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Man sentenced to life in prison for killing partner with ornamental sword

Ronald Joseph Cooke claimed his partner had stabbed herself while he was driving.

SWORD The murder weapon Source: CPS

A 55-YEAR-OLD man with a history of domestic violence has been sentenced to life imprisonment in England after being convicted of murdering his partner.

Following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Ronald Joseph Cooke was convicted of murdering Tina Bellingham.

The court heard that Cooke drove to a doctor’s surgery in Rowley Regis on 6 February 2017, took Bellingham into the reception area and informed the staff she had stabbed herself.

Medical staff from the surgery began to administer first aid to Billingham until the emergency services arrived.

Paramedics transferred the victim to Russells Hall Hospital where she died from two stab wounds, one of which had pierced her heart.

Police officers arrested the defendant who claimed that while he was driving the victim stabbed herself in his van with an ornamental sword stick – a weapon where the sword blade screws into the scabbard.

The prosecution told the court that Cooke already had convictions for assault and actual bodily harm against two former partners.

‘Devastating impact of domestic violence’ 

Speaking after the sentencing, Giovanni D’Alessandro from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Ronald Cooke tried to evade justice by claiming the victim stabbed herself in his van whilst he was driving. This was a lie.

The defendant and Ms Billingham had been in a long-term relationship and on the day of the murder they had a verbal and physical altercation at home. This continued in the van and ultimately led to Cooke stabbing her twice.

“As this prosecution shows, domestic violence has a lasting and devastating impact on all those involved. We urge victims not to suffer in silence and seek help as soon as possible from the many support groups that are available.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms Billingham,” D’Alessandro said.

Cooke was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 24 years at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday.

If you have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to talk you can contact: 

  • Women’s Aid: 01 678 8858
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

Read: Reward offered after ‘vicious’ assault on pensioner in London

Read: Teenage boy found guilty of killing love rival at bus stop in Leeds

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