Portsmouth judge praises police work in murder investigation as Kayleigh Dunning's killer convicted

A JUDGE has praised the ‘painstaking’ police work that saw a crowbar recovered by officers investigating the murder of Kayleigh Dunning.

By Ben Fishwick
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 1:12 pm

Judge Timothy Mousley QC made the comments as Mark Brandford, 49, was convicted of murdering Ms Dunning overnight on December 16-17 in 2019 at his flat in Kingston Crescent, North End.

The judge said officers finding the crowbar off Mablethorpe Road, Wymering, was an ‘excellent piece of police work’ and added: ‘It must have been a painstaking task, and of course it proved to be a very important piece of evidence.’

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the weapon was found in March 2020, some three months after Ms Dunning’s brutal murder.

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Mark Brandford has been convicted of murdering 32-year-old Kayleigh Dunning in Portsmouth overnight on December 16-17 in 2019. Picture: Hampshire police

Prosecutors said the multiple blows she suffered were dealt with the crowbar.

In the year prior to her death, Brandford had ‘traumatised’ Ms Dunning by stealing her phone and then sending naked images of her to friends and family – all in a bid to drive her to him.

Senior prosecutor Lisa Garcia from the Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘Brandford’s actions show that he was clearly a controlling and jealous man.

‘The messages and Facebook account demonstrate his need for control and a complete lack of respect for the woman he planned to spend the rest of his life with.

‘We do not know what happened on the night of 16 December, only that at some point Brandford brutally murdered his fiancé in their bed and left for work the next day in a bid to hide what he had done.

‘Investigators and the prosecution team worked together to dismantle his lies using mobile phone evidence and DNA from the scene which proved beyond doubt that Brandford was the only person responsible for the tragic death of Ms Dunning.’

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In a statement, Detective Inspector Adam Edwards said: ‘We are pleased with today’s verdict and would like to thank all those involved in this investigation, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the person responsible for Kayleigh’s death was brought to justice.

‘Kayleigh has been described by those that knew her as an outgoing, chatty and passionate young woman. Our thoughts remain with her friends, family and all those that knew her today.’

In December 2019 Kayleigh's family, via police, said: ‘Our precious daughter Kayleigh Louise Dunning – taken so suddenly.

‘It has ripped our whole world apart. You never expect to bury your own child.

‘Her brother has lost his best friend. She was so kind and thoughtful. As long as her mum, dad and brother were fine she was happy.

‘The hardest thing is not being able to hear her voice and laughter, and not to cuddle her.

‘Our life will never be the same. We are devastated and only people who have lost a child would understand how we feel. There are not enough words to explain how we feel.

‘Rest in peace baby girl. You are always in our hearts and thoughts. We miss you so much.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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