Emotional victim impact statement from family of Padiham murder victim Katie Kenyon following Andrew Burfield trial at Preston Crown Court
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Andrew John Burfield, who claimed he had accidentally killed Katie, his ex-girlfriend, when throwing an axe has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years for her murder.
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.
A family statement read: “The 22nd of April 2022 is a date that not one of us will ever forget. It is the day that our beautiful Katie was stolen from us by Andrew Burfield. When the messages were received that afternoon we knew immediately that something was not right. Katie would never have left her children like that and there was all sorts going through our heads. We went out looking for her almost straight away and we sensed then that Burfield was behind it.
“We then went through a full week of torture whilst the police searched for her. I cannot describe the anguish of not knowing where Katie was. Who could she be with? Where was she? Was she alive? Was she locked away somewhere and could not get out? We lived in hope that she would be found alive and that she was safe, it was a coping mechanism but with each police visit and the passage of time we knew deep down that the outcome was not going to be a good one. We were in disbelief that Andrew Burfield was capable of such a thing, we knew that he was not good for Katie but we never thought he would be able to do something so horrific to her and then keep her hidden from those who loved her.
“The intrusion from the press during this time was also difficult for us as a family. We were out of our minds with worry, we wanted space to gather our thoughts and be able to move between our homes and try to keep some sense of normality for all of the children but we felt unable to do this. The children could not make sense of what was going on around them and were asking hundreds of questions - we simply did not have many of the answers. We are incredibly lucky that we are a strong family and we drew on that strength to get through it together.
“I will never forget the day that DCI Davies from the police came to the house to tell us all that he believed that Katie was dead. It was surreal even though she had been missing for a few days. It was the news that none of us wanted to hear and to make it worse at that stage the police still did not know where Katie was. We simply could not face telling her children, DCI Davies had to do that for us. I cannot describe to anyone what that was like.
“Katie was finally found on the Friday evening. It had been the longest seven days of our lives. We felt that we had no choice but to visit the forest and see the location for ourselves as we knew if we did not do it then the press would do it for us, Katie's death had been so very public and has continued to be that way, it is so difficult to cope with everyone knowing all of the detail. It was awful to have to go up there, knowing that it was Katie's final journey, wondering what she was thinking and if she knew what was going to happen. I went up there with my sister and my mum. We all felt completely numb, it was unbelievable. Being there and seeing the area was totally heart breaking. There were a million thoughts going through our minds again. Did Katie suffer? Did she know what was going to happen? What had he done to her? It was so frustrating.
“We went to see Katie at the mortuary the following day. Her face was bruised but she still looked so beautiful, but she was behind glass. We could not touch her or hold her and it felt impersonal. I wanted to say goodbye to her, to say things to her and to hold her but we could not do any of this. Burfield even took that away from us all. Katie was kept in a closed casket because of her injuries and this prevented us from ever seeing her again or getting that time with her in a chapel of rest.
“We have not been able to know exactly what has happened to Katie until now and this has been so frustrating for us. We have had so many questions that we know we cannot have answers to and this is because we have had to be witnesses in the trial. It has been simply awful being told that we are not allowed to know what happened to Katie and how she died. The frustration from this has been unbearable and nobody should ever have to go through it. We knew we had to be strong as a family and just wait, wait for justice and be part of getting that justice for Katie and I am proud of us all for that.
“I cannot believe that we have been put through the process of a trial as a family. It has been a long, painful and heart breaking process which has brought anxiety to us all, you don't realise what it is like when you see it happening to others in the news. But it is nothing like we imagined, it is far worse. Whilst we were trying to grieve the loss of Katie we were giving statements to the police, taking our phones in to be examined, being asked the same questions over and over again and this included Katie’s children. Giving evidence is a terrifying thing to face but we would do anything to get justice for Katie. To hear a guilty plea at first was a relief but it is also not a relief in another way. We now feel that our voices have not been heard and we wanted to stand up and speak for our sister who is unable to now speak for herself. In our hearts we do not believe that Andrew Burfield pleaded guilty for Katie or for us but for himself.
“Katie's murder has had an indescribable affect on our family emotionally and things will never be the same again. I cannot put it into words. Every Christmas, birthday, holiday and other significant date or event will be scarred by Katie's absence and the reasons behind her absence. The most painful part of this is that is not Katie's choice. She did not choose to leave us, she was not unwell and it was not an accident. She was literally robbed of her life, we have been robbed of her by Andrew Burfield and the children have lost their mum because of him. Not only has he taken Katie from us but he has taken our lives as we knew them too. The very worst part of all this is that Katie’s children literally lost their mother overnight in the most horrific way. She did everything for them and was more than just a mum, she was their mum, dad and best friend all rolled into one. She did everything for her kids and would never have chosen to leave them. Katie was even a fantastic mum to Indie the dog. They all miss her terribly.
“Katie told us that she wanted to stop Andrew Burfield from being able to do what he did to her to other women. She wanted to stop him and she wanted answers and this cost her her life. We never believed that anything like this could ever happen to us, but it did. We still cannot quite believe it.
“Katie was beautiful and silly. The kids called her Auntie Crazy. She made some stupid decisions but she had a truly beautiful soul. She was always surrounded by children - her own and anybody else's who wanted to join in. She would take the kids and the dogs everywhere with her. She even tried to set up a summer camp for the local children so that they had something to do and somewhere to go. She loved the outdoors and she loved people. We miss her beyond words and we will never get over her loss.”