Pontypool teen, Jenna Brookfield was murdered by ‘calculating’ stepfather
10:21am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
MURDERED: Pontypool teenager, Jenna Brookfield, was murdered by her step-father Michael Baldwin in 2002
MICHAEL Baldwin was handed a mandatory life sentence after a jury found him guilty of murdering his teenage stepdaughter in 2003.
Baldwin, then 36, was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court of burying Jenna Brookfield in a shallow grave on a mountainside near Blaenavon.
During the seven-week trial, Baldwin said he and Jenna had argued frequently, and her death had come about accidentally after she pursued him up the stairs and he lashed out.
He started to drive her to the hospital, he said, but he had panicked and buried her near the roadside.
But the prosecution said Baldwin had strangled his step-daughter before using her “known antipathy towards him” to explain her death.
The cause of her death was never confirmed by post-mortem examination, but judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams said he was convinced the killing was a “spontaneous act” and not premeditated.
Jenna first went missing in September 2002, but her body was only found 12 weeks later, when Baldwin revealed its location to police in November.
In that time Baldwin had bought a mobile phone, and registered it with false details, before sending false messages and making hoax calls to give his family and police the impression that Jenna had run away.
Speaking after the verdict in 2003, Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Ronayne, who was in charge of the investigation, said of Baldwin: “I think he is a calculating, deceitful liar who is determined to try and cover his tracks and put his wife and his family through the most horrendous experience that can ever be inflicted on anyone.”
Baldwin’s tariff on his mandatory life sentence was reviewed by Mr Justice Griffith Williams, in 2007 – part of a wide-ranging review of tariffs imposed on murderers. He ruled Baldwin, who moved to Usk prison six months ago after serving a number of years in prisons in Somerset and Uttoxeter, should stay imprisoned until 2016 at the earliest – in line with the original sentence and taking into account time spent on remand.
If the parole board can be persuaded he poses no serious threat to the public at that time, he will be released.
But he will remain on perpetual life licence, and be recalled to prison if he breaks the conditions of his parole.
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