Jilted love-cheat fails in her plot to ruin ex’s life
A CAMBRIDGE University student was cleared of assaulting his fiancee who cheated on him during a research trip to the Galapagos Islands and then set out to ruin his life after she was dumped.
Matthew Baron broke off his engagement with Sophia Cooke after she admitted to the affair.
In response the postgraduate zoology student, 25, launched a vendetta against him, adding that, if he told anyone about her infidelity, she would ruin his reputation.
She accused the palaeontologist of punching her in the face during a twohour assault, claiming she escaped by climbing a tree in an RSPB nature reserve.
The allegations led to Mr Baron being barred from his college and shunned by colleagues.
But doctoral student Mr Baron, 26, accused Miss Cooke of being a fantasist and making up the story as it “would save her telling her family that the wedding was off because she was having an affair”.
He told Huntingdon magistrates court in Cambridgeshire: “She said, ‘If you tell anyone that I have cheated I will ruin you. I will tell everyone you have been a violent monster.
“I was on the verge of having some big success in my career and she was threatening to ruin that. She had me banned from my college, she had me banned from the college bar.
“She bragged that she was going to write to the editor of a journal in which I had been published and accuse me of being violent, it has made my life in Cambridge almost untenable.
“People look at me as if I am subhuman, it has been the hardest time of my life. Sophia has spun this awful story about me, maybe nine times out of 10 when a girl says a guy has beaten her up, it’s right but I swear to God it is not true in this case. I think all of this has been a vendetta.”
Miss Cooke told the court Baron became violent after she confessed to the affair in February. The couple had planned to spend the day at the RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve in Cambridgeshire.
She told the court: “I remember thinking I have driven this man to violence. I have ruined his life and have cheated on him. All I wanted was for him to forgive me.
“I was crying and he was pacing around calling me a ***** ... I remember thinking I am going to die.”
Mr Baron said Miss Cooke was hysterical after the row and he feared she would hurt herself, adding that she climbed a tree before falling down.
They eventually decided to drive back towards Cambridge but the postgraduate student was still crying uncontrollably in the car.
He also told the court: “At one point I said ‘if someone goes past they will think that I’m assaulting you’ and that has haunted me ever since, that I might have planted that seed that led to this whole incredible story.”
Baron was cleared of assault beating after a one-day trial.
Chairman of the bench Simona Rockall said the court had found Miss Cooke’s version of events to be “inconsistent and not credible”. by
Miss Cooke, above, failed to convince court Mr Baron, below, assaulted her