JAYDEN Parkinson’s mother wept openly yesterday after Ben Blakeley was found guilty of her daughter’s murder.
The 22-year-old killer walked out of the dock, slamming the door behind him as the jury convicted him in a case described as the first of its kind.
Blakeley strangled his ex-girlfriend and, in a decision described as unique by the police, buried her body in the grave of his uncle Alan Kennedy.
After 20 hours and 11 minutes of deliberations at Oxford Crown Court, the jury decided by a majority of 11-1 that he either intended to kill the 17-year-old or cause her really serious harm.
The decision arrived at just after 4.10pm, as Judge Patrick Eccles was preparing to send the jury home for a sixth time after they failed to reach a decision.
In a tense, packed courtroom the foreman read out the verdict and there were gasps and tears from Jayden’s family and friends in the public gallery.
The teenager’s mum Samantha Shrewsbury, 47, left the court weeping in the arms of a police family liaison officer while sobbing “my baby”.
Speaking after the hearing the senior investigating officer in the case, Det Supt Chris Ward, said he hoped the verdict would help bring closure to Jayden’s family. Her father Paul died of a suspected heart attack as the case was about to come to trial.
Det Supt Ward gave a short statement outside the court and said he was happy to see Blakeley convicted.
He said: “Jayden Parkinson’s life was taken from her and today somebody was found guilty of her murder.
“I welcome the verdict and that Ben Blakeley has been found guilty.
“Jayden’s family are extremely pleased. This is the start for them to get some closure.”
He said as far as police were aware it was the first case in which a body had been discovered after being buried in an existing grave.
Det Supt Ward added: “It’s extremely unique.”
And Det Ch Supt Andy Murray, head of force crime, said even police officers were stunned by the location of Jayden’s body.
He said: “I think everybody, including police officers, were shocked and surprised.
“As far as we are aware this is the only known instance of police discovering a body in such circumstances in an existing grave.”
During the five-week trial the jury heard evidence about Ben Blakeley’s controlling, abusive and violent relationship with Jayden.
Staff at the One Foot Forward hostel, in Iffley Road, Oxford, said the day before Blakeley killed her, Jayden told him she was pregnant with his child.
On December 3 last year the pair went to a footbridge in open countryside near Upton, where the murder took place.
The jury, after five days of deliberating, has not yet returned a verdict on the charge against his brother Jake, 17, of preventing Jayden’s unlawful burial.
Judge Eccles told it to return today to continue considering the case.
He also said Ben Blakeley would be sentenced this morning.
More Jayden Parkinson coverage:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
8:40am Wednesday 22nd October 2014
AN Oxfordshire beauty queen is setting her sights on becoming this year’s Miss Great Britain.
10:00pm Tuesday 21st October 2014
CUTTESLOWE has gained a new outdoor gym thanks to almost £39,000 of grant funding.
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.