A WOMAN has tearfully told a murder trial how she was kicked in the head while shielding her nephew from an attack shortly before her aunt was beaten to the ground.

Mother-of-three Michelle Cooper, 40, died following an incident in Beach Way, Jaywick, in the early hours of April 23 last year.

The gym instructor was left unconscious following the attack and was pronounced dead at Colchester Hospital two days later.

Giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, Michelle’s niece Kelly Cooper told how she had been at a leaving party at the house of defendant Demi Cole.

Miss Cooper said she had been involved in a play fight with friend Ben Kelly in the property, which allegedly sparked an attack on him by nine or ten men including Bobby Nethercott, Charlie Whittaker and Jordan Stanley, who were at the party.

She alleged that later on, after they returned to the house, Nethercott shouted “he’ll have” anyone who “starts on” his family.

The men in the house then “flew” at a 16-year-old boy when he spoke up to say he had defended a woman.

Miss Cooper said they were chased from the property towards Jaywick’s Post Office where he was attacked by Nethercott, Whittaker, Stanley and four or five other men.

She said her sister Louise Cooper then arrived at scene and tried to intervene, but was punched by Nethercott and Cole.

“While they were having a fight with my sister, I crossed the road to get [the boy] away from all the men who jumped him,” she added.

Michelle Cooper then arrived and tried to help Louise.

“I heard Michelle say ‘Get off my niece’ because there were two girls on her at the same time - and all I saw was Bobby and the boys come out of nowhere.

“Bobby punched my auntie straight in the head.

“She was star-fished on the floor on her back and had blood coming out of her nose and mouth.

“There were so many people attacking my sister and auntie – my auntie was still on the floor and was still being hit.

“I just kept [the boy] away from them – he was the youngest one.”

The trial continues.