'Jealous’ road sweeper killed girlfriend with crowbar on night he proposed

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3 min read
Brandford has been jailed for murdering Kayleigh Dunning. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)
Brandford has been jailed for murdering Kayleigh Dunning. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)

A road sweeper who murdered his girlfriend in a jealous rage after she texted her other lover on the same night he said he proposed to her has been jailed.

Mark Brandford, 49, unleashed a "brutal and ferocious attack" on Kayleigh Dunning, 32, on 16 December, 2019, crushing her skull and severing major artery in her neck.

He attacked her 30 times with a crowbar and stabbed her nine times.

Brandford was also convicted of revenge porn for having previously set up a Facebook account in the self-employed cleaner's name to send intimate pictures of her to her friends, family and colleagues.

Sentencing on Monday, Judge Timothy Mousley QC said the murder was "premeditated and planned" and told Brandford: "You have shown no emotion let alone any remorse.

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“Kayleigh was described by her friends and relatives as vulnerable, sensitive and needing guidance.

“Her mother says she was feisty and would not back down from an argument. She was popular and well-liked.”

Portsmouth Crown Court heard previously that 32-year-old Dunning had sent "affectionate" messages to another man, Dean Drooney, who she was still seeing.

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said Drooney had sent Dunning a message saying: “Night Noodle, wuv you”, to which she replied: “Night night, wuv you more Doodle, xxx”.

She had also referred to Brandford as Drooney.

The defendant told the court: "I was jealous because she had told me she had left him."

Kayleigh Dunning was brutally murdered by Mark Brandford. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)
Kayleigh Dunning was brutally murdered by Mark Brandford. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)
Mark Brandford, 49, was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court of murdering his girlfriend, Kayleigh Dunning. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)
Mark Brandford, 49, was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court of murdering his girlfriend Kayleigh Dunning. (PA/Hampshire Constabulary)

Jones said: "Mark Brandford’s jealousy ultimately led him to murder.

"She was the victim of a brutal and ferocious attack, namely blows to her head and neck which had crushed her skull and severed the major artery in her neck."

The court was also told that Brandford, of Portsmouth, previously set up the fake Facebook account to "control her".

The prosecutor said he sent sexual images of Dunning to her employers, including one of her naked and unconscious.

"The defendant was trying to create the illusion that Kayleigh had a stalker and that was something he could put the blame on to cover up for the murder," the prosecutor added.

The revenge porn left Dunning depressed and upset.

"I could have lost my job and I am so embarrassed by how many people are seeing intimate photos of videos of me, including my own brother," she told officers.

Brandford was convicted of her murder of and disclosing private sexual photos with intent to cause distress to Dunning between October 2018 and her death.

Dunning’s family said in a statement: "She was so kind and thoughtful. As long as her mum, dad and brother were fine she was happy.

"The hardest thing is not being able to hear her voice and laughter, and not to cuddle her. Our life will never be the same. We are devastated."

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