Shock confession to 'lovely' mum's murder

The ex-boyfriend of a young mother whose death sparked a month-long search for her killer has suddenly plead guilty to her murder.

Linzi Ashton was found battered in her Winton, Salford home on June 29, the Daily Mail reported.

Her former boyfriend, Michael Cope, immediately went on the run, sparking a nationwide manhunt that lasted for five weeks before he handed himself in.

He was due to face trial for her murder at the Manchester Crown Court, but suddenly entered a guilty plea at the last minute.

It was unexpected as Cope had previously protested his innocence.

The 28-year-old showed no emotion as he made his plea, and also admitted to three other assaults in the lead-up to Ashton's death.

Cope was captured in a terrace estate where there had been reported sightings of the runaway. Police had increased their presence in the area but Cope ultimately handed himself in.

The "loving and doting mother" left behind two daughters, Destiny and Daisy, from previous relationships.

Michael Cope was on the run for five weeks before he handed himself into police. Photo: Supplied

She was found by the father of the younger daughter, Liam Grime, when he was returning the child to Ashton's house.

The grisly find sparked mass mourning in the area, and dozens of flowers were left in tribute at the Duke of York pub where she worked at.

One mourner, Paula Morrison, described Ashton as "a lovely girl".

"I’ve known her for years and when I got a phone call telling me what had happened, you could have blown me down with a feather.

"She was a beautiful young woman, happy-go-lucky and enjoyed life and her two little girls. It is such a shame for them and the whole family."