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Michael Cope has been jailed for the brutal murder of a mother-of-two in Salford.

Michael Cope went on the run while relatives found 25-year-old Linzi Ashton’s battered body at home.

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Cope (born 28/2/1985) of no fixed abode, was jailed today, Tuesday 21 January 2014, for the murder and three assaults of Linzi Ashton at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square after he pleaded guilty.

He has been sentenced in total for a minimum term of 27 years in prison.

Cope and Linzi had been in a tempestuous relationship for a number of months prior to her death on Saturday 29 June 2013.

The night before her death, the pair had gone to a friend’s house and called a taxi to Linzi’s home on Westbourne Road at about 2am.

A neighbour was woken up a short time later after he could hear a man shouting next door. He could hear items being thrown and what sounded like a violent struggle around the house.

When relatives struggled to get hold of Linzi, her sister took her partner and the father of one of Linzi’s daughters to the house.

Inside, they found blood in the hallway, stairs, and found Linzi’s body in her room.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination revealed a catalogue of injuries. She had two separate fractures to her right arm, a fractured left elbow, a broken nose, several cuts to her head and bruising all over her body.

The cause of death was pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

Cope, who was already wanted by police for rape and three assaults on Linzi, went on the run to avoid capture by the police.

The month-long manhunt spanned Salford and Leigh, where Cope went to a relative’s house and called to give himself up to officers.

Superintendent Wayne Miller said: “The family of Linzi Ashton remain heartbroken by what has happened. Michael Cope not only took away a life in its prime, he has deprived two young girls of their mother.

“He carried out a brutal murder and then left relatives to find her body.
The level of violence was shocking, and nobody deserves such a fate. Our thoughts go out to all of Linzi’s family and friends.

“It took Cope one month to give himself up to police, but that was only after a major manhunt where officers were searching neighbourhoods, forest and canals, and the net was closing in on him.

“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 IPCC investigation, and it would be inappropriate to make any comment about this while this investigation is ongoing.

“We continue to learn lessons to better protect victims of domestic abuse and give victim’s the confidence to report. We await the outcome of the IPCC investigation.

“We remain committed to protecting vulnerable victims. The lessons learnt from the tragic murder of Clare Wood resulted in the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law), which was piloted in Greater Manchester and is being rolled out nationally. Anyone who is suffering domestic abuse, or knows someone who is a victim can call police on 999 or 101. Alternatively Women’s Aid can be contacted on 0800 2000 247.”

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