‘Vindictive monster’ and murderer, Andrew Burfield, has today been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 32 years for killing mother of two Katie Kenyon.

Appearing at Preston Crown Court this morning (Thursday November 17), the 51-year-old, of Todmorden Road in Burnley, was sentenced for the planned and pre-meditated murder of his ex-girlfriend, Katie Kenyon.

He pleaded guilty to murdering Katie on the morning of the third day of his trial on Wednesday, November 16.

Katie, 33, went missing from her home in Padiham on the morning of April 22.

Her ex-boyfriend, Burfield, was arrested for her kidnap on April 23, but on April 27 he was charged with her murder.

Two days later he revealed to police where he had buried the mum-of-two’s body in a shallow grave in Gisburn Forest.

Burfield continually denied murdering Katie, offering police a wholly implausible cover story stating that he’d accidentally thrown an axe at her head while trying to hit a Coke can she was holding in her hand.

READ MORE: Handyman, liar, gaslighter, murderer - the man who killed Katie Kenyon

He said it was this one accidental wound that had ended her life.

Lancashire Telegraph: The axe recovered by policeThe axe recovered by police (Image: Lancs Police)

Pathological evidence disproved his defence after a post mortem revealed Katie had suffered 12 blows to her skull, likely caused by a blunt object leaving her head shattered with ‘chop-style’ wounds.

Because of his reluctance to admit to her murder, Burfield took the case to trial, which began at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

However, after prosecuting barrister, David McLachlan KC, opened the case, taking the jury of eight women and two men through a timeline of events, police evidence, CCTV and footage, on the third day, Burfield changed his plea to guilty.

In the opening days of the trial the jury heard how Burfield had planned Katie’s murder, and in March had created and saved pre-written texts to a Notes App on his phone, intending to send them to her children from her mobile phone after killing her.

On April 21, Burfield borrowed a spade and a set of ladders from his father and travelled to Gisburn Forest to dig a grave in the woods – a grave he would later place Katie’s body in.

The following day, Friday April 22, he drove her to the forest and inflicted 12 violent blows to her head before burying her and returning to Burnley with her mobile phone – which has never been recovered.

Once back home, as he’d planned, he sent the pre-written texts to Katie’s children from her phone, and also had the audacity to send one to himself before he made several calls from his phone to hers and left her voicemails telling her he loved her.

This, the prosecution said, was an attempt to cover his tracks.

Lancashire Telegraph: Burfield leaving court after his first Mags appearanceBurfield leaving court after his first Mags appearance (Image: PA)

Katie’s family became suspicious, knowing that she would never walk out on her children, and spotted grammatical mistakes and spelling errors in the texts the kids had received.

Her sisters confronted Burfield on the Friday evening, but he denied all knowledge of her disappearance and the next day, Saturday April 23, he dumped Katie’s bloody flip flops as well as bloody plastic bags in a bin at a house he had been working on in Hillingdon Road.

These, along with a spade which had blood on it, were later recovered by the police following Burfield’s arrest.

Police visited Burfield’s home a number of times on the Friday evening and on the Saturday afternoon, before arresting him on suspicion of her kidnap on Saturday evening.

On Wednesday April 27, he was charged with her murder, although it wasn’t until two days later on April 29 that he finally told police where Katie’s body was buried.

He was then escorted to Gisburn Forest in a blue and yellow jumpsuit, and while handcuffed, led officers to the grave he had created for the mum-of-two.

Following Burfield’s guilty plea yesterday (November 16), DCI Al Davies who led the investigation, labelled Burfield a ‘vindictive monster’ and said he hoped Katie’s family had finally gained some closure.

Lancashire Telegraph: Katie KenyonKatie Kenyon (Image: Lancs Police)

In sentencing Burfield, his honour Mr Justice Goose said: "Andrew Burfield, on the third day of your trial you pleaded guilty to the Murder of Katie Kenyon, a 33 year old single mother of two young children, who are now aged 14 and 12.

"On the 22nd April this year you carried out a planned and savage attack, striking her at least 12 heavy blows to the head with an axe.

"In your relationship with her, before you murdered her, I am satisfied that you were manipulative and controlling, whilst she was vulnerable. She looked to you for love and support. In return you planned and carried out her murder.

"This was not an offence in the heat of an argument; it was planned before it was carried out. It involved careful preparation, deception, the destruction of evidence and lies and then, an obviously implausible defence that it was all an accident.

"I am satisfied that your guilty plea was not out of any remorse for what you have done, but a final recognition that your gameplan had failed.

"Your murder of Katie Kenyon was as cruel as it was savage. The calmness with which you displayed before, during and afterwards proves starkly, your dangerousness.

