked by Mr Latham how long it would have taken one person to remove the earth, which had a volume of half a cubic metre.

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Dr Harrison replied: “It would take a significant investment of time. Anyone who has dug a hole in their back garden knows how long it takes.

“It was by no means easy digging.

“It would have taken a matter of hours rather than minutes.”

Blakeley has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, along with a 17-year-old, who cannot be named and who allegedly helped him bury his victim’s body but denies preventing a lawful burial.

As the discovery of Jayden’s body was described in court, the younger defendant left the dock in a distressed state. His barrister said he felt “unwell”.

The trial continues.

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