A man who claimed he had accidentally killed his ex-girlfriend when throwing an axe has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years for her murder.
Andrew Burfield, 51, killed and buried 33-year-old Katie Kenyon in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, on April 22.
Her body was found a week later when he revealed its location to police.
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 can of Coke with it.
Andrew Burfield Lancashire Constabulary
A post-mortem examination revealed the mother-of-two, who began a relationship with Burfield in 2019, suffered at least 12 head injuries.
Burfield changed his plea to guilty on the third day of his trial at Preston Crown Court.
He was sentenced to life by judge Mr Justice Goose on Thursday.
The court heard after her death he used Miss Kenyon’s phone to send messages, drafted the month before her death, to her children and to himself.
On April 21 he travelled to Gisburn Forest with a set of ladders and spade he had borrowed from his parents.
He went back to the location the following day with Miss Kenyon, travelling in his Ford Transit van and stopping off at McDonald’s on the way, the court heard.
The jury in his trial was told Burfield spent just over 42 minutes in the forest, 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.”
He described Burfield’s guilty plea as “a final recognition your game plan had failed”.
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.
The axe used in the murder Lancashire Constabulary
He said: “It was a ferocious and cruel attack. You calmly placed her in a grave and covered her body.”
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.
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.”
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.”