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The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

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Ronald Cooke jailed for murdering partner with ornamental sword

18/08/2017

A 55-year-old man with a history of domestic violence has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of murdering his partner.

Following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Ronald Joseph Cooke (dob 04/07/1962) was convicted of murdering Tina Bellingham.

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

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

Paramedics transferred the victim to Russell's 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 had 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.

Ronald Joseph Cooke already had convictions for assault against two former partners.

Giovanni D'Alessandro, from the 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."

Cooke was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 24 years at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday (17 August).

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Giovanni D'Alessandro is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service.
  2. Tina Billingham was born on 18/02/1962
  3. Cooke was convicted of common assault against a partner in December 1999; the offence occurred in August 1999. He was convicted again in July 2010 for section 47 ABH against a different partner; the offence occurred on December 2009
  4. A photograph of the murder weapon is attached. Please credit any use to "Crown Prosecution Service".
  5. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk

  6. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233