MANSFIELD MURDER RE-TRIAL: Woman denies murdering her Dutch boyfriend at their Ladybrook home

The re-trial started this week of a woman accused of killing her Dutch boyfriend at their home in Mansfield.

By News reporter
Tuesday, 11th November 2014, 11:17 am

Michelle Swift (49) pleads not guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to the murder of Emiel Blankert (48) at a flat above shops in Ladybrook Place on Monday 9th December last year.

The original trial, which was held during the summer, had to be aborted because the jury failed to reach a majority verdict, despite 11 hours of deliberations.

A fresh jury was sworn in on Monday before Judge James Stokes. In a hearing expected to last at least two weeks, they will hear evidence from several witnesses and also watch CCTV footage tracing key movements by Mr Blankert on the day he was assaulted by Swift.

Opening the case, Timothy Spencer (prosecuting) said Swift ‘delivered significant blunt-force injuries to Mr Blankert’s stomach area’.

“She may have used some sort of weapon or her feet and delivered one or two more kicks through stamps,” Mr Spencer went on.

“The result was serious internal injury that included a rupture of the bowel, which bled. The internal bleeding was not visible from the outside and neither Mr Blankert, nor Swift, realised how seriously injured he was.

“By the time he went to hospital later that evening, things had gone too far and he could not be saved, despite the best efforts of medical professionals.

“Mr Blankert’s life ebbed away and by 13th December, four days later, he was dead.”

Mr Spencer said the alleged murder was the culmination of a love-hate relationship between the pair that had lasted 17 years.

They had met in India, to where both travelled regularly, before settling in Mansfield, which was Swift’s home town.

“It was a relationship of marked contrasts -- genuine and deep affection but also violent conflict,” said Mr Spencer.

“Both were alcoholics and both abused drugs, especially heroin. Both were taking methadone on subscription, which was designed to wean them off their heroin addiction.”

Violent clashes between Swift and Mr Blankert were commonplace, Mr Spencer continued. To begin with, she was the victim but, as time wore on, she became physically dominant.

The deterioration in their relationship was witnessed, at first hand, by Mark Robinson, who was married to Swift’s sister.

“It was clear to him that both were in the grip of drink and drugs,” said Mr Spencer. “Their relationship was destructive and damaging, but neither could escape each other.

“As the years went by, Mr Robinson would see one or the other with injuries from fights.

“However, through all of this, there was a pact between Swift and Mr Blankert -- an understanding that they wouldn’t tell the outside world what was going on.

“Neither would co-operate with the police, press charges or make statements.”