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Killer's brother tells his story.

Byline: KAREN PRICE

THE nation was shocked when seemingly respectable family man and deputy headmaster Sion Jenkins was convicted of the murder of his foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins.

While most people were concerned about the consequences for his wife Lois and their four children, Jenkins's younger brother Llewellyn was also suffering.

His life had also been turned upside down and the trauma eventually led to him suffering a nervous breakdown.

It is only now, five years after the murder, that he is slowly coming to terms with the situation.

Following his brother's arrest, he started keeping a journal and he has just published a book, Calico Boys, based on his experience.

``My behaviour since Sion's arrest simply reflected my role within the family: the peace-maker, the unifying element, the good listener, never judging, always willing to compromise, an open space into which others could vent their sorrows and frustrations. Which is okay up to a point, but you can lose yourself in there,'' he says.

Billie-Jo Jenkins, 13, was bludgeoned to death with an 18in metal tent spike as she painted the patio doors in the rear garden of her foster family's home in Hastings on February 15, 1997.

Sion Jenkins, who grew up in Aberystwyth, had become Billie-Jo's legal guardian two months earlier after fostering her since 1993.

He told police he had found her body when he returned home with two of his natural daughters after leaving her alone for 40 minutes.

But just weeks later he was arrested and charged with her murder.

He was given a life sentence after being convicted of the crime.

Calico Boys, by Llewellyn Jenkins, has been published by Leaping Cat Press. The following paragraphs are extracts from the book.

On childhood: ``Sion lived outdoors. Shot through with curiosity and sharp as pepper, he had once, aged three and a bit, famously absconded through a side gate, to be brought home an hour later by the proprietor of a car showroom. He'd been found sitting in the front seat of a Bentley, gnawing on the steering wheel.''

On learning of the murder: ``I was in the bath, listening to the radio, when I heard that a girl had been murdered in Hastings.

``I think it was the following morning my Dad rang, telling me it was Billie. That's when it all changed, all our lives, forever.''

On early news reports: ``I sat cross-legged on the bed, trying to open a packet of biscuits I didn't want to eat, listening for news I didn't want to hear.

``As the kettle boiled, those grisly shots of my brother appealing for help at the news conference appeared; this was followed by a live broadcast from outside Hastings police station which anticipated him being charged with the murder of his foster-daughter.

``I muted the set and watched the pictures move across the screen like so many aqueous shapes. Searching my mind for a comforting thought, I found none and sank back on to the bed.''

On visiting Hastings police station as his brother was charged with the murder: ``A television crew exchanged cynical jokes; a sallow-faced photographer drew on a cigarette and laughed along.''

On visiting Sion in prison: ``He was sitting in the far corner, head down, enclosed in a glass-fronted cubicle. It was as poignant picture of separation as you'll ever see. When we reached him, he looked up with dull interest but didn't leave his chair; the angular bones of cheek and jaw didn't flinch.''

CAPTION(S):

VICTIM: Billie-Jo Jenkins; MURDERER: Deputy headmaster Sion Jenkins arriving at Lewes Crown Court, where he was convicted of the murder of his foster daughter
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 29, 2002
Words:608
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