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Man jailed for life for murder of Katie Kenyon

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A man has today been jailed for life for murdering mum of two Katie Kenyon.

Andrew John Burfield, 51, was told he will have to serve a minimum of 32 years in custody before he is eligible for parole.

We launched a major investigation after Katie, 33, was reported missing from Padiham on April 22, this year.

Concerned family members had gone to Burfield’s home believing something was amiss after they had received cryptic text messages - sent from Katie’s phone - saying she had “gone away to work on herself”. Those messages had been sent to Katie’s children. He also sent a message to himself, purporting to be from Katie.

In those messages, which Katie’s family rightly suspected had been sent by Burfield, the word while had been misspelled, as had the name of Katie’s dog.

Our digital forensic experts would later recover drafts of the messages backed up in the notes section on Burfield’s iPhone, which showed he had written them at least three weeks before the day they were sent out.

Rather than try to allay Katie’s family’s fears about where their loved one was, Burfield – Katie’s ex-boyfriend - called the police claiming he was being threatened and a man was trying to force his way into his house.

Officers returned to Burfield’s home in Burnley the following day (April 23) and noted the log burner was on. We later discovered that he had put Katie’s iPhone in the fire in order to destroy incriminating evidence.

Burfield showed officers a message on his iPhone which he claimed had been sent to him by Katie. It was in fact a message Burfield had sent to himself from Katie’s phone before he put that iPhone in the fire.

Later that same evening, Burfield messaged a woman he was dating, saying that he was concerned for Katie and her safety.

Thirty minutes after sending that message Burfield was arrested on suspicion of Katie’s kidnap, with our officers still working under the premise that she was alive at that stage.

During an initial urgent interview Burfield told our officers that he had no idea where Katie was, a lie he would repeat during subsequent further interviews.

Footage obtained during the early part of our investigation showed Burfield’s van heading towards the Forest of Bowland on April 22 with Katie sat in the passenger seat. An image of the van was released to the media.

On April 24 we were contacted by a woman who Burfield had been carrying out some building work for the previous day. She had seen the appeal and was rightly worried for Katie’s safety. When we searched a wheelie bin at the property, our officers found blood-soaked bags containing the flipflops Katie had been wearing the day she disappeared. Also contained in the bag was paperwork containing Burfield’s name and address. We also found a spade which he had taken from a family member’s house the day before Katie’s murder.

Footage obtained during the course of the investigation showed that Burfield had gone up to the Forest of Bowland the day before Katie’s murder. During a period of around an hour and a half he had dug a deep and complex grave.

When Burfield was later arrested on suspicion of murder, he told our officers that he had taken Katie to the woods for a picnic. During that time, he falsely claimed she had challenged him to knock a can of Coke out of her hand with an axe he was using to chop wood. He said that he had thrown the axe at a tree but it had bounced off and hit her in the back of the head.

A post mortem examination would later show that Katie had been struck 12 times to the head.

After he had killed Katie, Burfield buried her in the pre-dug grave and systematically placed back the layers of earth so it appeared the ground had not been disturbed. He also covered the grave with a root and foliage in an attempt to conceal it.

He then sent the pre-written text messages to Katie’s family members, even responding to the victim’s daughter in a callous attempt to make it seem like her mum was still alive.

Experts would later find two different types of footwear marks consistent with Burfield, which proved he had been in it more than once. 

Burfield also tried to cover up his crime by washing the clothes he was wearing on the day he murdered Katie. However a spec of her blood was found on the seal of his washing machine.

With the overwhelming weight of evidence against him and following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Burfield was charged with Katie’s murder on April 27. However, Katie’s body had still not been found at that stage.  

The following day we found the axe Burfield had used to murder Katie in the cellar of his home in Todmorden Road, Burnley.

On April 29 Burfield was produced from prison and taken to the murder site. He walked to the grave site and kneeled down at the exact spot where Katie was buried. The decision to produce Burfield because the complexity of how the grave, made it extremely challenging for it to be identified. There was also a strong desire to find Katie’s body for her own dignity and for that of her family,  

Yesterday (November 16), on the third day of his trial at Preston Crown Court, Burfield pleaded guilty to Katie’s murder.

Detective Chief Insp Al Davies, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “My thoughts remain with Katie’s family at this truly distressing time and I hope today’s sentencing will finally give them some sense of closure and allow them to finally grieve the mother, daughter and sister who was taken from them in the most barbaric circumstances.

“Andrew Burfield is a wicked, deceitful bully who sought to isolate Katie from her family so he could control and manipulate her. When it became clear that she was no longer seduced by his fanciful lies he set himself on an abhorrent course of conduct which would eventually lead to the pre-planned murder of a kind, loving mother-of-two. He first sent bailiffs to her house, revelling in the distress that it caused her. He then sought to rekindle the relationship, all to lure Katie to the woods where he would murder her in the most heinous of circumstances.

“No sentence will ever make up for leaving children without their mother and family and friends facing the most unimaginable grief, but I welcome the life sentence handed down to Burfield. I hope Katie’s family can take some solace in knowing this dangerous monster is now behind bars for a significant period of time.

“Again, I would like to place on record my thanks to all the officers involved in this case who worked tirelessly to secure justice for Katie and her family. I would also like to thank colleagues from the CPS and KC’s David McLachlan and Emma Kehoe

“As a force we will continue to prioritise violence against women and girls, to target those who prey on them and to make our communities safe for all.”

