MANSFIELD MURDER RE-TRIAL: Jury expected to retire today in Michelle Swift case

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The jury is expected to retire this morning (Wednesday) to decide on its verdict in the murder re-trial at Nottingham Crown Court of Mansfield woman Michelle Swift.

After more than two weeks of evidence, Judge James Stokes began his summing-up yesterday afternoon.

Swift (49) pleads not guilty to murdering her Dutch boyfriend Emiel Blankert (48) at the flat they shared above shops on Ladybrook Place, Mansfield on Monday 9th December last year.

A previous trial had to be aborted when the jury failed to reach a conclusion, despite 11 hours of deliberations.

The court has heard that the couple, who were alcoholics and heroin addicts, shared a love-hate relationship in which both used violence against each other, but both also protected each other.

The prosecution say Swift killed Mr Blankert with several blows to his body, including one that ruptured his bowel which led to his death in hospital four days later.

Swift denies this. Her barrister, Michael Auty (defending), has suggested that Mr Blankert could have been attacked by a gang who set upon him in an alleyway or walkway or on a stairwell while he was out that day.

In his closing speech, Timothy Spencer (prosecuting) described Mr Blankert’s death as “a tragedy that was bound to happen”.

“Their relationship was always going to end in tears one way or another,” said Mr Spencer.

“You could see the chapters unfolding. It was a relationship where they couldn’t live with each other, but they couldn’t live without each other either.

“They were bent on a course of self-destruction or mutual destruction. If only someone could have intervened.”

Mr Spencer said the jury had to decide who inflicted the fatal blows on Mr Blankert and, if it was sure it was Swift, then it had to decide the extent of her intent.

He urged the jury to set aside the emotion surrounding the case.

“You are required to take a cold, detached look at the evidence,” he said. “You have to strip away the emotion and try the case on the evidence.”