Cradley car salesman denies murdering his partner

A "violent and aggressive" Cradley Heath car salesman brutally stabbed his partner to death with a swordstick in temper, a jury has been told.

Then, in a desperate bid to get away with the savage killing, Ronald Cooke maintained to police Tina Billingham had plunged the weapon into her own body, alleged Rachel Brand QC, prosecuting.

She said 54-year-old Cooke had a history of violence towards his partner and on the day of her death he had been in an "argumentative frame of mind."

Miss Brand said people who worked at a Rowley Regis medical centre felt they had seen everything but they were shocked when they saw Cooke dragging a woman through the door.

The woman was heavily bloodstained and a doctor and nurse found her "close to death" as they valiantly tried to treat her injuries.

The divorced mother-of-two was rushed to Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital by paramedics with wounds to her heart and stomach and she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Cooke, who had driven her to the Hawes Lane Surgery in his Transit van, appeared to be very agitated and, claimed Miss Brand, he stressed it had been his partner who had been holding the swordstick.

But that was a lie, Miss Brand alleged to the eight man, four woman jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

It was Cooke who had stabbed his partner, she alleged, and he was "hoping to escape".

There were just the two of them in the van and it was known Cooke had been aggressive to his 54 -year-old partner in the past.

There had been earlier altercations between the pair, she had been seen on one occasion with a black eye and on another she had booked herself into a hostel before deciding to return to the family home in Granville Road.

On the day of the murder a neighbour had heard Cooke shouting and swearing after calling at their home and she later heard him tell his partner, "Get in the van!"

It was not long afterwards that she was dragged into the doctor’s surgery and when interviewed by police later Cooke told officers she had expressed the desire to take her own life.

Cooke, who also had two children from a previous relationship, admitted they had argued and he had pulled the telephone landline in their home out of its socket and thrown her mobile across the room.

Something clearly happened, Miss Brand told the court, because the couple's normally placid Staffordshire bull terrier had bitten the pair before they went off in the van.

In the vehicle Cooke admitted he had prodded her with a plastic bottle and as they argued he maintained she said, "If I had a knife I would kill myself."

Cooke said he then produced the swordstick which he kept in the van and he put it down onto the seat as he said, "There you are."

He was then aware she was holding the weapon but he said he did not see her stab herself There no groans and no words and he put the weapon which did not bear blood back into its sheath.

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