Ex-boyfriend is murder suspect after mother Linzi Ashton is found dead in Greater Manchester

Woman found dead at a property in Winton

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The Independent Online

Police in Greater Manchester are looking for a man in connection with the murder of a mother of two children. Michael Cope was in what police have described as an “acrimonious” relationship with Linzi Ashton, a 25-year-old barmaid.

Ms Ashton, 25, was discovered after police were called to a house in Westbourne Road, in Winton, Salford, shortly before 6pm on Saturday.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Shenton confirmed that the police had been called to the Westbourne Road address and that because of this, the case had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Ms Ashton’s two young daughters were not believed to be in the house at the time of their mother’s death.

Mr Shenton said: "A young woman has been murdered and our thoughts are with her family and friends at what is obviously a totally devastating time for them.

"Linzi is the mother of two young children and has been brutally murdered.

"It is an early stage of the investigation and I am not going to speculate as to the cause of Linzi's death. However, I am satisfied that she has been brutally assaulted."

"Cope himself can surrender to the police and contact any local police officer or police station but I give this caveat to people who may know Cope and may be harbouring him - I would take a particular dim view of anybody who provides assistance to Cope knowing that he is being actively searched by police in connection with this murder.

"Clearly the death of Linzi has caused significant and massive devastation to the family. There are specially trained officers currently dealing and liaising with Linzi's family.

"If anybody knows the whereabouts of Michael Cope then contact us at the earliest opportunity."

Police confirmed Ms Ashton had visible injuries to her head and face.

Linzi is thought to have last been seen alive by a friend in the Eccles area shortly before 2am yesterday.

Mr Shenton said Cope was still likely to be in Salford and that his family has been made aware that they were looking for him.

He said: "We would advise the public not to approach him and report any sightings to us.

"We are also keen to hear from anyone who saw or spoke to either Linzi or Michael throughout Saturday.

"There will continue to be an increased police presence in the area over the coming hours and days, not only to offer reassurance, but to act as a point of contact if you want to discuss anything with us or have any information that may assist this inquiry."

Anyone with information should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.