JAYDEN MURDER TRIAL: Teenager tells court he was afraid of defendant

Ben Blakeley

Ben Blakeley

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

A TEENAGER who helped bury the body of Jayden Parkinson said even after he was arrested for murder he did not realise what he had done.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admits unknowingly aiding Ben Blakeley in hiding his ex girlfriend’s body in a ditch near Upton and a Didcot cemetery.

Giving evidence in Oxford Crown Court yesterday he said when in early December last year he was “just a stupid kid” who should have asked more questions.

Cross examined by prosecutor Richard Latham QC the teenager said he didn’t ask the 22-year-old Blakeley what they were doing because he was afraid of him.

He said: “I never asked questions of Ben, because it would have just ended up bad for me. That’s just how it was with him and me.”

Mr Latham asked him about his arrest on suspicion of murder when police officers told him Blakeley was also a suspect.

The barrister said: “When (a police officer) told you everyone was looking for Jayden, given what you knew about where (Blakeley) had been and what he had been doing, did you not put two and two together?” The defendant said: “No I didn’t.”

Mr Lathan asked why he didn’t question Blakeley’s explanation of needing to bury a dog and a cat in an existing grave in a cemetery next to All Saint’s Church overnight on December 8.

He told the witness: “What I’m suggesting is you didn't need to ask because you knew exactly what was going on.”

With tears in his eyes the teenager replied: “I didn’t know what was going on, I wouldn’t have allowed it to happen.”

At this point members of Jayden’s family became emotional and left the court room.

The defendant was also questioned about December 5, when it is alleged he helped bury Jayden for the first time in a ditch near Upton.

Mr Latham said: “You thought (Blakeley) had got rid of some weapons in the bottom of a ditch. Did you say to him, why did we spend two hours digging a hole to bury a hammer and a knife?’’ The defendant said: “No I didn’t and looking back I wish I had. Back then I was just a stupid kid. I was dumb, I wasn’t the smartest kid at the time.’’ Later he added: “I never asked questions when I should have.”

The teenager admits perverting the course of justice but denies preventing a lawful burial. Blakeley admits manslaughter and perverting the course of justice but denies murder.

The trial continues.

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