Billie-Jo's foster father 'had a violent streak'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sion Jenkins, the former deputy headteacher accused of battering his foster daughter Billie-Jo to death, had previously attacked the 13-year-old while on holiday, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

Sion Jenkins, the former deputy headteacher accused of battering his foster daughter Billie-Jo to death, had previously attacked the 13-year-old while on holiday, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

Mr Jenkins, 47, allegedly used a large iron tent peg to kill the girl at the family home in Hastings, East Sussex, in February 1997. He is facing a retrial for murder.

Jurors were told by the judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, that it was a "completely fresh start" and they must make up their minds solely on the evidence presented to them. Mr Jenkins, who lives in Aberystwyth, mid-Wales, denies murder.

The court was told on the opening day of the trial that Billie-Jo spent the morning of her death at the Jenkins family home where she lived with her foster parents and four sisters.

The teenager had been painting a door and may have made a mess, causing Mr Jenkins to lose his temper, the jury was told.

An 18-inch tent peg was used to beat the girl over the head at least five times.

There was evidence that the former teacher had previously lost his temper and used violence against Billie-Jo, it was claimed. Mr Jenkins was also under "considerable strain" because he had lied on his CV in which he fabricated and exaggerated his qualifications to get a new job as a headteacher.

The previous alleged assault happened in August 1996 when the family were on holiday with friends when Billie-Jo twisted her ankle. Peter Gaimster, who was on holiday with the Jenkins, reported hearing Billie-Jo crying and went to investigate.

Nicholas Hilliard, for the prosecution, said: "He went upstairs and saw the defendant kick Billie-Jo with full force on her injured leg. It is a particularly cruel thing to do, particularly to a child. Mr Jenkins is a big man."

The court heard that Billie-Jo moved in with the Jenkins in 1992 when they lived in east London. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Hastings.

The court was told that on the day before the murder Mr Jenkins and his wife, Lois, went out for a drink and argued about Billie-Jo.

Mr Hilliard said Mr Jenkins lied to police about his whereabouts at the time of the murder, only telling officers three days later that he was inside the house. "The defendant was the last adult to see Billie-Jo alive and the first adult to find her body," Mr Hilliard said. There was no sign that Billie-Jo was sexually assaulted and nothing was stolen.

Mr Jenkins said he left the house with two of his daughters to go to a DIY store and Billie-Jo must have been murdered after that point. When they returned, he went inside and found Billie-Jo's body.

The prosecution did not accept he had tried to do everything to care for her after finding her. When the ambulance arrived, he told police he went outside. But before he showed them where to go he said he got into his sports car to put up the roof.

The trial continues.