Mother of murdered Halifax woman Levi Ogden speaks of her killer's 'vicious temper'

The mother of a 26-year-old Halifax woman killed by her boyfriend has claimed he was abusive towards her for most of their relationship.

Tributes left at the scene of Levi Ogden's death in Halifax

Levi Ogden died while on a 'date night' in Halifax town centre with her partner Lloyd Birkby, 27, last November.

He flew into a rage and threw his mobile phone at her, causing a severe blow to her throat that resulted in a fatal brain haemorrhage.

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Birkby denied murder and was instead jailed for five years for manslaugher at Bradford Crown Court last month - but Levi's mother Clare Ogden believes his sentence was not long enough.

The couple lived together in Elland and had enjoyed dinner and drinks with friends on the night Levi died. They had been together for nine years and had two children.

But Clare says Birkby had a 'vicious' temper and had been emotionally abusive towards Levi for a long period of time.

Retail worker Claire, 44, who has four surviving children, said: "Levi was such a character, and an amazing mum to her two kids, who now sadly have to live their lives without her.

"He took her from us, but will be out in a few years to start his life again - it's pitiful.

"She was beautiful - although she never believed it herself - and I still can't believe she's gone."

Levi and Birkby had known each other since school and were a couple from the age of 17.

"At first I liked him," Clare said.

"He was a nice enough boy, and you could see that he made Levi happy.

"But as they got older, I didn't like how he treated her and tried to tell her she could do better."

Clare claims Birkby was 'manipulative' and liked to play 'mind games' with her daughter.

"He'd always break up with her, walking in and out of her life as he pleased, and call her nasty things.

"He'd even spit at her and on her windows, often losing his temper and trashing the house or emptying the wheelie bins everywhere.

"I didn't like it, but she always asked me to trust her judgement."

Levi and Birkby went on to have two children together, now aged six and three, who were 'her life'.

"She adored those kids," Clare said.

"They were always immaculate, with their hair nicely done and the cutest outfits.

"The kids were Levi's pride and joy - they were what she lived for."

Levi, a full-time mum, took pride in every aspect of her life, and enjoyed making her home look beautiful as well as her two children.

"Levi wasn't afraid of telling the truth - she had a big personality," Clare said fondly of her late daughter.

"She rubbed some people up the wrong way, but she was black and white and took ownership of everything she did.

"Everyone went to her for advice, and she would help anyone in need."

In the early hours on November 3 last year, Birkby and Levi got into a row after a night out.

After the mobile phone had caused severe damage to her artery when thrown at close range, Levi was discovered dying in the street and given CPR at the scene by a Street Angels volunteer - although it was sadly too late for her to be saved.

"I couldn't believe it when I got the call," Clare said.

"I knew he'd done something - but never imagined it would end like this."

Clare rushed to the scene and was told her daughter was unconscious and in a critical state - before the young mum was tragically pronounced dead in hospital despite the best efforts of medics.

"She'd called me at around 10pm that night asking if I wanted to join them for drinks - but I was so tired I said I'd catch up with her the next day," Clare said.

"The last thing she said to me was 'night Mum, love you'.

"For a while I couldn't stop thinking - what if I'd have gone, would she still be alive? But you can't do that to yourself."

Birkby was arrested at the scene and charged with murder the next day.

Clare was assured by the coroner that her daughter 'wouldn't have known what happened' - a small comfort in otherwise grave circumstances.

Birkby pleaded guilty to manslaughter on March 18 and was jailed for five years when he appeared at Bradford Crown Court via video link on April 8.

"When they told me how long he'd got, I couldn't believe it - none of us could," Clare said.

"I've seen burglars go to prison for longer than that, and people who evade council tax - it's disgusting.

"Our judicial system is terrible - it's not enough for the loss of my child.

"He'll be out in under three years, and he lives right down the street - who knows what he'll do?

"In court he said he has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old - but an 11-year-old isn't capable of what he's done, and I'm scared for what he'll do next when he loses his temper."

Clare thinks the outcome would have been different if the case had gone to trial and 'everything relevant' could have been used as evidence, and wants to appeal the sentence in Levi's memory.

"Levi had an incredibly good heart, and was a wonderful mum," Clare said.

"She'll never be forgotten, we'll make sure of that - but the family is definitely emptier without her."

The family have set up a petition to appeal Lloyd Birkby's sentence at https://www.change.org/p/justice-system-justice-for-the-murder-of-my-daughter-levi-ogden