If you have concerns about somebody you, a family member, friend or neighbour is in a relationship with you can make a domestic violence disclosure request under the Clare’s Law scheme.

If you would like to make a request, you can do so by calling us on 101 or by visiting your local police station.

https://www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/personal-safety/domestic-violence-disclosure-scheme-clares-law/

 

Victim impact statement from Katie's family

The 22nd of April 2022 is a date that not one of us will ever forget. It is the day that our beautiful Katie was stolen from us by Andrew Burfield. When the messages were received that afternoon we knew immediately that something was not right. Katie would never have left her children like that and there was all sorts going through our heads. We went out looking for her almost straight away and we sensed then that Burfield was behind it. 

We then went through a full week of torture whilst the police searched for her. I cannot describe the anguish of not knowing where Katie was. Who could she be with? Where was she? Was she alive? Was she locked away somewhere and could not get out? We lived in hope that she would be found alive and that she was safe, it was a coping mechanism but with each police visit and the passage of time we knew deep down that the outcome was not going to be a good one. We were in disbelief that Andrew Burfield was capable of such a thing, we knew that he was not good for Katie but we never thought he would be able to do something so horrific to her and then keep her hidden from those who loved her. 

The intrusion from the press during this time was also difficult for us as a family. We were out of our minds with worry, we wanted space to gather our thoughts and be able to move between our homes and try to keep some sense of normality for all of the children but we felt unable to do this. The children could not make sense of what was going on around them and were asking hundreds of questions - we simply did not have many of the answers. We are incredibly lucky that we are a strong family and we drew on that strength to get through it together. 

I will never forget the day that DCI Davies from the police came to the house to tell us all that he believed that Katie was dead. It was surreal even though she had been missing for a few days. It was the news that none of us wanted to hear and to make it worse at that stage the police still did not know where Katie was. We simply could not face telling her children, DCI Davies had to do that for us. I cannot describe to anyone what that was like. 

Katie was finally found on the Friday evening. It had been the longest 7 days of our lives. We felt that we had no choice but to visit the forest and see the location for ourselves as we knew if we did not do it then the press would do it for us, Katie's death had been so very public and has continued to be that way, it is so difficult to cope with everyone knowing all of the detail. It was awful to have to go up there, knowing that it was Katie's final journey, wondering what she was thinking and if she knew what was going to happen. I went up there with my sister and my mum. We all felt completely numb, it was unbelievable. Being there and seeing the area was totally heart breaking. There were a million thoughts going through our minds again. Did Katie suffer? Did she know what was going to happen? What had he done to her? It was so frustrating. 

We went to see Katie at the mortuary the following day. Her face was bruised but she still looked so beautiful… but she was behind glass.. We could not touch her or hold her and it felt impersonal. I wanted to say goodbye to her, to say things to her and to hold her but we could not do any of this. Burfield even took that away from us all. Katie was kept in a closed casket because of her injuries and this prevented us from ever seeing her again or getting that time with her in a chapel of rest. 

We have not been able to know exactly what has happened to Katie until now and this has been so frustrating for us. We have had so many questions that we know we cannot have answers to and this is because we have had to be witnesses in the trial. It has been simply awful being told that we are not allowed to know what happened to Katie and how she died. The frustration from this has been unbearable and nobody should ever have to go through it. We knew we had to be strong as a family and just wait, wait for justice and be part of getting that justice for Katie and I am proud of us all for that. 

I cannot believe that we have been put through the process of a trial as a family. It has been a long, painful and heart breaking process which has brought anxiety to us all, you don't realise what it is like when you see it happening to others in the news. But it is nothing like we imagined, it is far worse. Whilst we were trying to grieve the loss of Katie we were giving statements to the police, taking our phones in to be examined, being asked the same questions over and over again and this included Katie’s children. Giving evidence is a terrifying thing to face but we would do anything to get justice for Katie. To hear a guilty plea at first was a relief but it is also not a relief in another way. We now feel that our voices have not been heard and we wanted to stand up and speak for our sister who is unable to now speak for herself. In our hearts we do not believe that Andrew Burfield pleaded guilty for Katie or for us but for himself. 

Katie's murder has had an indescribable affect on our family emotionally and things will never be the same again. I cannot put it into words. Every Christmas, birthday, holiday and other significant date or event will be scarred by Katie's absence and the reasons behind her absence. The most painful part of this is that is not Katie's choice. She did not choose to leave us, she was not unwell and it was not an accident. She was literally robbed of her life, we have been robbed of her by Andrew Burfield and the children have lost their mum because of him. Not only has he taken Katie from us but he has taken our lives as we knew them too. The very worst part of all this is that Katie’s children literally lost their mother overnight in the most horrific way. She did everything for them and was more than just a mum, she was their mum, dad and best friend all rolled into one. She did everything for her kids and would never have chosen to leave them. Katie was even a fantastic mum to Indie the dog. They all miss her terribly. 

Katie told us that she wanted to stop Andrew Burfield from being able to do what he did to her to other women. She wanted to stop him and she wanted answers and this cost her her life. We never believed that anything like this could ever happen to us, but it did. We still cannot quite believe it.

Katie was beautiful and silly. The kids called her Auntie Crazy. She made some stupid decisions but she had a truly beautiful soul. She was always surrounded by children - her own and anybody else's who wanted to join in. She would take the kids and the dogs everywhere with her. She even tried to set up a summer camp for the local children so that they had something to do and somewhere to go. She loved the outdoors and she loved people. We miss her beyond words and we will never get over her loss.


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