The family of a beloved mum of two axed to death and abandoned in a makeshift grave have spoken of their “torture” caused by her cruel murderer.
Andrew Burfield, 51, was today sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Katie Kenyon and will serve at least 32 years.
In the wake of the murder Burfield sent text messages to her family in a ruse to suggest she was still alive but was later arrested by police and accused of murder.
Earlier this week he had changed his plea to guilty with the judge describing him as “highly dangerous”.
Following today’s sentencing Katie’s devastated family shared an emotional statement on the toll her brutal death has had on them all, including her children.
It spoke to the hurt they endured on seeing the injuries inflicted on her by Burfield, who bludgeoned the 33-yeaar-old mum to death with the back end of his axe.
The statement read: “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.”
Quoting one of Katie’s sisters, whose name was withheld, it went on: “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.”
The family statement had begun by addressing the date of Katie’s murder. It read: “The 22nd of April 2022 is a date not one of us will ever forget, it is the day our beautiful Katie was stolen from us by Andrew Burfield.
“When the messages were received that afternoon we knew immediately 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 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.
“I will never forget the day DCI Davies from the police came to the house to tell us all he believed Katie was dead. It was surreal even though she had been missing for a few days.
“It was the news 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.”
The family added they visited the scene of the crime in the Forest of Bowland, Lancs, before then seeing Katie’s body in the morgue the next day, although they were not allowed to touch her.
They bravely attended the trial in an attempt to better understand her final moments at the hands of Burfield and to answer the many questions they had.
The statement added: “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.
“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.
“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 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 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 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.
“We miss her beyond words and we will never get over her loss.”