Katie Kenyon Murder Case

 A man who told police he killed a woman accidentally when he threw an axe at a tree has admitted murdering her.

Andrew Burfield changed his plea at Preston Crown Court to admit killing mother-of-2 Katie Kenyon, who was hit an estimated Twelve times with the axe.

The court had heard the Fifty one-year-old killed Ms Kenyon on 22 April and buried her dead body in a grave in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, which he had dug the day before.

He is due to be sentenced on Thursday.

Opening the trial on Monday, David McLachlan KC, prosecuting, told the jury Burfield was arrested following the thirty three-year-old's disappearance and interviewed 4 times, initially denying any knowledge of her whereabouts.

However, he said that in Burfield's penultimate interview, there was a "revelation" and his version of events changed.

'Vindictive monster'

Burfield, of Todmorden Road, Burnley, told police he had taken Ms Kenyon to Gisburn Forest in the Forest of Bowland for a picnic and she had "bet" him he could not hit a drink can with his axe.

The court heard he told police: "I went for the tree at the side of her and it hit her in the 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 examination showed she was struck an estimated 12 times.

Mr McLachlan said forensic pathologist Dr Jamie Robinson had considered Ms Kenyon's injuries and found Burfield's claim to be "completely implausible".

Mr McLachlan said Burfield had borrowed a set of ladders and spade from his father the day before he killed Ms Kenyon and had driven to Gisburn Forest to dig her grave.

His trial also heard that on the morning of her death, Ms Kenyon had sent Burfield a message that said she was "ready and excited for a new chapter".

The jury was told that later that morning, they were captured on CCTV travelling in his Ford Transit and stopping off at McDonalds, before going to the forest.

The prosecution said Burfield spent just over 42 minutes in the woodland, where he killed her and buried her body.

Analysis showed Ms Kenyon's phone travelling back from the site at about 11:15 BST.

The jury was told Burfield then used the mobile to send messages to himself and Ms Kenyon's children, before leaving a voice note that said he was "a bit worried" about her.

The court also heard Ms Kenyon's daughter sent her a message at 12:18 and received a response of two laughing face emojis, while a later message told her that her father would be looking after her.

The prosecution said those messages were all sent after Ms Kenyon had been killed.

A week-long search for Ms Kenyon ended with the discovery of her body by police on 29 April.

Det Ch Insp Al Davies said Ms Kenyon's family had "suffered unimaginable pain and suffering" by a man who was "nothing short of a vindictive monster".

"Not only has he murdered Katie in a cold-blooded and horrifically violent attack, but he has then tried to conceal her body and repeatedly lied and changed his story to try and cover up his vile actions.

"In my entire police service, I have never dealt with a case involving such an extent of cold and callous pre-meditation."

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