A MAN has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend in a jealous rage after she "accidentally called him a pet name she used for someone else".

Mark Brandford, of Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, was today found guilty of 32-year-old Kayleigh Dunning’s murder by a jury sitting at Portsmouth Crown Court.

He denied killing Kayleigh, who was found in his flat on Kingston Crescent with fatal sharp and blunt force injuries to her head and neck by paramedics shortly before 10pm on December 17, 2019.

The court heard how Brandford stabbed and used a crowbar to murder Kayleigh while she was naked in his bed on the night of December 16, 2019.

Daily Echo:

Kayleigh Dunning

The 49-year-old road sweeper was also convicted 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.

Brandford is due to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, February 26.

Kayleigh failed to turn up to work on the morning of December 17, and did not respond to messages and calls from family, friends and employers.

Kayleigh was reported missing by her father that afternoon. 

During the trial, prosecutor Simon Jones QC told the court how Brandford had proposed to Kayleigh on the evening of December 16, before posting photos of a “seemingly happy-looking Kayleigh” on social media and telling numerous acquaintances that she had accepted his proposal.

The next morning, on December 17, jurors were told how Brandford had left his flat early, returning later that evening at 9.39pm to make a “sham” 999 call reporting the discovery of Kayleigh’s body, in which he “was going through the motions of the grief-stricken fiancé.”

Mr Jones added that Brandford could be “highly jealous” and had confessed to being angry when Kayleigh had accidentally called him the pet name she used for her other lover.

Daily Echo:

After today’s verdict, Detective Inspector Adam Edwards, Senior Investigating Officer for the case, said: “We are pleased with today’s verdict and would like to thank all those involved in this investigation, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the person responsible for Kayleigh’s death was brought to justice.

“Kayleigh has been described by those that knew her as an outgoing, chatty and passionate young woman. Our thoughts remain with her friends, family and all those that knew her today.”

Following her death, Kayleigh's family released the following tribute:

“Our precious daughter Kayleigh Louise Dunning – taken so suddenly.

“It has ripped our whole world apart. You never expect to bury your own child.

“Her brother has lost his best friend. 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 and only people who have lost a child would understand how we feel. There are not enough words to explain how we feel.

“Rest in peace baby girl. You are always in our hearts and thoughts. We miss you so much.”