UK & World News
Linzi Ashton: Michael Cope Admits Murder
A man has admitted murdering his ex-girlfriend in a "dreadful and violent attack" in Greater Manchester.
Michael Cope, 28, pleaded guilty to the murder of Linzi Ashton and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, at the start of his trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Miss Ashton, 25, was found dead at her home in Winton, Salford, on June 29 last year.
A post-mortem examination concluded she died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.
Cope had a brief "acrimonious" relationship with Miss Ashton, who had two daughters, Destiny, seven, and Daisy, two.
Police said Miss Ashton had been the subject of a "vicious and sustained attack".
Cope spent nearly a month on the run following the killing, sparking a police manhunt.
Officers described him as a dangerous individual, who had a "history of violent and aggressive behaviour", and warned he should not be approached.
An allegation of rape, which he had denied, has been requested to lie on file.
The barmaid made complaints to Greater Manchester Police last April and May that Cope had raped and beaten her.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: "Having considered this case very carefully in line with CPS policy, we have asked the judge to order that the rape count lie on the court file.
"We have taken this step only after proper consideration of the views of Linzi Ashton's family members on this matter."
Ruth Mann, senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West, 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 on Saturday June 29 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 and we have worked tirelessly to build a strong case against him.
"Today he has admitted to her murder and he has been brought to account for his reprehensible actions.
"This is a very sad case and today's outcome can in no way address the pain felt by the friends and family of Linzi Ashton.
"I would like to offer them my deepest condolences and my thoughts are very much with them at this time."
In a statement issued shortly after Miss Ashton's death, her family said: "She was the most beautiful, generous, caring person anyone could ever wish to meet.
"She would never harm anyone and was always there for her children and family."
Cope is to be sentenced on Tuesday.
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