Michelle Swift went ‘one step too far’ with her assaults on Emiel Blankert, Nottingham Crown Court is told

Nottingham Crown COurt.
Nottingham Crown COurt.

An alcoholic Mansfield couple were locked in a relationship of violence against each other that went one step too far.

That was how Dutch man Emiel Blankert (48) met his death at the hands of his girlfriend, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Timothy Spencer, QC (prosecuting) was giving his closing speech in the trial of Michelle Swift (49), who denies murdering Blankert at their flat in Ladybrook Place, Mansfield last December.

Mr Spencer said “violence broke out on a regular basis” during the 17-year relationship of Swift and Blankert, even though they were soulmates.

“Initially, it is clear that she was the victim and he was the perpetrator,” he said. “But as time went on, the tables turned, and she was dominant.”

As part of a pact between them, they protected each other and refused to explain Mr Blankert’s injuries to anyone, often saying he had fallen over while drunk.

“It was their way of not disrupting the relationship,” said Mr Spencer.

However, on the afternoon of Monday 9th December, Swift inflicted a minimum of nine blows on Mr Blankert, claimed Mr Spencer.

Four were to the head area, one to the leg and four more to the chest, ribs and abdomen. One of the blows ruptured his bowel, which led to his death in hospital four days later.

“Almost the whole length of his body suffered,” said Mr Spencer. “There was a persistence and a vindictiveness about the attack.

“We do not allege that Swift intended to kill Mr Blankert. But she did intend to cause serious bodily harm -- and on a man who was offering no resistance, and was effectively passive.”

The court heard that, after the alleged attack by Swift, Mr Blankert went out to visit a nearby pharmacy, draw money from a cashpoint and then spend more than hour in The Ladybrook pub. This was confirmed by witnesses and/or footage from CCTV cameras on the Ladybrook Estate.

Mr Spencer dismissed as “fanciful” a claim by the defence that it was during this time, while out of view of CCTV cameras, that he received his injuries -- from “a mystery attacker or mystery group of attackers”.

“It is impossible,” said Mr Spencer. “He would have been spotted.

“He also would have freely told his soulmate when he got back to the flat and said that he needed attention. But he didn’t.”

Furthermore, Swift later told police he had not complained to her of being assaulted.

“How can that fit with what is being claimed?” asked Mr Spencer. “In fact, she didn’t want the police to think there had been an assault because she had done it and she knew that an investigation by the police would have led to her.”

Mr Spencer also pointed to evidence that a neighbour had heard Swift banging and shouting at the time of the alleged attack in the flat.

As Mr Blankert’s condition deteriorated, an ambulance had to be called to rush him to hospital, the court heard.

“If he had been attacked by a mystery person, here was his chance, in hospital, to say so,” said Mr Spencer.

“But he couldn’t even remember when it happened or on which street. He was being protective of his real attacker in the way he had been in the past.

“He was being loyal to Michelle Swift, his soulmate, up to the last. A loyalty that, sadly, has not been reciprocated in court.”