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Tribute remembers former Sudbury fitness instructor and mother-of-three, as two more suspects charged with her murder




A former Sudbury gym instructor and mother-of-three, who died following a street assault earlier this year, has been remembered for her “infectious and bubbly” personality, as two further suspects were charged with her murder.

Michelle Cooper died in hospital on Sunday, April 25, two days after a reported attack in Essex, where she had returned following several years living and working in the Sudbury area.

The 40-year-old, previously a resident of Great Cornard, had sustained serious head injuries in the incident, which took place at Beach Way in Jaywick on Friday, April 25.

Michelle Cooper died on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at the age of 40. Pictured: Michelle (right) with friend and former Zest Health and Fitness colleague Melissa Kilkey. Photo: Facebook. (47807241)
Michelle Cooper died on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at the age of 40. Pictured: Michelle (right) with friend and former Zest Health and Fitness colleague Melissa Kilkey. Photo: Facebook. (47807241)

Known to her friends as Shell, she was a familiar face within the Sudbury fitness and amateur kick-boxing community, through her work at Zest Health and Fitness in Milner Road.

A fundraiser in her memory has been set up by her friends and former Zest colleagues Melissa Kilkey and Ruth Hendry to help cover her funeral costs and support her family.

Melissa told Suffolk News that Michelle was one of her first employees after she took over Zest Health and Fitness in late 2013, and they had taken kick-boxing and completed their level 2 gym instructor qualifications together.

“She was such a lovely and sweet person,” she said. “She was very friendly with a lot of our members.

“She had a very infectious and bubbly personality. She was always happy, easy going and so full of life and energy.

“It was so sad and heartbreaking to hear what happened. We decided we wanted to help to raise money for her funeral and also to help support her kids.

“Her mum was saying it would be really nice to have a horse and carriage at her funeral, as it was something she had always said she wanted.”

Donations to the fundraiser can be made online here.

Last week, Essex Police confirmed they had formally charged two more people, both aged 20, with murder in relation to the assault.

Jordan Stanley, of Masterman Road, London, was charged with murder and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) on Monday.

That same day, Demi Cole, of Beach Way, Jaywick, was also charged with murder, criminal damage and ABH.

Both appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court for their preliminary hearing on Tuesday, May 25.

A third suspect – 31-year-old Bobby Nethercott, of Park Square East, Jaywick – was previously charged at the end of April with murder and two counts of ABH.

He is next scheduled to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man – arrested on suspicion of affray, in connection with the same incident – has now been released under investigation.

In addition, a 25-year-old woman, who was arrested on suspicion of murder and affray, and a 17-year-old detained on suspicion of murder, were both released and will face no further action.

Anybody with information about the incident should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 42/76463/21.

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