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Jayden Parkinson trial: Jury retired to consider verdict
4:39pm Wednesday 16th July 2014 in News
A JURY in the trial of a man accused of murdering his teenage pregnant ex-girlfriend in Oxfordshire has retired to consider its verdict.
Jayden Parkinson, 17, died at the hands of her violent and controlling ex-partner Ben Blakeley, 22, in the countryside near Didcot on December 3 last year - 24 hours after she told him she was expecting his child.
Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, Berkshire, admits the manslaughter of the teenager but denies her murder.
His 17-year-old brother Jake, of Venners Water, Didcot, Oxfordshire is on trial alongside him at Oxford Crown Court accused of preventing a lawful burial.
They both have admitted perverting the course of justice.
The court has heard how, after strangling the teenager, the former binman enlisted the help of his brother to bury Jayden's body in their uncle's grave at All Saints' Church in Didcot.
Judge Patrick Eccles QC told the panel of six men and six women: "You need to choose one of you to be foreman or forewoman. You then will deliberate and you will have as long as you need.
"Your verdicts in this case both in relation to Ben Blakeley and Jake Blakeley must be verdicts on which you are all agreed, they must be unanimous."
Earlier he told them to "put out of their minds" any sympathy or compassion they have for Jayden.
He said the jury must carefully assess the evidence from each witness and decide whether they felt it was a truthful and reliable account before returning verdicts.
"It is for you to make that decision, it is your responsibility," the judge said.
"You are here to make those decisions where a young woman aged only 17 died, and died on any view unlawfully, at the hands of Ben Blakeley.
"You must put out of your minds any sympathy or compassion you have for Jayden and her family and you must put out of your minds any sympathy to Ben Blakeley for the tough upbringing he had.
"It is for the prosecution to prove the guilt of the defendants - they do not have to prove their innocence in any way at all.
"In order to prove their guilt the prosecution must make you sure that the defendants are guilty and if you are sure you have duty under the oath you swore to return a verdict of guilty.
"If you are not sure you must return a verdict of not guilty.
"If you are sure that at the time Ben Blakeley intended to cause her really serious harm or intended to kill her you will convict him of murder. If you are not sure you will find him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter."
Judge Eccles sent the jury home for the night after only 15 minutes' deliberations because one of the panel had a medical appointment.
He told them that they must only discuss the case when they are all assembled in their jury room and not at any other time.
"Because you are now in retirement it means that everyone of you who has a view to express must express it in front of you all - you cannot have any private discussions," the judge said.
"When you leave court now you must not discuss the case at all because the law provides that you must all be present when you discuss the case."
The jury will resume its deliberations at 10am on Thursday