Jilted love-cheat fails in her plot to ruin ex’s life

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Michael Knowles

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.

In­con­sis­tent

“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

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