'I think I've killed her': Father-to-be's text message 'after kicking and stamping his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend to death in alcohol and drug fuelled rage'
Tony McLernon accused of
killing Eystna Blunnie, 20, in Essex
The couple had recently broken up after an abusive relationshipChelmsford Crown Court hears Miss Blunnie had been heavily pregnantMcLernon, 24, from Harlow, denies murdering his former girlfriend
11:41 GMT, 20 February 2013
12:09 GMT, 20 February 2013
A man beat his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend to death and killed their unborn child in a 'brutal and sustained' attack, a court has heard.
Fuelled by alcohol and cannabis, Tony McLernon arranged to meet Eystna Blunnie in a street in Harlow, Essex, in the early hours of June 27 last year, prosecutor Andrew Jackson told Chelmsford Crown Court.
The couple had recently broken up after an abusive relationship and he knew she was pregnant with his child.
Brutal: The body of pregnant Eystna Blunnie, pictured, was found dying on the side of a road in Harlow
On trial: Tony McLernon is accused of killing Eystna Blunnie and her unborn child in Harlow last year
Opening the trial, Mr Jackson added: 'He repeatedly kicked and stamped on her in an act of brutal and sustained violence.
'He knew he was not only killing her but their unborn child as well.'
After the killings, McLernon hid in nearby woodlands and sent a text message to his father saying: 'I'm scared.'
He later spoke to his father on the phone and told him: 'I think I've killed Eystna,' the court heard.
McLernon, 24, from North Grove,
Harlow, denies murdering Ms Blunnie and a charge of child destruction by
wilfully causing the death of an unborn child.
Miss Blunnie, 20, who was due to give
birth within days, was found with severe head and facial injuries in Harlow, just minutes from her home. She was taken to hospital but died.
Investigation: Police outside the home of Tony McLernon last year
Distraught: People lay flowers on the side of a main road in Harlow near to where Eystna Blunnie and her unborn baby were brutally beaten to death
Grief: Two friends console each other beside tributes to the college student who was due to give birth
Residents living nearby reported hearing screaming and punching noises on the morning of the alleged attack.
The catering student, who also worked
as a barmaid and waitress, met McLernon in 2010 and by April the
following year they were in a relationship.
By July they were engaged to be married and in October she discovered she was pregnant.
Tragic: More friends of Eystna Blunnie, lay floral tributes at the scene. They have also written messages of condolence on Facebook
But Mr Jackson told jurors: 'It was a
relationship marked by controlling, bullying and violent behaviour on
the part of this defendant towards Eystna.
'Within a month of the relationship
beginning, family members saw Eystna with bruising to her arm and within
that bruising they saw the outline of knuckles.
'Eystna firstly blamed a dog for the
bruising but later said it was sustained during ‘play fighting' with
this defendant, saying he had been teaching her to defend herself.'
Shocking: A mourner reads some of the touching messages left at the spot where Miss Blunnie was found
On another occasion she said she had
been bruised after falling out of bed, jurors were told. There were also
reports of him trying to strangle her.
As time went on, Miss Blunnie became 'detached and distanced' from her family, rarely spending time at home.
Mr Jackson added: 'When family members did see her it appeared as though she had been sleeping rough.
'She told her mother: “I can't take it any more, I can't take the rows over stupid things”.'
Despite her fears, Ms Blunnie had
returned to live with McLernon early in 2012. By April last year, Mr
Jackson said, their relationship had reached 'a considerable and violent
Police were called to find Ms Blunnie
with visible bruising and she told officers they had argued all night
with McLernon saying: 'The child is not mine. I could do better than