Kayleigh Dunning Portsmouth murder trial: Jurors retire to consider verdicts in Mark Brandford case

JURORS are set to consider their verdicts over whether a road sweeper bludgeoned his fiancee to death.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 2:06 pm

Judge Timothy Mousley QC finished his summing-up of the murder trial evidence at Portsmouth Crown Court just before the lunch interval today.

Jurors are now deliberating over whether Colas road sweeper Mark Brandford, 49, was behind the murder of his partner Kayleigh Dunning at his Kingston Crescent flat in North End overnight on December 16-17, 2019.

In response to social-distancing measures, jurors will have to consider their verdicts in the courtroom where the trial has been heard rather than the usual ‘small’ jury room located elsewhere in the building.

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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

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The judge’s summing-up today followed the final roll of the dice by the prosecution and defence yesterday, who concluded their cases.

Brandford’s lawyer, Sarah Jones QC, pointed the finger at other men with a ‘grudge’ at Ms Dunning.

She also ripped into the police for a ‘biased’ investigation before asking jurors if they could be sure whether Brandford was the murderer.

Portsmouth Crown Court Picture: César Moreno Huerta portsmouth news breaking

Ms Jones said: ‘Has the Crown made you sure no one else murdered Kayleigh Dunning? There is no direct evidence Mr Brandford killed her.

‘No one saw it, no one heard it. So the Crown’s case is based on circumstances around it and using arguments to support it.

‘Mark Brandford was their number one suspect and then they trawled through the evidence to support the theory. It’s called confirmation bias.’

She added: ‘Not a soul in the building (where Brandford lived) heard anything in the middle of the night. Surely such a fight would wake the neighbours?’

CCTV shown to a murder trial jury at Portsmouth Crown Court shows Mark Brandford at Betfred in Arundel Street when he gets a call from police about Kayleigh Dunning who had been reported missing on December 17

Preceding Ms Jones was prosecutor Simon Jones summing up the Crown’s case.

‘Mark Brandford is a cold, calculated killer who showed no emotion,’ he said.

‘He brutally and viciously murdered her and knew what he was going to find having left it as late as possible to make the 999 call before returning to his flat.

‘He is vicious and deceptive and he is insulting your intelligence.’

The prosecution also claimed Brandford was behind sending explicit videos and pictures of Ms Dunning to those close to her – including her boss, family members and ex-boyfriend.

A fake Facebook account with a nude photo was also allegedly set-up by Brandford before friend requests were sent out to people.

Brandford denies murder and a charge of revenge porn.

Jurors will work to decide if Brandford is guilty or innocent having been listening to evidence since January 7. The trial was previously suddenly halted for nearly two weeks after Brandford had to isolate after coming into close contact with a Covid-positive individual.

(Proceeding)

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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