England

Linzi Ashton death: Michael Cope admits ex-girlfriend murder

Linzi Ashton Image copyright Police
Image caption Linzi Ashton's body was found at her home

A man has admitted murdering his former girlfriend in a "dreadful and violent" attack following sustained domestic abuse.

The body of Linzi Ashton, 25, who died from pressure to the neck, was found at her home in Salford in June last year.

Michael Cope, 28, of no fixed abode, had been due to stand trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Cope also admitted he assaulted Ms Ashton, causing actual bodily harm, in the weeks before he murdered her.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) previously revealed Ms Ashton, of Westbourne Road in Winton, reported that Cope raped and assaulted her in April and assaulted her again in May last year.

The judge ordered that the rape charge lies on file.

'Tragic loss'

The court heard Cope had tried to strangle two previous partners.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) started an investigation after Ms Ashton death, to look into the force's contact with the mother-of-two in the months leading up to her death.

The inquiry will determine whether police action was appropriate and whether policies and national guidelines were adhered to, the watchdog said.

Ruth Mann, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Linzi Ashton was the victim of deliberate and sustained domestic abuse at the hands of Michael Cope.

"This abuse culminated in a dreadful and violent attack... which resulted in the tragic loss of her life.

"We have been determined to bring Michael Cope to justice for the horrific way in which he treated Linzi Ashton.

"Today he has admitted to her murder and he has been brought to account for his reprehensible actions."

Cope is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

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