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

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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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Man hunt as women attacked by stranger in London believed to be suffering mental health crisis

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Police urgently want to speak to Joe Xuereb who is wanted after a stranger attacked two women, they are both fighting for their life.

Joe Xuereb must not be approached he is highly dangerous, after an unprovoked random attack on two women in the street.

The two women are fighting for their lives after being attacked in the street by a stranger, and Joe Xuereb is currently a suspect and wanted by police in relation to the incident.

Xuereb is believed to have been suffering from serious mental health issues and members of the public should not approach him he is aged 27 and from Greenwich, southeast London.

The women were targeted in a “horrific” attack in Adderley Gardens in Greenwich on Sunday.

Officers were called at 12.10pm to find the victims, aged 30 and 64, suffering from injuries “consistent with a violent assault”.

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Dangerous prisoner fails to return after attending family funeral

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Police are appealing for help in tracing a Hollesley Bay prisoner who has absconded.

34-year-old Aaron Johnson was reported missing to police at 11.15pm  last night, Friday 17 August,.

Johnson had been granted a special purpose temporary licence to attend a funeral yesterday but failed to return to the prison as arranged. He was last seen in West London.

Johnson is serving a 9 year sentence for robbery, wounding and assault.

He is described as black, 6 feet tall, of medium build, and had a beard. He was wearing a black jacket,  blue jeans, white t-shirt and trainers.

Members of the public are advised not to approach him.

Anyone who believes they may have seen Aaron Johnson or who has any information regarding his whereabouts, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting CAD 480 of 17 August.

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Scott Findlay subjected young mother to harrowing sex attack & punched her while she cradled 6-week-old baby

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A MAN who raped a young mother and repeatedly punched her as she cradled a six-week-old baby in her arms has been jailed.

Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a “prolonged and harrowing” attack in front of her two young children.

Today, at York Crown Court, Judge Simon Hickey sent the 27-year-old, from Ferryhill, in County Durham, to prison for 15 years for offences including rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and threats to kill.

The court heard that the victim pleaded with Findlay, who was armed with a kitchen knife, for her children to be prevented from seeing the attack.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Katrina Meisuria, of Durham Constabulary’s Safeguarding Unit, praised the victim for her courage in giving evidence.

She said: “Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a prolonged, harrowing and violent attack in front of her two young children.

“It took great bravery by the victim to provide evidence at court reliving those events again.

“There is no doubt these crimes have had a life-changing effect on the victim and her children, but the conviction will provide the family with the opportunity to move forward”.

In a statement released through the police, the victim said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for me and my family.

“The incidents occurred only six weeks after the birth of my daughter who was in my arms as Scott Finlay repeatedly punched me about the head and my seven-year-old looked on in terror begging for him to stop hurting his mammy.

“No child should ever have to witness such an attack”.

She added: “My family and I are pleased with the outcome and relieved it is finally over and we can move forward to rebuilding our life”.

After a four-day trial at Durham Crown Court in May, a jury found Findlay guilty of three counts of rape, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of making threats to kill.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and criminal damage.

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