Mansfield murder victim ‘admitted to being attacked with a cricket bat’

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A woman who claimed to have had a four-week affair with Mansfield murder victim Emiel Blankert says he broke down crying and said his partner had attacked him with a cricket bat.

Julie Cope was put on the stand today, Wednesday 25th June, at Nottingham Crown Court for the trial of Michelle Swift (48), who is accused of murdering Mr Blankert (48) in December of last year.

Miss Cope says she embarked on the brief fling in September 2011, but said he would often turn up at her home and be ‘black and blue’ with bruising.

After initially denying it, she said Mr Blankert then began crying one day.

“His eyes filled up and I asked him to tell me what had happened. He said Michelle had done it, he said she had beaten him with a cricket bat.

“He said he did not want to go to the police, that it did not look right, a grown man going in to the police station and saying a woman had beaten him.”

Miss Cope said that whenever Mr Blankert spoke to Miss Swift on the phone he would be ‘on edge’.

But she said she accepted that he loved her, which brought the affair to a halt.

However, she said the next time she saw him his face was swollen and he admitted to her again that Michelle had done it.

“I asked him if he had been hit with a cricket bat again,” added Miss Cope.

“He said she hit him with whatever she could get her hands on because she was so angry.”

Under cross examination, Michael Auty QC, put it to Miss Cope that Mr Blankert had once been attacked by the partner of one of her neighbours who was related to Michelle Swift.

Miss Cope said she knew there had been words exchanged between them, but did not know about the assault.

Mr Auty said that was a ‘bare-faced lie’ before claiming Miss Cope had been angry that Mr Blankert had gone back to Miss Swift and was seeking revenge because of that.

He said: “You were a woman scorned and determined to get your own back on Michelle Swift and this is one way of doing that, is not?

Miss Cope responded: “No.”

He went on to suggest that Miss Cope even invented the relationship, calling it ‘pure fantasy’, after she said she could not remember him having tattoos, despite having them on his forearms.

He added: “You did not have a sexual relationship with Emiel Blankert at all did you?”

“I did,” she responded.

Michelle Swift denies attacking Mr Blankert in their flat on 9th December with such ferocity that his bowel perforated and bled to death days later.

The trial continues.