The mother of a teenage girl who was murdered by her abusive boyfriend has said she is ‘serving a life sentence of her own’ as she branded her daughter’s killer a ‘twisted animal’ saying that he ‘took two lives’ the day he killed his pregnant girlfriend.
Jayden Parkinson, 17, was strangled to death by her abusive partner Ben Blakeley, now 30, who buried her in his uncle’s grave after she told him she was pregnant in December 2013.
Then 22, he regularly beat Jayden and in the month leading up to her death, had threatened to post dozens of naked pictures and videos of her online which were taken without her consent.
Blakeley was found guilty of murdering Jayden and handed a life sentence at Oxford Crown Court in 2014, but Jayden’s mum Samantha Shrewsbury, 54, says that his punishment will ‘never be enough’.
In new MTV series True Life Crime UK, Samantha branded the killer a ‘pig’ and said she’s living a ‘life sentence of her own’ as she is unable to escape memories of her late daughter.
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Jayden Parkinson, 17, was strangled to death by her abusive partner Ben Blakeley, now 30, who buried her in his uncle’s grave after she told him she was pregnant in December 2013
In new MTV series True Life Crime UK, Samantha, pictured in 2014, branded the killer a ‘pig’ and said she’s living a ‘life sentence of her own’, unable to escape memories of her late daughter
‘It will never be enough, ever,’ said Samantha, ‘Life should mean life. He’s an animal, he’s a pig. He is twisted in the head.
‘Mine is a life sentence, I’m in my own prison. I’m in my house sat around things that remind me of Jayden. I talk about her everyday, she’s there everyday, she’s there everyday in my thoughts, it’s never going to stop for us.
‘She was pregnant, she was 17, she was a child. He took two lives that day. Like all abusers he was charming, she loved him. Out of anybody she could have fallen in love with, it just happened to be him.’
Jayden had a turbulent childhood before meeting Blakeley. She grew up in Folkstone before moving to Oxford, where her parents split up.
Blakeley (pictured right in 2014) was found guilty of murdering Jayden (left) and handed a life sentence at Oxford Crown Court in 2014
After a two-year custody battle, she again moved to Manchester with her father, but made the decision to move back to Oxford when she was 13.
Samantha says this was when her daughter’s behaviour quickly took a turn for the worse.
‘She was forever being excluded, one year she had 22 different exclusions,’ she explained.
Samantha said she was often left ‘worried sick’ as her daughter would bunk off school and running away from home.
When she turned 17 social services stepped in and helped Jayden move to the One Foot Forward in Oxford.
Pete Hughes, a local journalist who covered the case in 2013, said: ‘That hostel definitely had a reputation in the area.
‘When Jayden was there it was a place people of already troubled backgrounds were staying, bringing elements of their lives to that hostel that were unhelpful may have got her in trouble and may have made her situation worse than it was before’.
Pictured, CCTV of Jayden leaving her hostel in Oxford to walk half an hour to meet Ben Blakeley
Blakeley was captured on CCTV at Oxford train station with Jayden. Both arrived at Didcot train station in December 2013
Jayden had met Blakeley at 15 through an acquaintance, though the pair didn’t start dating until a year later, and friends of the teen said she was ‘besotted’ by him.
But Samantha says she was always suspicious of Blakeley, who had already been arrested for an array of crimes including assault and theft.
‘There was something about him you couldn’t quite put your finger on it,’ she said.
Paige, one of Jayden’s friends from Oxford, said that soon after the pair started dating the teen’s appearance changed, with Jayden wearing less make-up and starting to cover up her body.
‘Everything started changing, to see her then with him it was the trackies, the covering up, not doing her hair and make-up, so to see her like that I was shocked.
‘I didn’t hear from her, I saw her walking past and she blanked me, I thought, “okay leave it for a couple more weeks and talk to her again”.’
The murder of Jayden Parkinson
Jayden, 17, disappeared after being spotted on CCTV leaving Didcot train station in Oxfordshire with her violent ex-boyfriend Ben Blakeley, then 22, on 3 December 2013.
He was seen returning to the station later that day – and she was never seen again.
Blakeley strangled the teenager and initially dumped her body in a countryside ditch.
He later moved her, digging up his uncle’s grave in Didcot, Oxfordshire, dumping her body inside the grave.
Her body was found in buried in Blakeley’s uncle’s grave two weeks later and he was arrested, charged and convicted of her murder at Oxford Crown Court in 2014.
He regularly beat her and was often controlling and obsessive. She plucked up the courage to leave him and move into a hostel a month before she died, but had got back in touch to say she was pregnant with his child.
Another friend of Jayden’s, Remi, told of the threats that Blakeley made when she and Jayden had attended Remi’s grandmother’s funeral together.
‘She just wasn’t herself in any way shape or form,’ said Remi, ‘It was really, really sad to see. He was constantly ringing her phone, every five minutes it was ridiculous.
‘She was on the phone to him, he was telling her she was lying, that she wasn’t where she said she was and I got on the phone and I said “Leave her alone she’s at a funeral” and he said “Don’t you think I’ve hurt women before?” You’d just be another one.
‘He was vile. He was vile. I was so shocked she took the phone back and he continued to give her abuse, she was frightened even though she wasn’t there, it was like someone had sucked the life out of her. ‘
A month before she died, Jayden found the courage to report Blakeley, who had taken naked photos of her without her permission and threatened to send them to her friends and family.
She had told police she was terrified of Blakeley, but after discovering she was pregnant had arranged to meet up with him again.
The teen disappeared after being spotted on CCTV leaving Didcot train station in Oxfordshire with her then ex-boyfriend Blakeley in December 2013.
He was seen returning to the station later that day – and she was never seen again.
Samantha spoke of the treatment she received from police after reporting her daughter missing, claiming she was ‘treated like a neurotic mum that couldn’t keep her child in check’.
The documentary also showed unseen footage, released by Thames Valley Police, showing the murderer refusing to comment during his police interview.
‘This is f***** crazy,’ he said, ‘Like she’s my ex-chick. She’s not even my girl anymore. I’m talking to a new girl, she’s not even my girl this has f*** all to do with me.’
As the investigation continued, the police spoke with staff at One Foot Forward, who said Blakeley was ‘very controlling’ towards Jayden.
He isolated her from other residents in the hostel, becoming angry if she spoke to anyone, or even left her room to use the toilet, resulting in her urinating in containers in her bedroom.
Pictured, a Police tent in the Great Western Cemetery by All Saints’ Church in Didcot, Oxfordshire in 2013
With new witness information suggesting that Jayden had been murdered, the police broke the news to Samantha that her daughter had been killed.
‘They came and told me, and my world collapsed. It broke, anything I ever had, I didn’t want to believe it and know it was true.
‘I remember them saying that they’d found her, not alive, and everything went black. They knew it was her because we have matching tattoos on our arm, never a failure always a lesson, words she picked.’
A jury at Oxford Crown Court in 2014 found Blakeley guilty of murder following a five-week trial by a majority decision of 11-1 after more than 20 hours of deliberations.
Blakeley, of Reading, Berkshire, denied murdering Jayden but admitted her manslaughter.
The court heard how he was obsessive and controlling and threatened to post intimate videos and photographs of Jayden on Facebook after their break up, hoping she would kill herself as a result.
His brother, Jake Blakeley, 17, admitted a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by helping to dig the grave in which Jayden was later buried.