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'Man used hockey stick like axe to beat ex-partner to death'

MURDERED: Nicola McKenzie (right)

A MOTHER died after being attacked by her ex-partner who hit her across the head with a hockey stick like "an axe" in front of their children, a court heard.

Nicola McKenzie, 37, was allegedly killed by the father of her two children, Oral Bryan, during a row in a Manchester street on September 17 last year.

She suffered serious head injuries after he swung the hockey stick "like an axe" and hit her with "severe force".

McKenzie, mother to daughter Teja and son Amahri, was rushed to hospital after the attack and underwent emergency surgery, but died two days later when medics turned off her life support machine.

Post-mortem tests showed that she died as the result of a head injury.

McKenzie and the children were living with her mother, Veronica Fiddler at the time. Her mother, 62, and father Erol McKenzie, 60, were by her side in the hospital.

Fiddler told the Mail Online: “Nicola was quiet and lovely and kind. She was completely dedicated to her children. She hardly ever went out without them, they were her life."

Bryan, 44, of Moss Side, Manchester, denies murder and told police he acted in self-defence.

Manchester Crown Court heard on Monday (Mar 9) that the fatal incident took place after McKenzie turned up at Bryan's home, where she was allegedly "abusive and aggressive" to another woman whom he has three children with.

All five children were present when the "devoted mother" was knocked unconscious by Bryan.

Opening the case, prosecutor Mark Kellet described how in the moments before she was hit, a passing postman heard McKenzie say to Bryan: "These are your kids, go on, show them what you're like."

WITNESSED ATTACK: Nicola McKenzie's daughter Teja and son Amahri [PIC CREDIT: Manchester Evening News]

The court heard Bryan then turned around and walked back to his house before returning with the hockey stick, reported Mail Online.

Prosecutor Kellet said: "The witness could hear the lady who must be Nicola shouting, 'go on, hit me, I want you to hit me'.

"That's exactly what the defendant did, striking a single blow across the head, causing her to fall to the floor on the road."

Following his arrest, Bryan told police: "I didn't mean to hurt her".

He claimed that his ex-girlfriend attacked him with a knife and that he struck the fatal blow accidentally as he tried to disarm her with the hockey stick.

But the prosecutor said no knife was recovered from the scene and that none of the witnesses saw one.

Kellet told the jury: "You will be sure that rather than jabbing or flicking at Nicola to disarm her, Nicola wasn't in possession of a knife and there wasn't a jab or flick - this was a hockey stick raised, brought down with severe force, knocking her unconscious."

Kellet continued: "The location, the nature of the laceration, swelling, bleeding, bruising and nerve damage to the brain is all consistent with a blow of severe force, as described by all the witnesses.

"This was an unlawful assault striking a violent blow and at the time of striking this blow the defendant must have intended to cause at the very least really serious harm."

He concluded: "Consequently, the Crown say having heard the evidence you will be sure the defendant is guilty of murder."

The case continues.

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