Jayden’s father dies a week before start of murder trial

Paul Parkinson is believed to have suffered a heart attack

Paul Parkinson is believed to have suffered a heart attack

First published in News
Last updated

JAYDEN Parkinson’s father has died just a week before his daughter’s killer was due to face trial.

Paul Parkinson is believed to have suffered a heart attack on Thursday afternoon. It comes as Jayden’s boyfriend Ben Blakeley, 22, is due to stand trial at Oxford Crown Court on Friday accused of murdering her.

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Mr Parkinson’s brother Glen last night said the stress of the trial had killed the 48-year-old. Jayden, 17, pictured, was missing for two weeks before her body was found in a grave at Great Western Cemetery in Didcot in December.

Post-mortem examination results showed the former Didcot Girls’ School pupil died from pressure to the neck.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road in Reading, has admitted manslaughter and perverting the course of justice, but has denied murder.

A 17-year-old Didcot boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also to face trial accused of perverting the course of justice.

Following the plea hearing in March, Mr Parkinson wrote on Facebook: “Can I just say thank you to all of you for your surport. Just got to wait till June now for the outcome.”

He also had a new tattoo on his neck that read ‘Jayden RIP Tiny’.

Mr Parkinson had separated from Jayden’s mother Samantha Shrewsbury and lived in Nelson, near Manchester.

He had travelled south ahead of the trial and suffered the heart attack at about 3pm in a friend’s house in Folkestone, where Jayden was born.

Jayden’s schoolfriend Layla Smith, 17, yesterday said: “It is horrible because he could not see justice being done.”

She said Jayden’s mother was told the news by phone call on Thursday evening at a meeting to discuss setting up the charity Jayden’s Gift.

And she said the family was keen for the trial to start, adding: “They cannot wait for them to have justice but they are not looking forward to going and seeing [the defendants].”

Beth Ray, 17, a friend of Jayden’s for more than four years, said it was important to those close to Jayden to see justice done.

She said: “I am not looking forward to [the trial] but it is something that needs to be done.”

Jayden had been living at the One Foot Forward hostel in Iffley Road, Oxford, when she went missing on Tuesday, December 3.

She was last seen on CCTV cameras at Didcot Railway Station.

The search involved about 100 police officers and ended when her body was unearthed from a disturbed grave in the cemetery next to All Saints’ Church in Lydalls Road on December 18.

Fundraising mission for charity in honour of teenager

FRIENDS and family of Jayden Parkinson, right, will go on to the streets of Didcot to raise funds for a charity being set up in her memory.
Mother Samantha Shrewsbury, Jayden’s schoolfriend Layla Smith, and others will take collection buckets to the Orchard Centre on Saturday, July 19.
Ms Shrewsbury is setting up the charity, Jayden’s Gift, to support victims of domestic violence.
Like Jayden, Layla was new to Oxfordshire and Didcot Girls’ School when they met in Year 10.
She moved to Didcot from Langley, near Windsor, with her parents and, like Jayden, didn’t know anyone at their school. Their head of year paired them up and they ended up close friends.
Layla, 17, from Didcot, who is training to be a hairdresser, said: “Jayden was a really outgoing person.
“Even if the rest of the girls looked down their noses at you, she was friendly.
“She mostly just liked drawing all the time.”
The fundraising team will be near Sainsbury’s from noon to 3pm.

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