Family's tribute to daughter as man convicted of manslaughter
- Credit: Essex Police/Supplied the family
A man has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a Clacton woman following a three month trial into her death.
Bobby Nethercott of Park Square East, Jaywick, was convicted today at Chelmsford Crown Court, following the death of Michelle Cooper on April 25 2021.
Her mum has paid tribute to her "energetic and optimistic girl" after the hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.
She said: "We will always remember Michelle as the happy, energetic and optimistic girl she was. Someone who would light up a room and fill it with energy.
"Before her tragic death, Michelle had so much to look forward to. She enjoyed working at the local pub and teaching exercise classes: a fitness fanatic who loved sharing her passion for exercise with others.
"Michelle was a big part of the local community and her death has been far reaching. She was loved and is missed by so many.
"But most heart-breaking of all, Michelle has left behind her three beloved children, never seeing them grow up. And she’s been deprived of being a grandmother, something she would’ve loved.
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"She was the most caring and generous person. If you ever needed anything, she was always there for you. She spread so much joy.
"But our family has been left feeling empty, our lives are never going to be the same again.
"She was literally the rock in our family and everything has changed.
"Now that the trial into Michelle’s death has come to an end, our family can begin to grieve and start the almost impossible task of rebuilding our lives.
"Having to sit in court and hear the details of what happened to Michelle, causing her death that night, have been horrific and will live with us forever.
"It is something we think about every single day.
"We would like to thank Essex Police for their efforts in this investigation.
"DCI Louise Metcalfe and her team have been really good to us and we recognise all their hard work. We are grateful to our Family Liaison Officer, DC Simon Laurie, who has assisted and supported us through every step of the investigation and trial.
"The staff at Colchester Hospital were so good to us and tried their best to save Michelle.
"We want to thank those who helped Michelle on the night she died: they gave us the opportunity to say goodbye."
The jury also found Nethercott guilty of two counts of ABH resulting from the same incident.
Nethercott’s co-defendants in the manslaughter trial, Jordan Stanley and Charlie Whittaker, were found not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of two other assaults.
A woman, Demi Cole, was also found guilty of ABH in connection with the incident.
Michelle Cooper, who was from Clacton, was part of a group involving Nethercott who had gone for drinks at The Never Say Die Public House in Broadway, Jaywick, on Friday, April 23 2021.
After the group left, they made their way to a house in Beach Way.
What started as a play fight inside the property, saw Whittaker, Stanley and Nethercott punch and kick one of the guests.
When it spilled out into the street, Cole joined the others in attacking the man.
The same three men then attacked a teenage guest, assaulting him in the street. A woman who went to his aid was punched to the face by Nethercott.
As the group made their way further down Beach Way, Michelle was set upon by Nethercott.
The court heard he continued to kick her whilst she lay defenceless on the ground.
A woman who went to the mum-of-three's aid was also attacked by three of the defendants.
An ambulance treated the at the scene for a serious head injury after she lost consciousness, before conveying her to hospital.
When officers arrived at Beach Way, they arrested Stanley and Cole on suspicion of attempted murder and they were released on bail. Nethercott, also arrested at the scene, remained in custody.
The jury heard how Michelle’s condition rapidly deteriorated, and she was placed into an induced coma upon arrival at the hospital.
The 40-year-old, never regained consciousness and, sadly, died of her injuries in hospital on Sunday, April 25.
Nethercott, 31, Jordan Stanley, 20, of Masterman Road, London, E6, and 20-year-old Demi Cole, of Beach Way, Jaywick, were all later charged with her murder, as was 23-year-old Charlie Whittaker, of Bemerton Gardens, Kirby Cross, who was arrested in Kent in June.
They all denied the offences.
During the three-month trial, which started on Monday 6 December, new charges of manslaughter were laid for Nethercott, Stanley and Whittaker on the judge’s direction meaning all four were not guilty of murder.
Jordan Stanley and Charlie Whitaker were found not guilty of manslaughter.
Nethercott, Stanley and Whittaker remain in custody and will be sentenced with Cole on Tuesday, April 5, at Chelmsford Crown Court.