"The messages between you reveal how you deceived her, that you loved her whilst at the same time manipulating her.

"You created a debt for £6000, which she denied, and then used it to scare her with the loss of her home, whilst at the same time you pretended to help her. You advised her to seek help in therapy for her anxiety.

"In messages you told her that on the 22nd April, you would take her to the therapy unit, which would be the start of a new life for her, whilst all the time, you planned to kill her on that day.

"I am sure on the evidence that you planned this murder from as early as the 17th March, when you made notes on your mobile phone, as if they were written by Katie Kenyon to her two young children and to you, saying that she was going away. You encouraged her to look forward to the 22nd April, to a new start  and she believed you.

"On the 21st April, the day before the murder, you drove to Gisburn Forest with a spade, turning off your mobile phone believing it would prevent your detection. You found the place in the forest where you planned to kill Katie, and there you dug a very precise and tidy makeshift grave, before you returned to your home in Burnley.

"The following morning Katie Kenyon arrived to see you, and you drove her, in your van, to Gisburn Forest. You took an axe as well as the spade that you had used to dig the grave.

"After arriving at the forest, you parked the van in a layby and walked to the place you had chosen, carrying a cool box to pretend it was for some refreshment. There you attacked her, striking her to the head, and side of her face.

"There were at least 12 heavy blows with the axe, killing her almost immediately. It was a ferocious and cruel attack. Then you calmly placed her in the grave and covered the body, taking great care to replace soil, moss and branches.

"Such was the care you took, that when the police went to the area, their expert scenes of crime officers were unable to spot the grave even when they were in the correct place.

"After the murder, you returned to your home and carried out your planned defence. You pretended that Katie Kenyon had gone away. You sent messages to her children, most cruelly, and to others. The messages you had prepared in February, found by the police in your iCloud account, were sent to others.

"You cleaned the axe and spade, although not sufficiently, and you disposed of Katie’s flip flop shoes and other items, in the bin of a member of the public. You pretended to help the police, by suggesting where Katie had gone, and after your arrest, maintained your lies before admitting the killing, but stating it was all an accident.

"In my judgement the factors which substantially aggravate the seriousness of this murder include the considerable degree of planning; the severity of the injuries caused in the attack; the concealment of the body; your attempts to dispose of evidence; the cruel messages you sent to Katie’s children and others, pretending that they were from her; and also the confidence that she had in you, which you controlled and manipulated and used to carry out her murder.

"I am unable to be sure of what your motive was for this murder. It was not for money, nor because you felt threatened by her. I am sure, however, that you wanted to kill Katie Kenyon, a young woman with children, so much so that you carefully planned almost every last detail. You are a highly dangerous man, and this was a very serious offence of murder.

"This court has heard the very moving victim personal statement of Katie’s sister, Sarah Kenyon-Holden, who spoke also for their family. The profound loss and permanent harm you have caused to them all, in particular to Katie Kenyon’s two children, will never be erased. The knowledge of how their mother, sister and daughter was killed, so savagely and cruelly can never be assuaged.

"Your mitigation is very limited. After all of your efforts to avoid detection and your lying account in interviews, finally you took the police to the place where you had buried Katie.

"Whilst you have previous convictions including for Perverting the Course of Justice in 2001, they do not materially affect your sentence. You are aged 51.

"The sentence I am required to impose on you is imprisonment for life. In fixing the minimum term which you must serve before you may apply for release, I take the Starting Point of 25 years agreed between counsel and which I consider to be correct because you took an axe to the scene to carry out the murder.

"Taking into account the many aggravating factors which I have identified, I must increase your sentence substantially from the Starting Point. I will make some downward adjustment to reflect the limited mitigating factor.

"Before any discount for your guilty plea, the minimum term must be 33 years. Whilst it would be justifiable to give you no credit for plea, given its lateness, nevertheless I will discount that term by one year, to 32 years.

"Andrew Burfield, I sentence you to Imprisonment for life with a minimum term to serve in custody of 32 years less 203 days served on remand. Only after that time has passed might you seek release which, if granted, will leave you on licence and subject to prison recall for the rest of your life.

"You should prepare yourself, however, for the prospect that you might never be released, such is your dangerousness."

Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, Tom Snape, said: “Andrew Burfield has today been jailed for carrying out a pre meditated, brutal attack on Katie Kenyon. He buried her in a shallow grave and went to great lengths to try to cover his tracks.

“The CPS worked closely with Lancashire police to build a strong case including CCTV footage, forensic evidence, and telephone data. Despite his denials, having seen the strength of the case against him, he changed his plea to guilty after the trial had started.

“Nothing can make up for the loss of Katie, my thoughts are very much with her family and friends at this time.”