Kayleigh Dunning: Partner guilty of marriage proposal murder

Kayleigh Dunning: Partner guilty of marriage proposal murder

A man has been found guilty of murdering his partner with a crowbar on the night he said they got engaged.

Kayleigh Dunning, 32, was found dead at Mark Brandford’s flat in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, in December 2019.

Brandford, 49, had denied “lashing out in anger” over her relationship with another man.

The road sweeper was also found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court of previously disclosing private sexual images with intent to cause her distress.

He will be sentenced on Friday.

Ms Dunning suffered fatal “sharp blunt force injuries to the head and neck” on the night of 16 December, the court heard.

Brandford went to work the next morning and announced the couple had got engaged, the jury was told.

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said he returned home and made a “sham” 999 call to report finding his fiancee lying in bed with “blood everywhere”.

Ms Dunning had sent affectionate text messages to another man shortly before she died, Mr Jones said.

The barrister suggested Brandford may have “lashed out” after becoming aware of the texts on his “special night”.

The court also heard the defendant previously shared “private sexual films” from Ms Dunning’s phone without her consent over a 13-month period.

He also set up a Facebook account in Ms Dunning’s name which showed “intimate photos” of her, jurors heard.

The court was told he sent her “deeply unpleasant” messages and made her think they were from an enemy.

These photos and messages caused Ms Dunning so much distress she needed medication for depression, Mr Jones said.

He told the jury: “This was a defendant who sought to control Kayleigh… [and] who ultimately had the view that if he could not have Kayleigh Dunning then no one else could.”

Lisa Garcia, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Ms Dunning had been “traumatised by… a controlling and jealous man”.

In a statement after her death, Ms Dunning’s family said their lives had been “ripped apart” by the loss of a “kind and thoughtful” daughter and sister.

Leave a Reply