‘Relationship would have been like an addiction Jayden couldn’t give up’

Psychotherapist Colin Wels

Psychotherapist Colin Wels

First published in News

BY the age of 17, Jayden Parkinson had lived a more chaotic life than most teenagers.

Born in Ashford, Kent, in September 1996, she grew up near Folkestone, moved to Lancashire for a year, then when her parents split up, moved to Berinsfield with her mum Samantha Shrewsbury.

Then in 2005 she moved back to Lancashire with her siblings because her big sister Sharday was being bullied by children in the village.

A few years later she moved back to Didcot to live with her mum and her partner Dean Jones, joining Didcot Girls’ School in Year 10.

School counsellor Amy Widdowson said Jayden would frequently spend lunchtimes with her, just sat drawing pictures, rather than with other girls.

Jayden was just 16 when she started going out with the abusive, controlling Ben Blakeley, five years her senior.

Oxford psychotherapist Colin Wels said Blakeley’s draw for Jayden pointed to a lack of stability in her upbringing.

He said: “I would suggest her home life was pretty chaotic.”

After being with Blakeley for just less than a year, Jayden moved out of home to the One Foot Forward hostel in Iffley Road, Oxford.

She told youth workers at the hostel she had lost all her friends because of her relationship with Blakeley.

Mr Wels said: “A lot of my clients are in abusive relationships, desperately wanting to leave, and they’ll say to me ‘that’s it, I have had enough’, then next week they’ll go back.

“It operates like an addiction, all you can do is help them through.”

Mr Wels said there was no one thing anyone could do to help a friend get out of an abusive relationship.

He said: “Sometimes, it’s best just to listen, help someone understand for themselves.”

Jayden’s mum, Samantha, is now launching a charity for victims of domestic abuse called Jayden’s Gift.

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