Road sweeper denies murdering girlfriend for texting her other lover

Ben Mitchell, PA

A 49-year-old man has denied murdering his girlfriend in a jealous rage because she texted her other lover on the night he had proposed to her.

Mark Brandford, of Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, Hampshire, is accused of using a crowbar to murder 32-year-old Kayleigh Dunning while she was naked in his bed on the night of December 16 2019.

Mark Brandford court case
Kayleigh Dunning (Hampshire Police/PA)

The road sweeper is also accused of a revenge porn charge of disclosing private sexual photos with the intent to cause distress to self-employed cleaner Ms Dunning between October 2018 and the time of her death.

The trial at Portsmouth Crown Court has heard that Ms Dunning had been seeing another man, Dean Drooney, at the same time as the defendant and she had sent her other lover “affectionate” messages in the hours before she was killed.

And she had even accidentally called Brandford by Mr Drooney’s name, the court has heard.

Brandford told the court: “I was jealous because she had told me she had left him.”

The trial has heard that the defendant had told friends that he intended to propose to Ms Dunning and on the night of her death he posted photos on social media of personalised balloons he had bought to ask her to marry him.

When asked by prosecutor Simon Jones if Ms Dunning had said yes to his proposal, Brandford replied: “Yes she did.”

The prosecutor described that on the night she died, Ms Dunning’s other lover, Mr Drooney, sent her a message saying: “Night Noodle, wuv you”, to which she replied: “Night night, wuv you more Doodle, xxx”.

Mr Jones asked the defendant: “Was this what angered you, that she was seeing Mr Drooney, and on your special night she was texting him saying that she loved him”, which Brandford denied.

Mr Jones continued: “Did she love you? You didn’t want to share her?”, to which Brandford replied: “I thought she did.”

Brandford also told the court that he was not responsible for sending the intimate photos of Ms Dunning or sending offensive messages to her using a phone that she had lost.

The defendant denies the charges.

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