‘Bully’ jailed for 32 years for murdering woman and burying body in forest

A “bully” who claimed he accidentally killed his ex-girlfriend when throwing an axe has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years for her murder.

The family of 33-year-old Katie Kenyon appealed for others with concerns about controlling relationships to contact police following the sentencing of her killer Andrew Burfield, 51, who murdered and buried the mother-of-two in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, on April 22.

In a statement read outside Preston Crown Court on Thursday, Detective Chief Inspector Allen Davies said: “Mr Burfield is a bully and controlled Katie throughout the relationship. She expressed concern throughout that relationship that Mr Burfield represented a risk to her and she expressed that to her family.

Andrew Burfield
Andrew Burfield was sentenced at Preston Crown Court (Lancashire Constabulary /PA)

“The family and myself would like to appeal to anybody who is out there to say if you are in a relationship and you have concerns about your partner or if you have concerns about anybody else, I would request and the family would request that you contact the police and make a Clare’s Law application.

“They’re very keen to ensure that nobody else is harmed in the way that Katie was harmed on this occasion.”

Burfield, of Todmorden Road, Burnley, initially denied murder and told officers he had accidentally killed Miss Kenyon, from Padiham, when he threw an axe after she bet him he could not hit a drinks can with it.

A post-mortem examination revealed the mother-of-two, who began a relationship with Burfield in 2019, suffered at least 12 head injuries.

The family of Katie Kenyon stand behind DCI Allen Davies as he reads a statement outside Preston Crown Court
The family of Katie Kenyon stand behind Detective Chief Inspector Allen Davies as he reads a statement outside Preston Crown Court (Eleanor Barlow/PA)

Burfield changed his plea to guilty on the third day of his trial, in what judge Mr Justice Goose described as “a final recognition your game plan had failed”.

The court heard that after her death he used Miss Kenyon’s phone to send messages, drafted the month before her death, to her children and to himself.

He dug her grave in Gisburn Forest on April 21 and returned with Ms Kenyon the following day, where he killed her and buried her body.

Sentencing Burfield, the judge said: “In your relationship with her before you murdered her I’m satisfied you were manipulative and controlling while she was vulnerable.

“She looked to you for love and support, in return you planned to carry out her murder.”

Mr Justice Goose said Miss Kenyon, who had two children aged 12 and 14, was told by Burfield he would take her to therapy on April 22, but instead he planned to kill her.

“It was a ferocious and cruel attack,” he said.

“You calmly placed her in a grave and covered her body.”

He said the murder involved “careful preparation, deception and destruction of evidence and then an obviously implausible defence that it was all an accident”.

In a statement which she read to the court, Miss Kenyon’s sister, Sarah Kenyon-Holden, said the family went through a “full week of torture” as police searched for her.

The axe used by Andrew Burfield
The axe used by Andrew Burfield in Miss Kenyon’s murder (Lancashire Police /PA)

She said: “Katie told us she wanted to stop Andrew Burfield from being able to do what he did to her to other women.

“She wanted to stop him. She wanted answers. This cost her her life.”

Miss Kenyon’s family applauded in court following the statement from her sister.

Tim Storrie KC, defending, said: “We wish to make it clear that to no degree does he avoid responsibility for what he did and for the turmoil he has wreaked on Katie Kenyon and the community in which she lived.”