A man has admitted the murder of a woman whose body was found in a makeshift grave in a forest.
Andrew Burfield, 51, changed his plea to admit the murder of mother-of-two Katie Kenyon, 33, on the third day of his trial at Preston Crown Court.
He was re-arraigned on the charge on Wednesday morning and the jury in the case formally found him guilty.
His trial heard he killed Miss Kenyon, of Padiham, Burnley, on April 22 and buried her body in a grave, which he had dug the day before her death, in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.
He then sent messages to himself and her children from her phone, the jury was told.
Opening the trial on Monday, David McLachlan KC, prosecuting, told the jury Burfield was arrested following Miss Kenyon’s disappearance and interviewed four times, initially denying any knowledge of her whereabouts.
In his penultimate interview there was a “revelation” and his version of events changed, Mr McLachlan said.
Burfield, of Todmorden Road, Burnley, told police he had taken Miss Kenyon, who he had been in a relationship with since 2019, to Gisburn Forest for a picnic and she had “bet” him he could not hit her can of Coke with his axe.
The court heard he told police: “I went for the tree at the side of her and it, it hit her in (her) head.”
He claimed she had been hit with the back of the axe and she had no other injuries, but the jury heard a post mortem showed she was struck an estimated 12 times.
Miss Kenyon’s body was discovered by police on April 29.
Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Allen Davies said he and Miss Kenyon’s family welcomed the guilty plea.
He said: “Andrew Burfield is a man who has elected to run a trial despite the overwhelming evidence in this case – not only of the fact that Andrew Burfield has barbarically and violently killed Katie, he has also pre-planned what he was going to do, to an extent I have never seen in my entire police service.
“Through investigation we were able to establish that Mr Burfield had travelled up to Bolton-by-Bowland a day prior to Katie’s murder.
“He did that for the purpose of digging a shallow grave, which he would subsequently place Katie within.
“The extent of his planning went far beyond the night before.
“Three weeks previous to her murder he’d written messages that he’d gone on to send to her family and her children, knowing that his intention was to kill her.
“What I would like to point out and I don’t want to forget is that Katie is a happy, loving, mum of two children. She had her whole life ahead of her.
“Andrew Burfield is a cruel, vindictive man who has taken her life away from her and taken her life away from her children.”
Burfield is due to be sentenced on Thursday at 10.30am.