'Rot in hell' - Linzi Ashton's family clash with rape and murder accused
11:04am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A MAN accused of raping and murdering a mother-of-two was told: "Rot in hell, you f****** rat!" as he appeared in court.
Michael Cope, aged 28, clashed with members of his alleged victim's family, who were sitting in court, as he entered not guilty pleas to assaulting and rape via video-link from jail
He pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one of rape relating to Linzi Ashton, aged 25, in the months before he allegedly murdered her.
The single charge of murder, on June 29, was not put to the defendant during the brief hearing at Manchester Crown Court.
As he entered his not guilty pleas to the other charges, two female members of Miss Ashton's family burst into tears.
Judge Robert Atherton asked them if they would prefer to leave the courtroom.
Cope then said: "It's the truth", and a man with Miss Ashton's family shouted: "Rot in hell, you f****** rat!"
He left the court as Judge Atherton said: "I'm not prepared to have that language in my court."
Miss Ashton, a barmaid, was discovered with multiple injuries at her home in Winton, Salford, on June 29.
Cope was remanded back into custody and the case was listed for a further hearing on November 11. A trial is scheduled to begin on January 20 next year.