Killer Michael Cope jailed for life after brutal murder of mother-of-two

Killer Michael Cope jailed for life after brutal murder of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton, January 21, 2014

by Paul McMillan

Michael Cope gets life sentence for Linzi Ashton murderA violent boyfriend who strangled and beat a mother-of-two to death was today jailed for life.Michael Cope was told he had carried out ‘a savage and sustained attack on a defenceless woman in her own home’, by judge Mr Justice Parker.

The 28-year-old inflicted 108 separate injuries on his victim who was punched, kicked, cut with a blade, beaten with a metal pole and strangled with a cable at her home in Winton, Salford.

Barmaid Miss Ashton, 25, was mother to Destiny and Daisy, aged seven and two, who had taken Cope back despite suffering months of domestic abuse, Manchester crown court heard.

Cope had twice tried to strangle her and she had been warned by a friend just months earlier: ‘He’s going to end up killing you.’

She had also accused him of rape and eventually reported him to police. But he talked her into retracting the statement and the pair continued their relationship in secret.

Cope, from Salford, was arrested a month after her body was found on June 29. He admitted murder and three counts of assault on Monday and was today jailed for life. A charge of rape was ordered to lie on file.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Parker added: ‘It is difficult to imagine the suffering, mental and physical, she must have endured as you brutally beat her to death.’

About 40 friends and relatives of Miss Ashton were in court and cries of ‘yes’ could be heard from the public gallery when the sentence was passed.

Cope smiled and turned towards them but, as he was taken down, male members of Miss Ashton’s family rushed towards him, punching the reinforced glass dock and shouting: ‘Rot in hell, you dirty f****** rat!’

Miss Ashton’s mother Philomena McMahon told the court: ‘Our lives are empty and dark without Linzi. She was the brightest light you could ever wish to meet.’

Outside she said the family were relieved ‘this terrible ordeal has come to an end’.

Ms McMahon added: ‘We can now start to get closure on the most traumatic year in all our lives. We all miss Linzi terribly, nothing will ever replace her.

‘She left behind two gorgeous girls who will always be reminded what a beautiful, wonderful, caring person she was.’

Supt Wayne Miller from Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Linzi suffered a history of domestic abuse with Cope, who wanted to manipulate her and wanted to control her. He was already wanted by the police when he carried out this hideous act.

‘The full contact police officers had with Linzi is being examined by an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation, and it would be inappropriate to make any comment about this while this investigation is ongoing.’

Domestic abuse victims, or anyone who knows one, can all police on 999 or 101 and Woman’s Aid on 0800 2000 247.

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