Accused 'controlling and jealous'

Hillingdon Times: Jayden Parkinson was last seen alive on December 3 last year in Didcot, Oxfordshire Jayden Parkinson was last seen alive on December 3 last year in Didcot, Oxfordshire

The former lover of a man accused of murdering the mother of his unborn child told a court how he had repeatedly tried to strangle her.

Katie Gale, 21, said Ben Blakeley, 22, admitted to her that he was "possessive, controlling and jealous".

Miss Gale said Blakeley had tried to strangle her around 10 times during their relationship and even thought she was going to die when he threatened to "cut her up in the bath".

The former binman is on trial at Oxford Crown Court accused of murdering 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson and burying her body in his uncle's grave a day after finding out she was pregnant.

Prosecutors have accused Blakeley of being obsessive and controlling of Jayden and after they split he had threatened to post intimate naked videos and photographs of her on Facebook - hoping that she would kill herself as a result.

Jayden was last seen alive with Blakeley on the afternoon of December 3 last year in Didcot, Oxfordshire, having met up to discuss her pregnancy.

When she had broken the news to Blakeley 24 hours' previously in a telephone call he became angry, denying he was the father, prosecutors allege.

Miss Gale told the court she and Blakeley had got together in 2009 and they were together until they split in October 2012 because he had stolen from her again.

She described the start of the relationship as "fine" but said it started to deteriorate and turn violent following a party in early 2010 when he accused her of flirting with another boy.

She said he kicked everyone out of the party, which was being held at his home, and the next day she went to see him.

"He was drinking a bottle of Stella," she told jurors.

"He spat it at my face.

"He called me a slag and he threatened to kick me out naked."

Later in the relationship Blakeley began to strangle Miss Gale, the court was told.

"He started to strangle me," she said.

"Punched me, kicked me in the head, bit my face.

"To teach me... he would cling onto my cheeks to leave marks.

"He punched me in the head and kicked me in the back and ribs, everywhere."

Asked why Blakeley did this, Miss Gale replied: "Because I did something wrong.

"On one occasion I walked home a different route and got there later and he accused me of cheating and hit me.

"(It was) to teach me a lesson."

Miss Gale said Blakeley would hit her if he either saw her talking to other boys or heard that she had.

She described the relationship as at "breaking point" by the time of her 19th birthday in 2012 after he stole items from her home.

Miss Gale described to jurors the most serious assault when Blakeley had attacked her in August 2012.

She had gone to his home in Didcot because he had taken her mobile phone and bank card and knowing her pin number had withdrawn £100.

He had let her in and started punching and kicking Miss Gale to her head and back - and then tried strangling her.

"He said he would cut me up in the bath," she told the court.

"I thought he was actually going to kill me.

"He then strangled me with two hands around the front of my neck.

"He squeezed so hard that the blood vessels in my face came to the surface.

"I felt like I was fainting.

"(I thought) that I would stop breathing... to die.

"He told me to get naked.

"He told me to go to the bedroom.

"He said we were going to bed."

She added: "He acted like it didn't happen."

Miss Gale said that the following morning she left Blakeley's flat and walked home wearing only a dressing gown.

She later went to hospital after feeling sick and reported the assault to the police but did not wish to make a formal complaint.

Asked why she did that, she replied: "Because I didn't want to get him into trouble.

"Because I loved him.

"He would get arrested and he would hurt me."

Miss Gale told the court that if anyone asked her what the marks on her neck were she would lie and say they were love bites.

She also discovered that Blakeley had cheated on her with another girl called Sarah Rees and when she found out she sent a photograph to Blakeley of her and Miss Rees together with the caption "busted".

The court also heard that Blakeley claimed to have stabbed to death one of Miss Gale's cats which had disappeared.

Miss Gale said she did not know whether this was true or not but Blakeley said it after the pet had vanished.

She also said that while visiting Blakeley at his flat in Reading she saw he had a samurai sword, a large knife with a curved blade and spikes, a hammer and screwdriver.

She also learned that Blakeley was cheating on her with Sarah Rees but stayed with him because she "loved him".

Miss Gale said that over the course of a year he would hit her "probably every other week".

Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked Miss Gale: "I ask you this question, not because I am being critical, but why did you put up with it?"

She replied: "Because I loved him."

Jayden's body was recovered from the grave of Blakeley's uncle, Alan Kennedy, at All Saints' churchyard in Didcot on December 19.

Blakeley and his co-accused, a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are accused of burying her body in the grave of Mr Kennedy, who died in 2006.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, Berkshire, denies murdering Jayden but admits her manslaughter and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The prosecution has refused to accept his plea and he has gone on trial alongside the boy.

The youth has also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice but denies a charge of preventing a lawful burial.

A post-mortem examination found that Jayden died as a result of pressure to the neck.

There was also evidence of "relatively widespread" areas of bruising to her face and scalp which was indicative of being caused by a fist or foot.

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