Police to ‘review’ Mansfield death after woman is cleared of boyfriend’s murder

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Police say they are to ‘review’ the case of murdered Mansfield man before making a decision on whether they will continue their investigation after his girlfriend was acquitted.

A jury found Michelle Swift (49) not guilty following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.

Mr Blankert (48), of Ladybrook Place, died in December last year from injuries he sustained during a brutal attack.

Charged with murder, Miss Swift had already faced trial in the summer from which a jury failed to reach a decision.

But following Friday’s verdict, she has since been released, and the police say they will consider their next step in the investigation.

Following the conclusion of the trial, DCI Tony Heydon, said: “The police and the Crown Prosecution Service built a case and believed that Emiel Blankert had died after he had sustained injuries thought to have been caused by Michelle Swift.

“That evidence was put before a jury who failed to reach a verdict after two-and-a-half weeks.

“Disappointingly proceedings have now concluded without anyone being convicted. The trial Judge has decided to release Michelle Swift unconditionally.

“The death of Emiel Blankert will be referred to the coroner to consider an inquest.

“As always we are in touch with Emiel’s family in Holland and they will receive the best possible support by the Dutch victim support scheme. Our thoughts are with them at this time.”

Over the course of both trials, the court was told about the violent 17-year relationship between Mr Blankert and Miss Swift, in which both had instigated fights.

Mr Blankert had taken several blows to his body, including one that ruptured his bowel which led to his death in hospital four days later. It was thought that he had either been stamped on hard in the stomach or hit with a weapon.

CCTV footage taken from around the parade of shops in which he lived above showed that he was clearly injured after emerging from his flat on Sunday, 15th December last year.

Miss Swift’s barrister, Michael Auty, suggested that Mr Blankert could have been attacked by a gang who set upon him in an alleyway or walkway or on a stairwell not covered by the cameras.