Teen was with killer the night he clubbed binman to death

Victim: Stephen Whitehead. (s)
Victim: Stephen Whitehead. (s)

A teenager has told a Preston Crown Court jury she was with a man the night he killed binman Stephen Whitehead with a sledgehammer.

The young woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she did not believe Aaron Jenkins (20) when he told her he had killed a man.

I didn’t think he was that sort of person. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. I thought he was trying to scare me or something

Teenager

Mr Whitehead (49) was found dead in the canteen at Pendle Skip Hire, Burnley, after being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer at the hands of Jenkins.

Speaking from the witness box during the murder trial, the youngster said Jenkins had asked her to go with him to Pendle Skip Hire in Balderstone Close, on July 27th last year, when he planned to steal a motorbike for a friend.

When they arrived at the recycling plant the woman said she stayed at the gate while Jenkins climbed over and went inside.

She told the court: “It was dark. I just stood by the gates in the pitch black. I was fair scared and terrified because I didn’t know if anyone was going to come out of the trees.

“I was telling him to hurry up because I wanted to go. He wasn’t answering his phone when I was ringing him and eventually he did answer and kept telling me I’m coming in five minutes, but he was longer than five minutes.

“Then he came back to the gates and told me the bike was too heavy and said he was going back to do something. He just climbed over the gates and we just walked and he was like, normal at first.

“As soon as we got onto the main road, that’s when he started looking around and being weird and then Aaron told me he thinks he’s killed someone.

“I didn’t think he was that sort of person. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. I thought he was trying to scare me or something.”

She said she was not sure whether or not Jenkins was telling the truth until she saw reports on Facebook and in the news that a man had been found dead at the plant where she and Jenkins had been.

She said: “I didn’t know what to do. I was panicking and really scared. He had killed a man and if I said summat [sic] he could do anything.”

The woman said Jenkins told her what to say when she was questioned by police but the interview was interrupted with news Jenkins had confessed to killing Mr Whitehead.

She said: “I felt relieved because I could get everything off my chest and I could speak up and tell them what I knew.”

The woman denies attempting to pervert the course of justice, and Jenkins, of Devonshire Road, Burnley, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. (proceeding)