‘My heart aches for Sarah Everard's mum – my missing daughter never came home either'
New UK|April 05, 2021
Samantha Shrewsbury’s daughter Jayden was 17 when she was strangled in an Oxfordshire field
SUSANNA GALTON

When pregnant teen Jayden Parkinson’s violent ex-boyfriend killed and buried her in 2013, police said it was “one of the most disturbing cases in living memory”.

Her mum Samantha, 54, has fought for a register of domestic abusers, something that might have saved Jayden. Last month, the House Of Lords passed an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill – in the wake of the tragic death of Sarah Everard.

Here, Samantha, from Oxfordshire, opens up about losing Jayden and not wanting her death to be in vain…

As news spread of the disappearance of Sarah Everard earlier this month, I felt increasingly sick. And when her remains were found a week later, my blood boiled in fury.

I wept for Sarah’s poor, grieving mother and wanted to hug her, knowing all too well the unique agony she’s in right now.

In December 2013, my own daughter, Jayden, was just 17 when she went missing. She’d been killed by her violent ex-boyfriend, Ben Blakeley. He’d taken her to a field where – I later learned in court – he’d strangled her three times. She regained consciousness twice, but the third time he squeezed the life out of her. She was pregnant with his child.

I have to talk about her murder in a matter-of-fact way, otherwise I’d cry and cry and never stop. Ben, the former binman who killed my baby girl, will serve 20 years in jail. But I have a life sentence of grief ahead of me.

Born in September 1996, Jayden was my youngest child, a little sister for Sharday, then six, and Boyd, then three. She was beautiful, strong-willed, our “tomboy in a tutu”.

However, behind closed doors, my husband was domestically abusing me. I managed to leave him, but I wonder if growing up seeing her father act violently towards me meant Jayden viewed abusive men as normal.

As a teen, Jayden could be wayward. I sent her to a girls’ school near our home in Didcot, Oxfordshire, hoping to keep her on the straight and narrow. But when she was 15 she started meeting some lads from the boys’ school.

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