A MOTHER-of-three who intervened following an assault on her nephew was beaten and kicked to death by a group of drunken louts, a court heard.

Michelle Cooper, 40, suffered fatal injuries during an incident in Beach Way, Jaywick, in the early hours on April 23 last year.

The fitness fanatic, who worked as a gym instructor in Sudbury, was left unconscious following the attack and was pronounced dead at Colchester Hospital two days later.

Essex Police launched a murder investigation into her death and assaults on four others, including her nephew Alfie Griggs, daughter Elise Cooper, niece Louise Cooper and Ben Kelly.

Bobby Nethercott, 31, of Park Square East, Jaywick, Demi Cole, 21, of Beach Way, Jaywick, Charlie Whittaker, 24, of Bemerton Gardens, Kirby Cross, and Jordan Stanley, 20, of Masterman Road, London, each deny a joint charge of murder. 

Nethercott, Whittaker and Stanley also deny two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Nethercott denies two separate charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, while Cole has admitted assaulting Elise Cooper.

Gazette: Scene - Beach Way, Jaywick

A six week trial opened at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday.

Wayne Cleaver, prosecuting, said: “It all arises from wholly unprovoked and gratuitous violence on the streets of Jaywick during the night of April 23.

“These four defendants were involved at various stages in that violence.

“It resulted in thankfully relatively minor injuries to four people at the scene, but tragically it also caused the untimely death of Michelle Cooper, a mother who was then aged just 40, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time that night.”

Gazette: Michelle CooperMichelle Cooper

Mr Cleaver told the court she died as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attack.

He added: “She was literally beaten and kicked to death by a group of drunken louts.

“These four defendants, we say, were a central part of a group attack, each became involved and each playing their part.

“During the evening and into the night, they were together.

“They became fuelled by drink and acted together, we say, to inflict violence and then to set upon Michelle Cooper.”

The trial continues.