TRAGEDY: Jayden Parkinson's father dies of heart attack days before killer's trial

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Jayden Parkinson Jayden Parkinson

THE father of a Pendle schoolgirl whose body was found in a shallow grave has died just days before his daughter’s killer was due to stand trial.

Paul Parkinson suffered a fatal heart attack on Thursday at the age of 48.

His daughter Jayden, 17, was missing for two weeks before her body was found in a disturbed grave at Great Western Cemetery in Didcot, Oxfordshire, in December.

Hundreds of police officers had joined with the National Crime Agency to search for the missing teen.

Her devastated father, of Manchester Road, Nelson, collapsed around 3pm in Folkstone after travelling south to join friends and family in preparation for the trial.

On Friday, 22-year-old Ben Blakeley is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court accused of her murder, having already admitted manslaughter.

Yesterday his brother Glen, who also lives in Nelson, said the stress of the trial had killed him.

He said: “The stress of the trial has caused it. He was desperate for justice to be done.”

He also wrote on Facebook: “R.I.P. My Big Brother Paul Parkinson, be at peace with Jayden, gonna miss you bro xxx”

Jayden spent around a year living with her dad in Pendle, and during that time attended Primet High School, in Colne.

She moved to Oxfordshire to live with her mother Samantha Shrewsbury after her parents split up.

Paul also has a second brother, Darren, who lives in the Burnley area.

Following Blakeley’s plea hearing in March, Paul had written on Facebook: “Can I just say thank you to all of you for your support, just got to wait till June now for the outcome.”

He had also got a tattoo on his neck in tribute to his teenage daughter: ‘Jayden RIP Tiny’.

Jayden’s school friend from Oxford, Layla Smith, 17, 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 the charity Jayden’s Gift, that aims to raise money for teenage victims of domestic abuse.

Beth Ray, 17, a friend of Jayden’s for more than four years, said it was important for 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.”

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

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 by helping to dispose of her body.

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