Final steps in a life cut tragically short

Jayden Parkinson leaves the One Foot Forward hostel to meet Ben Blakeley at Oxford train station

Jayden Parkinson leaves the One Foot Forward hostel to meet Ben Blakeley at Oxford train station

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

WHEN Ben Blakeley left his cousin Faith Kennedy’s house in Reading where he was staying on the morning of December 3, he locked her and her boyfriend in. He claimed it was an accident.

Jayden left the One Foot Forward hostel on Iffley Road at 3.27pm and met Blakeley at Oxford train station at 4.06pm.

Oxford Mail:

Jayden and Blakeley meet at Oxford train station

They caught a train to Didcot Parkway, then took a taxi to Park Road at the edge of town.

It was winter so it was already dark and cold as Blakeley led Jayden out onto the fields.

He told the court they walked up onto the ridge, which used to carry the Didcot to Upton railway, and followed a footpath across one footbridge, then walked through a field to the second.

Oxford Mail:

The route taken by Jayden and Blakeley to the field

The day before, Jayden had called Blakeley to arrange to meet up and told friends it was so she could try to persuade him she was pregnant with his child. But Blakeley said she also told him she had seen another man since dumping him two weeks before.

He told the court they started kissing but then he turned on her, insisting she tell him who she had been with since they broke up.

He told his trial when he put his hands around her neck: “When I grabbed her it was no different from when I grabbed any other girl.

“I said ‘tell me’ twice, and it seemed like she fell backwards.”

After his attempt to resuscitate her failed, he said he hid her body under nearby branches.

Records show he then made a series of phone calls to his older brother Chris, after which first his mother Velvet then his younger brother Jake called him.

Throughout the trial, Blakeley said he could not remember what he spoke to any of his family about that night.

Whatever it was, Jake ended up bringing his brother a complete change of clothes, meeting him at Mowbray Road near the fields. The teenager said his brother was crying when they first met, but tried to hide it.

Blakeley changed all of his clothes while sitting on a bench by the road.

Oxford Mail:

Blakeley catches a train from Didcot after having met Jayden

He then caught a train from Didcot back to Reading where he was captured on CCTV at about 10.45pm carrying what looks like a bag under his arm.

Oxford Mail:

Blakeley pictured at Reading Station

Wednesday, December 4 Jayden was reported missing by staff at One Foot Forward just after midnight.

That morning Blakeley was arrested by police responding to a report from Jayden that he had indecent images of her on his phone and was threatening to put them on Facebook.

Blakeley told police to produce the pictures, which they could not. He was released on bail.

Thursday, December 5 Blakeley told Jake to meet him again at those fields near Didcot. This time he wanted to bury Jayden’s body in a ditch.

Oxford Mail:

The field where Jayden was killed

He told the court he “couldn’t handle” the thought of her being out in the open.

He said: “I didn’t want her to be there when I got back, but obviously she was. She was cold.”

The brothers met near the old railway line.

Ben Blakeley told the court he removed her clothes and all jewellery and took them away with him in a bag, but buried her with a wooden cross in her hand.

Sunday, December 8 Ben Blakeley told the court that at some point after burying Jayden in the ditch, he decided she should be buried somewhere “proper” – a grave. Once again he called his brother.

He caught a train from Reading to Didcot in the evening and took a taxi to meet his brother in Abbott Road.

Oxford Mail:

Blakeley returns to Didcot intending to move Jayden's body 

The brothers went to All Saints’ Church. Blakeley marked out an area 1.67m long over Alan Kennedy’s grave, Jayden’s exact height. Fearing that a nearby streetlight would give them away, Blakeley ordered his brother to shimmy up and smash it, threatening to stab him in the foot if he failed.

The teenager said he couldn’t get to the top of the post, so they shook it from the ground until it went out.

At about 10pm, after they had dug most of the hole, the brothers said they sat at the front of the church and had a cigarette.

Blakeley then went to his grandmother’s house in Great Western Drive, found a large suitcase and emptied its contents onto the floor.

At about 10.11pm, witnesses saw Ben Blakeley dragging the suitcase along Great Western Drive to the railway station, from where he caught a taxi to East Hagbourne.

The older defendant said he spent more than an hour digging up Jayden’s body in the dark with the pitchfork, then stuffing it into the suitcase. He called for a taxi to pick him up from fields just outside Upton at 1.45am and take him to Lydalls Road.

