Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man. Previously this month, we have remembered Rosemary Gill, Laura Davies, Lisa & Ava Anthony, Carol Milne, Hollie Gazzard, Tracy Baker, Celine Dookhran, Suzie Morl, and on the 25th of July, Amal Abdi, who was four months pregnant at the time of her murder.
Today, the 28th of July, we remember Linzi Ashton - who was murdered in June 2013 and had two daughters, then aged just two and seven years old.
Linzi worked as a barmaid and was very well-liked by all who knew her. Previously she had a relationship with Michael Cope, who had a long history of seriously abusing women, but as his behaviour became more controlling, Linzi decided to end the relationship. Cope then went on to murder Linzi, went "on the run", and was featured on BBC Crimewatch. Cope eventually gave himself up to the police and was charged with Linzi's death. At his trial, the Manchester Evening News reported this :
Linzi Ashton, a mum-of-two, was found dead at her home at Westbourne Road, Winton, Salford, on June 29. At the time of the killing, her ex-boyfriend Cope was wanted on suspicion of raping and assaulting her.
Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, told the court that the killer had a history of violence – and had made chilling threats towards his final victim Linzi. He will be sentenced to life at 10.30am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Miss Blackwell told the judge, Mr Justice Parker: “We will be inviting Your Lordship to take into account all the circumstances – including the defendant's background, his antecedent background, including previous offences of violence against a stranger and family members alike, the violence against two former partners, including, in the case of both of them, strangulation.
And, (of course) the abuse suffered by Linzi Ashton in the months leading up to her murder – including two offences of strangulation accompanied by threats made by the defendant that he was prepared to kill her and do the time for the crime.” Miss Blackwell said that the prosecution did not argue that Cope murdered Linzi to prevent her from pursuing the rape and assault allegations against him.
However, the prosecutor said it was 'an aggravating feature' that Cope was 'wanted for the offence of rape and unlawfully at large at the time the murder was committed'. The attacks on Linzi that Cope is charged with dated back to March last year – three months before she died.
The prosecutor also stated that Linzi had been punched, kicked, stamped on, cut with a blade, beaten with a metal pole and strangled with a cable tie, suffering 108 injuries to her head and body.
In sentencing, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker told Cope:
"There is no doubt you set out most deliberately and in a callous manner to kill your victim. This was a savage and sustained attack on a defenceless woman in her own home. The injuries that were caused were truly horrific and it is difficult to imagine the suffering, mental and physical, she must have endured as you brutally beat her to death - you violently took the life of a young mother.
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph