'Jealous' Mark Brandford stabbed and pounded fiancee Kayleigh Dunning with crowbar while she was 'naked on the bed' after getting weapons ready as she slept

A ‘JEALOUS’ boyfriend ‘stabbed’ his naked fiancee with a knife and pounded her with a crowbar ‘again and again’ after preparing the instruments of her death while she slept, a court heard.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 5:45 pm

Colas road sweeper Mark Brandford, 49, denies murdering his partner Kayleigh Dunning at his Kingston Crescent flat in North End overnight on December 16-17, 2019.

The defendant told jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court he was ‘upset’ that Ms Dunning, 32, was seeing other men and was called the nickname of her former boyfriend Dean Drooney the morning after their engagement.

The court heard Ms Dunning received a text from Mr Drooney on the evening of December 16 after she had agreed to marry Brandford. ‘Night Noodle, love you,’ it read.

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The crowbar recovered by police investigating the death of Kayleigh Dunning in Portsmouth. Mark Brandford is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of her murder. He denies the charge. Picture: Hampshire police

‘Night night, love you more Doddle,’ Ms Dunning replied.

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Prosecutor Simon Jones said: ‘You were next to Kayleigh when she read the message from Dean?’

Brandford replied: ‘I was next to her but I didn’t read the message.’

Police investigating after Kayleigh Dunning was found dead in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth on December 17, 2019. Mark Brandford is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of her murder. Inset, Kayleigh Dunning. Picture taken December 20. Picture: Ben Fishwick/Hampshire police

Mr Jones said: ‘Is that what angered you? You knew she was seeing Dean and even on your special night she was texting him to say she loved him. Did she love you?’

‘I thought she did,’ Brandford replied.

He was then asked if she was in love with Mr Drooney.

‘I think she loved us both,’ Brandford said.

Mr Jones said: ‘You didn’t want to share her.’

He continued: ‘When she was asleep you looked at her phone. You went and got knives from the kitchen and left them by the bed and got the crowbar (from under the bed) ready.

‘You attacked her again and again. You stabbed her with a knife and you killed her while she was laying naked on the bed.

‘She was naked when you left her dead.’

‘Not true sir,’ Brandford said.

Mr Jones accused ‘jealous’ Brandford of then ‘dumping’ the crowbar in bushes off Mablethorpe Road in Wymering after he had spoken to a PCSO. The defendant claimed he was merely having a ‘wee’ when in the area and had asked if there was a ‘nice place for lunch’.

The crowbar was found three months later in March 2020 with no DNA on it.

The prosecutor said Brandford wanted to be seen by as many people as possible on December 17 to remove him from suspicion over the already dead Ms Dunning.

Brandford visited two friends and was seen in betting shops and sent a text message to Ms Dunning to cover his tracks, it was alleged.

‘You stayed out all day to make sure people saw you,’ Mr Jones said, before adding: ‘You walked past your house to go to Betfred. Why not go in there to see if Kayleigh was there? Because you knew she was dead.’

Mr Jones added: ‘You couldn’t stand anyone else being with her and everything you did on Tuesday December 17 was to try and get away with the horrific crime you had committed.’

Brandford denies murder and a charge of revenge porn after a fake Facebook account of Ms Dunning was set up with a nude photo of her.


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