On a February afternoon in 1997, 13-year-old Billie-Jo Jenkins was viciously murdered in the backyard of her foster family’s home in Hastings, England. This senseless killing shocked the nation and began a painful saga of mystery and injustice that still lingers over two decades later.

The Murder of 13-Year-Old Billie Jo Jenkins

Billie-Jo Jenkins’Tragic Life and Violent Death

Billie-Jo Jenkins was born in March 1983 in East London to mother Deborah Barnett. Her father was in prison, leaving Deborah to raise Billie-Jo alone. By age 9, Deborah could no longer cope and Billie-Jo entered foster care.

She was placed with experienced foster parents Sion and Lois Jenkins along with their four biological daughters. This seemingly kind couple shared Billie-Jo’s surname but had no actual relation to her. In 1992, they moved to the coastal town of Hastings where Billie-Jo attended school and settled into the family.

On February 15, 1997, while painting patio doors alone at the Jenkins’ home, 13-year-old Billie-Jo was viciously attacked and beaten to death. Her foster father Sion discovered her lifeless body just after 3:30pm, brutally battered with an iron tent peg and sustaining over 20 forceful blows to the head.

This frenzied assault on an innocent girl shocked even veteran police officers. Yet troubling inconsistencies in Sion’s statements placed suspicion on him as the potential killer.

Sion Jenkins

That Saturday afternoon, Billie-Jo was painting patio doors at the Jenkins’ home. Sion Jenkins left around 2:30pm to go shopping with two of his daughters, while his wife Lois went on a separate shopping trip shortly after. Sion returned home first, around 3:30pm, and discovered Billie-Jo’s battered body in the back garden. She had been viciously attacked, sustaining over 20 injuries from repeated blows to the head with an iron tent peg.

The Case Against Sion Jenkins

As her foster father and the last to see her alive, Sion Jenkins immediately became the prime suspect in Billie-Jo’s slaying. Police arrested him just two weeks after the murder. The prosecution’s circumstantial case included:

  • Motive – Sion was allegedly abusive and angry over Billie-Jo’s bad behaviour.
  • Opportunity – He was alone with Billie-Jo before going shopping that day.
  • Bloody Clothing – Sion’s shirt contained over 150 blood spots that could not be explained.
  • Strange Actions – After finding her body, Sion oddly closed his car roof before calling the police.
  • Plastic Evidence – Plastic from Sion’s bucket was lodged in Billie-Jo’s nostril.

While largely circumstantial, this evidence painted Sion as the likely killer. But his defence maintained that the timid schoolteacher had no clear motive or forensic links proving his guilt.

The Trials and Tribulations of Sion Jenkins

Sion Jenkins endured not one but three agonizing criminal trials between 1998-2006 for the murder of Billie-Jo.

  • In the first trial in 1998, prosecutors convinced jurors of Sion’s motive and opportunity to kill Billie-Jo. After a 6 week trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
  • But in 2004 Jenkins was granted a retrial based on new forensic evidence. This ended inconclusively with a hung jury after 50 hours of deliberation.
  • third trial in 2006 also ended without a unanimous verdict. After serving over 6 years in prison, Jenkins was formally acquitted of murder.

But this legal rollercoaster had lasting impacts on Jenkins and his family, with huge legal fees and his wife later committing suicide.

a news paper cut - with heading - my husband the murderer - image of sion jenkins

An Alternate Suspect – The Mysterious “Mr. B”

With doubts around Sion’s guilt, many wondered – who really killed Billie-Jo? One intriguing figure is the elusive “Mr. B.” This unidentified man exhibited very strange behavior near the Jenkins home that day.

What raised alarm bells about Mr. B?

  • He had an odd fascination with plastic bags
  • Plastic debris was found in Mr. B’s clothing
  • Plastic was lodged in Billie-Jo’s nose when her body was discovered

While circumstantial, these bizarre coincidences point to the possibility that deranged Mr. B could have been the true killer. But with limited evidence and his identity protected, it remains speculation.

Seeking Closure: The Jenkins Family Perspective

For those who knew and loved Billie-Jo Jenkins, her murder left an irreparable hole in their lives. The Jones family has reflected on Billie-Jo’s death and the gruelling aftermath:

  • Billie-Jo’s mother, Teresa, has criticized the foster care system and questioned whether they failed to protect her daughter.
  • Sion’s daughter Annie Jenkins has said: “We have lost our faith and trust in the judicial system” after her father’s ordeal.
  • Most poignantly, Billie-Jo’s half-sister Tanya said: “For us it will never be over. We will always be left wondering just who it was who took our beautiful Billie away from us.”

Without a definitive resolution, Billie-Jo’s family continues to seek closure and justice for this senseless murder.

An Enduring Mystery

Over 20 years later, the brutal murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins remains an open wound for her loved ones and an unsettling mystery for the public. In many ways, the case raises more questions than answers. Who committed this heinous crime, and why? Was the prime suspect wrongfully accused, or did he escape true justice? Will advances in forensic science yet reveal the killer?

For now, the tragic death of Billie-Jo Jenkins stands as a chilling reminder of the undercurrents of violence in society. Cases like this teach us that we must continue striving to protect the innocent and pursue the truth – no matter how elusive. Though the passage of time fades our memories, we must never forget young lives cut short by unthinkable evil. Only by seeking justice for victims like Billie-Jo can we hope to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Where is Sion Jenkins Now?

After being acquitted of Billie-Jo’s murder, Sion Jenkins has tried to rebuild his life, though the past continues to haunt him. Currently, he resides in Hampshire with his new wife, Tina, having divorced his ex-wife Lois. Their marriage took place in 2005.

Prior to his acquittal, Siôn Jenkins served a total of six years in prison for Billie-Jo’s murder.

His quest for compensation for the time he spent in prison was met with refusal from the Ministry of Justice, despite his claims of innocence.

Siôn Jenkins’s interests include criminology, and he finds enjoyment in strolling along the seafront of the south coast. He also participated in local elections as a Conservative Party candidate.

Though Sion Jenkins has moved forward, the unsolved murder of his former foster daughter surely still weighs heavily on his mind, as it does for all who knew the bright young life of Billie-Jo Jenkins.

Remembering Billie-Jo Jenkins

Though her life was cut tragically short, we can piece together a picture of who Billie-Jo Jenkins was from the memories of those who knew her best.

By all accounts, Billie-Jo was a typical teenage girl in many ways. Friends described her as outgoing, boy-crazy, and obsessed with clothes and pop music. She had attended 5 schools by age 13, but made friends quickly with her bubbly personality.

However, Billie-Jo longed for a stable home life after years in foster care. She had a tumultuous relationship with her biological mother, craving attention but also resenting her mother’s inability to care for her.

At the Jenkins household, Billie-Jo seemed to finally find a sense of belonging. She grew close with her foster sisters and enjoyed helping Lois Jenkins around the house. She had lived there happily for 4 years by the time of her murder.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins

Q: How old was Billie-Jo Jenkins when she was murdered? A: Billie-Jo was only 13 years old when she was killed in February 1997.

Q: Where exactly was Billie-Jo murdered? A: She was attacked and killed in the back garden of her foster family’s home in Hastings, East Sussex.

Q: What weapon was used to kill Billie-Jo? A: She was battered to death with an iron tent peg, sustaining severe head injuries from repeated blows.

Q: Who discovered Billie-Jo’s body? A: Her foster father Sion Jenkins found her lifeless body when he returned home from an outing with his daughters.

Q: How many times was Sion Jenkins tried for Billie-Jo’s murder? A: Sion Jenkins faced three criminal trials between 1998-2006 but was ultimately acquitted of murder.

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