Jealous lover GUILTY of murdering girlfriend after he sent sex tapes to her family to 'create illusion' she had stalker
A JEALOUS lover has been found guilty of murdering his partner after he sent sex tapes and intimate photos of her to her family to "create the illusion" she had a crazed stalker.
Evil Mark Brandford, 49, crushed Kayleigh Dunning's skull in a "vicious" attack the same night he proposed to her, having devised a "cold and calculated" plan.
In the year before he "brutally" murdered Miss Dunning, 32, he created the impression she had a mysterious enemy by pretending someone else had stolen her phone and using it to share explicit videos of the couple having sex.
Brandford, a street sweeper, sent the images to the cleaner's family and bosses as well as sending her anonymous threats including "I'm going to f**k you up big time".
On the night of December 17, 2019, Brandford subjected Miss Dunning to a "ferocious" and "prolonged" attack at his home in Portsmouth, Hants.
But the following morning, just after 5am, Brandford left the house to "create a facade of someone going about his normal day" by going to work, telling everyone he met about the engagement.
When he finally returned home and called 999 at 9.40pm, he "staged" a show by pretending to "go through the motions as this grief stricken fiancee."
At the end of last week Brandford was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Judge Timothy Mousley, QC, delayed the reporting of the outcome until 12:30pm – an hour after the verdict was read out – so Brandford, who remained in prison and did not attend due to a coronavirus scare, could be told.
Judge Mousley thanked the jury, and said: "It is obviously a huge responsibility for members of the public to decide these cases especially when they are so serious.
"You have given full care and attention to what I have already said is a serious case and you have assisted us in keeping the case going.
"There were times I thought this case would grind to a halt and that would be extremely unsatisfactory for everyone involved.
"Because the defendant couldn’t be contacted I made an order postponing the reporting of the verdict so his lawyers could tell him about it before anyone else."
'COLD, CALCULATED KILLER'
Brandford, who was arrested the night he called 999, became increasingly jealous of Miss Dunning's ex Dean Drooney and was incensed after she accidentally called him his pet name 'noodle'.
Simon Jones, prosecuting, said Brandford thought "if I can’t have her then no one else can" and attacked her in bed while she was naked, crushing her skull and severing a major artery in her neck through a number of heavy blows.
A crowbar was found near Brandford's home three months later.
Mr Jones said: "Mark Brandford is a cold, calculated killer who showed no emotion.
"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."
Images posted to Brandford's Instagram from the evening of Miss Dunning's death show her posing next to novelty balloons which said "Will you marry me?".
Where can you get help?
Woman’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
A year before her death Miss Dunning became the target of a revenge porn attack.
Mr Jones said: "Police couldn't find, at that stage, who was responsible. We now know who was responsible – it was the man who murdered her, Mark Brandford."
In the lead up to her death, videos of Miss Dunning having sex with Brandford were sent from her stolen phone to her bosses, her family, and Mr Drooney.
Miss Dunning was "very upset and distressed" and 'mortified' that indecent images were sent to her family.
Brandford sought to frame himself as a victim by telling police he had also received threatening messages.
He even told police he had called one of the numbers and had "heard voices at the other end".
Mr Jones said Brandford "might have planned the killing in a more sinister and pre-meditated way" due to the 'consistent way, over many months, he created the impression that someone else was out to get Kayleigh".
He told her that she wouldn't be working after Christmas and even told police prior to the murder that someone else was breaking into his flat.
Brandford will be sentenced on Friday.
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