Teenager sentenced for perverting the course of justice - Didcot

10/03/2015

A teenager appeared at Oxford Crown Court today, Tuesday, 10 March 2015, and was jailed for three years for perverting the course of justice.

Jake Blakeley, aged 18, of Venners Waters, Didcot, pleaded guilty to the offence at Oxford Crown Court last year.

Following a seven day retrial earlier this year, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in respect of one count of preventing the lawful burial of Jayden Parkinson in December 2013.

Jake Blakeley's brother, Ben Blakeley, aged 23, formerly of Christchurch Road, Reading, was found guilty of Jayden's murder at Oxford Crown Court in July last year.

Following Jayden's murder on 03 December 2013, Ben Blakeley enlisted the help of his younger brother, Jake, to conceal Jayden's body, first in fields near Upton, and later in their uncle's grave in the cemetery in All Saints' Church, Didcot. However, Jake Blakeley said he thought he was burying weapons at the first location, and a dead dog and cat in the second location.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case centered around the tragic murder of 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson by her former boyfriend Ben Blakeley.

"Despite his denials about having any intention of killing her, last July, the jury found Ben Blakeley guilty of Jayden's callous and violent murder.

"Ben Blakeley killed Jayden in remote countryside outside Didcot. With the assistance of his brother, Jake Blakeley, he dug a hole and concealed her body at this location for several days before moving it in a suitcase to the existing grave of a family member in the Didcot churchyard. There, Ben Blakeley and Jake Blakeley dug up the grave and Ben buried Jayden's body in it.

At the plea and case management hearing last year, Jake Blakeley pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. He accepted that he assisted his brother, but that at the time he helped him he had no idea that Ben had killed Jayden or that he was helping to bury her body. He asserted that he thought he was simply helping Ben to conceal a crime and not the killing. Jake has today been sentenced for this offence.

"It was an agreed fact at the trial and the retrial that Jake Blakeley assisted his brother in the digging of the two holes. However, he denied knowing on both occasions that he was burying Jayden. Instead, he claimed he was burying weapons in the first hole and a dead cat and dog in the second. The jury, at both trials, were unable to reach a decision on whether he was guilty, or not, of preventing a lawful burial. After the retrial, the prosecution team concluded that there were insufficient grounds for a third trial, so no evidence was offered and a not guilty verdict recorded for this offence.

"This was a very complex investigation, which started off as a missing person enquiry. We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"This case is a tragedy for Jayden's family and friends who have been devastated by her death; her father dying just before the first trial started. I would like to pay tribute to them for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution and the dignity they displayed while hearing the horrific details surrounding Jayden's murder. I would also like to thank the witnesses, who gave evidence in very difficult circumstances.

"We know that nothing will bring Jayden back, but we hope that today's sentence brings her family and friends at least a small sense that justice has once again been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Officer in the case, Detective Inspector Craig Kirby of the Force's Major Crime Unit said: "Jake Blakeley was today sentenced to three years detention having previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on a 'basis of plea' that he knew he was helping his brother to conceal a criminal act, but that he did not know he was helping to bury Jayden Parkinson's body.

"Whilst I am disappointed that the jury were unable to reach a verdict in respect of the preventing the lawful burial charge, the hung jury demonstrates the difficulties that the investigation faced in piecing together what happened on the 03 December 2013, and over the following week.

"I would like to pay my respects to Jayden and thank her family and friends, many of whom who have had to give evidence in court. I want to recognise the courage of all the witnesses in this case and of Jayden's loved-ones who have shown immense courage throughout our investigation and subsequent trials, our thoughts remain with them at this time.

"I would also like to thank all the police officers and staff who have worked on this complex case, as well as the Crown Prosecution Service, who the Force has worked with very closely.

"Even unwittingly Jake Blakeley assisted his brother Ben to conceal Jayden's body after she was murdered, assistance which in the words of His Honour Judge Eccles, 'prolonged the agony of Jayden's family.' I believe today's sentence reflects the severity of this."