Scheme to bless graveyard desecrated by teen's killer

Herald Series: The grave at All Saints’ Church in Didcot where the body of Jayden Parkinson was found. The grave at All Saints’ Church in Didcot where the body of Jayden Parkinson was found.

A SERVICE could be held to bless the desecrated churchyard where the body of teenager Jayden Parkinson was hidden.

The Rev Karen Beck, the vicar at All Saints’ Church in Didcot, said she was considering a blessing at the site where the 17-year-old was found.

Former Didcot Girls’ School pupil Jayden had not been seen for more than two weeks before murder detectives unearthed her body at the Great Western Cemetery before Christmas.

Her boyfriend Ben Blakeley, 22, has been charged with murder.

The Lydalls Road church held a memorial prayer service for Jayden on the Saturday before Christmas and mourners have been signing a book of condolence which will be given to her family.

Now the Rev Beck has said another public service could be held to bless the graveyard.

Herald Series:

The Rev Karen Beck

She said: “We will think about where we go from here but at the moment it is not quite the right time.

“One important thing is a lot of people were upset that the churchyard was disturbed in that way.”

The vicar said she hoped the church had shown it was there for the people of Didcot when they needed it.

She added: “The church is always there and at times like this it is particularly important we are there for people.

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“It has been very difficult and trying but then that is what we are there for.

“You become a focal point a times like that and we just listen to people.”

The vicar said the Christmas services at the church had offered support to those affected by the tragedy.

She said: “The focus was about Christmas and how that helped with everything that had gone before.

“For Christians it is about God being with you, so that is what we were really holding on to.

“Even though we are in a mess God is there in it with us.”

On Monday, December 23, an inquest into the teenager’s death was opened and adjourned at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court.

Herald Series:

Jayden Parkinson

Assistant coroner Nicholas Gardiner told the court Jayden Reeanna Parkinson was born in September 1996 in Ashford, Kent, and found dead on December 19 in the cemetery following a police investigation. He said the teenager, who had been missing since she left the One Foot Forward hostel in Oxford on December 3, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The assistant coroner also said the body had to be formally identified by Jayden’s family at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

He added that Jayden was not working at the time of her death.

But he told the hearing a post mortem examination had been unable to determine a cause of death and police were awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Mr Gardiner ended the hearing saying the inquest would finish after criminal proceedings ended.

Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, is charged with the teen’s murder and with perverting the course of justice.

A 17-year-old Didcot boy, who cannot be named, is also charged with perverting the course of justice.

Both are in custody before their next Oxford Crown Court appearance on March 17.

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