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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 18:56 GMT
Billie-Jo 'attacked by Jenkins'
Billie-Jo Jenkins
Billie-Jo was found battered to death at the family home
Two friends of murdered teenager Billie-Jo Jenkins have told how she confided in them that her foster father had punched her and scratched her neck.

Laura Jane Conway, now 22, told the Old Bailey the 13-year-old had come to school with blood on her face.

Holly Prior, also 22, said the teenager had told her Sion Jenkins had pushed her against a door and scratched her.

Mr Jenkins, 48, now of Lymington, Hampshire, denies murdering Billie-Jo at their home in East Sussex in 1997.

'Blood on shirt'

He is accused of battering the teenager to death with an iron tent peg while she painted patio doors at the house in Lower Park Road, Hastings.

The court was shown videos of interviews between Ms Prior and Ms Conway, then aged 13, which were made by police shortly after Billie-Jo died.

In them, Ms Conway described how Billie-Jo had arrived at school with scratches on her neck and blood on her face.

"She said she got punched in her nose by her dad. There was blood on her shirt and blood around her mouth."

Sion Jenkins
Sion Jenkins has remarried since divorcing Billie-Jo's foster mother

Ms Conway also told the court that on another occasion, about a month before she died, Billie-Jo had gone to school with her mouth bleeding because of a cut.

She also had bruises on her arms and legs, and allegedly told her friend: "I had an argument with my dad again. You can guess what happened."

Billie-Jo had also written "Hate" on her knuckles and "I hate my Dad" with Sion in brackets, Ms Conway said.

Holly Prior described how Billie-Jo had come to school wearing a scarf, and had shown her scratches on her neck and a bruise.

'Vein-popping' anger

"She said Sion was smacking Buster (her dog) and she told him to stop. He pinned her up against a door and told her it was up to him. He was really strict.

"She was really upset and crying. She told us not to tell anyone," she said.

Ms Prior described the marks as "really red and sore, as if she had been bleeding".

Earlier, Mr Jenkins' former wife Lois, 44, recalled how she had also seen the scratch marks, but Billie-Jo had told her she got them because she had been carrying her schoolbag the wrong way and another pupil had pulled it.

Mrs Jenkins also described the former deputy headteacher's "vein-popping" anger when he lost his temper with Billie-Jo.

She said he would sometimes flip and lose control, becoming "red in the face", but said she had never seen Mr Jenkins hit Billie-Jo or threaten her with violence.

The trial continues.

See more about what Billie-Jo's best friend told the court

Billie-Jo 'flirted' with Jenkins
11 Nov 05 |  England
Billie-Jo's head 'badly injured'
03 Nov 05 |  England

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