Revealed: 'Vindictive' killer's callous messages to victim's children

Revealed: The callous messages sent by ‘vindictive’ builder to his ex’s two children to cover his tracks after he bludgeoned her to death with an axe then dumped her in a shallow grave

  • 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 found dumped in a makeshift grave in remote woodland a week after she vanished
  • Andrew Burfield was arrested and told police he killed her by accident when throwing an axe at a tree 
  • Prosecutors told the court a post-mortem showed that the mother-of-two was struck 12 times
  • He then sent messages to her two children from her phone in a bid to deflect attention from himself 
  • Burfield changed his plea to admit murder and is due to be sentenced tomorrow at 10.30am

A ‘vindictive’ builder brutally bludgeoned a mother-of-two to death with an axe and sent messages to her children to cover his tracks before dumping her in a makeshift grave he dug the day before, a court has heard. 

Katie Kenyon’s body was found buried in remote woodland in April this year, days after she had been reported missing. The 33-year-old had been struck at least 12 times before she was dumped in the shallow grave.

Andrew Burfield, 51, ‘created’ messages impersonating his ex-girlfriend to be sent to her children, including one which said: ‘I love you and I’m sorry’. 

The callous messages and thought that went into crafting them were a sign that ‘murder was on his mind’, prosecutors argued. 

The court heard he attempted to hide his involvement in the disappearance by sending a message to Katie’s children informing them they would have to ‘stay with their Dad for a while’. 

He was arrested following her disappearance and interviewed four times, at first denying any knowledge of her whereabouts. 

But he then changed his version of events in his penultimate interview, claiming he accidentally killed her by throwing an axe at a tree during a picnic in Gisburn Forest, Lancashire.

Burfield changed his plea on the third day of his trial on Wednesday. He is due to be sentenced tomorrow at 10.30am.

Katie Kenyon, 33, was brutally murdered by he ex-boyfriend, who buried her in a shallow grave he had dug the day before carrying out the crime

Burfield, 51, sent messages to Katie’s children to pretend he had nothing to do with her disappearance, insinuating that their mother had had to go away for a while

The boyfriend of mother-of-two Katie Kenyon has pleaded guilty to her murder on the third day of his trial

Andrew Burfield changed his plea on Wednesday. He is due to be sentenced tomorrow at 10.30am

The court previously heard Burfield, a builder, used Katie’s phone to message her kids after he killed her and buried her body in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.

Jurors were told he borrowed a spade from his father and had driven to Gisburn Forest, Lancs., where he dug a grave for her the day before the killing.

And draft notes recovered from his iPhone suggested he had ‘created’ messages impersonating Katie, 33, which said prosecutors showed ‘murder was on his mind.’

Following the killing, he used her phone to write messages to himself and her children, with one saying: ‘I want you to know that I’m truly sorry for everything.’

Another message read: ‘Hey dude, I love you and sorry’, with a broken heart emoji attached to it, suggesting Katie had to ‘go away somewhere’.

Messages created by Burfield included: ‘I love you. I’m sorry. Your dad will be looking after you for a while.’

Opening the trial on Monday, David McLachlan KC, told the jury Burfield was arrested following Katie’s disappearance and interviewed four times.

But he said CCTV footage showed Burfield getting into his white Ford Transit van with Katie around 9am on the morning of April 22 and heading to the murder site.

Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Allen Davies said he welcomed the 11th hour plea and described Burfield as ‘nothing short of a vindictive monster’. 

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

David McLachlan KC told jurors at Preston Crown Court how Burfield – who had been in an on-off relationship with Miss Kenyon since 2019 – killed the mother-of-two after they split up. 

He then sent messages to himself and her children from her phone, the jury was told. 

Miss Kenyon had been scared of Burfield, telling her mother in chilling messages: ‘I’m paranoid to death hes ganna do summert… couldn’t sleepall night xxxx’.

Burfield told police he had taken Miss Kenyon, who he had been in a relationship with since 2019, to Gisburn Forest for a picnic and she had ‘bet’ him he could not hit her can of Coke with his axe.

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 a post mortem showed she was struck an estimated 12 times. 

Dr Jamie Robinson, a forensic pathologist, said Burfield’s version of events was ‘completely implausible’. 

Undated handout photo issued by Lancashire Constabulary of the axe used in the murder

Undated handout photo issued by Lancashire Constabulary of the van used by Burfield which he drove Miss Kenyon in to the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, where he killed her and buried her

Mr McLachlan said on the night before the murder, Burfield had been on an ‘important mission’ which was ‘to dig Katie Kenyon’s grave’. 

The prosecutor added: ‘He was in the area where her body would later be recovered for just under one hour.’

The court heard he borrowed ladders and a spade from his father the day prior to Miss Kenyon’s death.

Miss Kenyon, from Padiham, near Burnley, messaged Burfield the following morning, saying: ‘Ready and excited for a new chapter.’ 

She then drove to his house in Burnley before getting into his van and travelling to Gisburn. Burfield spent 42 minutes in the forest, where he killed her and buried her body.

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.’

Search teams found Ms Kenyon’s body on April 29, and a post mortem examination carried out on May 1 concluded she died from head injuries 

File photo dated April 2022 of court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Andrew Burfield 

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’.

Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Allen Davies said he and Miss Kenyon’s family welcomed the guilty plea.

He said: ‘Andrew Burfield is a man who has elected to run a trial despite the overwhelming evidence in this case – not only of the fact that Andrew Burfield has barbarically and violently killed Katie, he has also pre-planned what he was going to do, to an extent I have never seen in my entire police service.

A horse drawn hearse for the funeral of Katie Kenyon at St Leonard’s Church in Padiham, Lancashire

Andrew Burfield, 51, was arrested and told police that he killed his ex by accident when they went for a picnic in Gisburn Forest, Lancashire 

‘Through investigation we were able to establish that Mr Burfield had travelled up to Bolton-by-Bowland a day prior to Katie’s murder.

‘He did that for the purpose of digging a shallow grave, which he would subsequently place Katie within. The extent of his planning went far beyond the night before.

‘Three weeks previous to her murder he’d written messages that he’d gone on to send to her family and her children, knowing that his intention was to kill her.

‘What I would like to point out and I don’t want to forget is that Katie is a happy, loving, mum of two children. She had her whole life ahead of her.

‘Andrew Burfield is a cruel, vindictive man who has taken her life away from her and taken her life away from her children.’

Mr Davies also described the ‘unimaginable pain and suffering’ Miss Kenyon’s family had suffered as a result of Burfield’s actions, describing him as ‘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.’

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