The taxi driver told the court he was not happy about having to drive down a mud track into the fields in the middle of the night to pick Blakeley up.

Blakeley told the driver his girlfriend had thrown him out and the suitcase contained all his possessions.

At Lydalls Road the driver helped him haul the suitcase out of the boot.

Jayden was then buried in the grave.

At 5.29am the brothers went to Didcot Parkway station, where CCTV cameras caught them shopping at Spar, then Blakeley leaving the station, and finally arriving at Reading just before 6am.

Oxford Mail:

Blakeley is captured on CCTV  in a Spar shop


Oxford Mail:

Blakeley leaves the station

Oxford Mail:

Blakeley arrives at Reading station having buried Jayden's body in his uncle's grave

Wednesday, December 11 Blakeley was arrested on suspicion of Jayden’s kidnap.

Thursday, December 12 He was arrested on suspicion of murder and charged three days later.

Friday, December 13 Jake Blakeley was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Monday, December 16 Jake was charged with assisting an offender.

Both brothers appeared separately at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

Oxford Mail:

Ben Blakeley at Oxford Magistrates’ Court

Tuesday, December 17 That night police focused their search on a grave at All Saints’ Church, Didcot (picture 12).

Saturday, January 25 About 200 friends and family gathered for a service at All Saints’ Church to give thanks for Jayden’s life (picture 13).

Monday, March 17 Ben Blakeley appeared at the crown court and admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

Jake pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Friday, June 20 The trial began.

Monday, June 23 Jake Blakeley pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and denies preventing a lawful burial.

Wednesday, July 9 As part of the trial the jury spent the morning retracing Jayden’s last walk on December 3.

Reporter Pete Hughes joined the walk (picture 14) to try to understand what happened that fateful night and the following days.

Oxford Mail:

Reporter Pete Hughes walks alongside the jury to retrace Jayden's last steps

Watch the CCTV videos at

More Jayden Parkinson coverage:

Jayden trial: Jake Blakeley tells jury his killer brother was evil

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

8:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

A TEENAGER accused of helping his brother bury the body of Jayden Parkinson wept in the dock as he was told to look at photos of the two graves.

Jayden trial: Jake Blakeley, brother of Jayden's killer, takes the stand in his trial for preventing a lawful burial

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson

2:05pm Friday 23rd January 2015

JAKE Blakeley, brother of murderer Ben Blakeley, has taken to the stand for the first time in his trial.

Jayden trial: Jake Blakeley asked woman to wash brother's muddy clothes, court hears

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

5:00pm Thursday 22nd January 2015

A WOMAN has described how the man accused of knowingly helping to bury Jayden Parkinson's body asked her to wash muddy clothes.

Jayden trial: Jury told Jake Blakeley was afraid of his older brother and did whatever he told him

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

5:48pm Wednesday 21st January 2015

A TEENAGER accused of knowingly helping to bury the body of Jayden Parkinson was afraid of his murderer brother and did whatever he told him, a jury was told.

Jurors retrace steps of Jayden Parkinson's killer in Jake Blakeley's trial for preventing a lawful burial

Oxford Mail:

4:41pm Tuesday 20th January 2015

JURORS retraced the steps of a murderer yesterday when they visited two sites where it is alleged Jake Blakeley knowingly helped his brother bury the body of Jayden Parkinson.

Brother of Jayden Parkinson killer "knew full well" he was helping bury her body, court hears

7:00am Tuesday 20th January 2015

THE teenage brother of the man who murdered Jayden Parkinson "knew full well" he was helping bury her body in their uncle's grave, a jury has been told.

Trust ‘sorry’ after patient’s eye op misery lasts a year

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

A HOSPITAL boss has apologised after an “administrative error” meant an OAP went almost a year without an eye operation.

Brookes' beauty aims to be crowned Miss Great Britain

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Wednesday 22nd October 2014

AN Oxfordshire beauty queen is setting her sights on becoming this year’s Miss Great Britain.

Residents invited to step up to new outdoor gym in Cutteslowe Park

Oxford Mail:

10:00pm Tuesday 21st October 2014

CUTTESLOWE has gained a new outdoor gym thanks to almost £39,000 of grant funding.

Jayden's mum holds fundraiser to mark murdered teen's 18th birthday

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 25th September 2014

Jayden Parkinson's mother speaks about how she is still trying to put her life back together after the teenager's murder.

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