THE SKULL of the teenager Billie-Jo Jenkins was so badly smashed that it was obvious she could no longer be alive, a court heard yesterday.
Denise Franklin, a neighbour called to the scene by the girl's foster father Sion, broke down in tears yesterday as she studied photographs of the scene she found in the family's garden.
Mrs Franklin told the jury at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex that her instinct was not to look at the dead girl because she was aware of huge amounts of blood around her head.
It was when she went to put the 13-year-old into the recovery position for injured people that she realised there was no point because her head was so badly damaged. "It was obvious that she couldn't be alive," Mrs Franklin said.
She told how when she arrived at the Jenkins's family home in Hastings, East Sussex, Billie-Jo was lying "remarkably flat, in the sense that she wasn't at all dishevelled", on the garden patio where she had been painting the doors.
The girl had been fostered by Sion Jenkins and his wife, Lois, for five years alongside their four natural daughters. She was lying in a pool of blood and part of a black plastic bin liner was pushed up her nose when she was found fatally injured in February last year.
Mrs Franklin said that as she attempted to tend to Billie-Jo, Mr Jenkins was comforting two of his children, Annie, then 12, and Lottie, 10. Although she feared Billie-Jo was dead, Mrs Franklin still insisted that the ambulance should come in case she was wrong.
Mr Jenkins, 40, a deputy headmaster, denies murdering Billie-Jo. But the prosecution claims that nearly 150 microscopic specks of blood on his blue sleeve jacket and trousers prove he was the murderer.
Mrs Franklin told how later in the evening of Billie-Jo's death, the Jenkins family were at her home. Mr Jenkins refused to put on his jacket as they left, even though the temperature had dropped to nearly freezing.
The court heard that Mr Jenkins had not checked to see whether Billie- Jo was breathing before calling an ambulance. In a transcript of a call to the emergency services read to the jury,Mr Jenkins was heard to say: "Ambulance ... my daughter's fallen, or she's got head injuries. There's blood everywhere."
The operator asked if she was breathing all right. "I don't know, I haven't looked," he said.
Mr Jenkins was given instructions on putting Billie-Jo in the recovery position and was told to call again if she was not breathing. The court heard that after Mrs Franklin arrived Mr Jenkins dialled 999 again, eight minutes after his first call.
The court also heard from Robert Megit, an administration officer at William Parker School in Hastings, where Mr Jenkins was deputy head teacher. He delivered some papers to the Jenkins' home shortly after the discovery of Billie-Jo's body, but was told nothing of the drama inside. Dr Megit said he handed over the envelope of papers and Mr Jenkins closed the door without saying anything. The case continues on Monday.
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