The boyfriend of mother-of-two Katie Kenyon has pleaded guilty to her murder on the third day of his trial.
Miss Kenyon’s body was discovered in a makeshift grave dug the day before her death in remote woodland a week after she went missing in April of this year.
Prosecutors said her boyfriend Andrew Burfield was arrested after her disappearance and interviewed four times, initially denying any knowledge of her whereabouts before changing his version of events in his penultimate interview and claiming he accidentally killed her by throwing an axe at a tree during a picnic in Gisburn Forest, Lancashire.
David McLachlan KC said a post-mortem showed Miss Kenyon, 33, was struck at least 12 times. Jurors at Preston Crown Court also heard how Burfield – who had been in an on-off relationship with Miss Kenyon since 2019 – had borrowed a spade from his father the day before her killing.
On the third day of his trial, Miss Kenyon’s boyfriend, 51, has changed his plea to admit murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow at 10.30 a.m.
Prosecutors told the jury at the start of the trial on Monday that Burfield told police he had taken Miss Kenyon, with whom he had been in a relationship since 2019, to Gisburn Forest for a picnic and she had ‘bet’ him he couldn’t hit her can of Coke with his axe.
The court heard he told police: ‘I went for the tree at the side of her and it, it hit her in (her) head.’ He claimed she had been hit with the back of the axe and she had no other injuries, but the jury heard a post mortem showed she was struck an estimated 12 times. Miss Kenyon’s body was discovered by police on April 29.
Mr McLachlan claimed that the night before her murder, Burfield was on an “important mission” to “dig Katie Kenyon’s grave.” ‘He was in the area where her body would later be recovered for just under an hour,’ the prosecutor added.
The court heard Miss Kenyon, from Padiham, near Burnley, messaged Burfield the next morning, saying, ‘Ready and excited for a new chapter.’ She then drove to his house in Burnley before getting into his van and driving to Gisburn.
The prosecution claimed Burfield spent 42 minutes in the forest killing her and burying her body.
The court heard that technical analysis showed Miss Kenyon’s phone travelling back from Gisburn at around 11.15am, but only one person was visible in the van on CCTV.
Mr McLachlan said: ‘The prosecution case [is]… the phone may have been in Andrew Burfield’s van but Katie Kenyon certainly was not.
‘Katie Kenyon, the prosecution say, at this stage, was in a carefully constructed grave that had been dug the night before by Andrew Burfield.’
The jury was told that Miss Kenyon’s daughter sent her a message later that day and received a response of two laughing face emojis.
But Mr McLachlan said the message was sent by Burfield as ‘part of a charade’. Messages were later sent from Miss Kenyon’s phone to Burfield, saying she was ‘truly sorry for everything’, and to her children. The court heard voice messages Burfield left for Miss Kenyon in which he said he was a ‘bit worried’ about her.
Mr McLachlan said the pair had a ‘difficult relationship’, with Burfield making a court claim of more than £4,000 against Miss Kenyon, who in turn blocked him from contacting her by phone.
Jurors heard that during an email exchange on April 6 he wrote to her that this would be their ‘last goodbye’, adding she would be ‘always remembered’.