Legal battle over Bandidos bikie Ricky Chapman’s remains continues as Stacey Schoppe texts emerge
Bombshell text messages sent by a cyclist’s ex-lover have revealed that the couple may have split up a few months before his sudden death at age 32, as his mother fights for her son’s remains.
Ricky Chapman, 32, died on April 20 after a medical episode while working at the Port of Rio Tinto in Cape Lambert, 1,500 km north of Perth.
Since his death, his long-term girlfriend Stacey Schoppe and his mother Suzy Britt have been engaged in a legal battle over the right to his remains and burial.
Ms Britt’s lawyer questioned the validity of the relationship between Mr Chapman and Ms Schoppe during a hearing at the Western Australia Court of Appeals on Monday.
Barrister Stuart Shepherd said text messages from Ms Schoppe to a friend pointed to a hole in the couple’s relationship.
“Me and Ricky aren’t together anymore,” read a text message, sent in November 2021.
“Ricky doesn’t want to work on himself, but he wants me to love him,” read another text, sent two weeks later.
Former Bandidos bikini enforcer Ricky Chapman (above) died on April 20 after a medical episode while working at the Port of Rio Tinto in Cape Lambert, 1,500 km north of Perth
Ms Schoppe (right) and Chapman (left) started dating in late 2019 and moved in together in January 2020, but his mother claims they were five months apart when he died
The couple started dating in late 2019 before moving in together in January 2020.
They stayed in each other’s lives until Chapman’s sudden death in April 2022, the Western Australian reports.
At an earlier court hearing, Ms Schoppe stated in an affidavit that she was in an actual relationship with Chapman and that he was “eager” to be a father before she lost their child in a miscarriage.
Ms Britt’s lawyer said text messages sent by Ms Schoppe to a friend pointed to a gap in the couple’s relationship (photo, a mock-up of the texts)
Chapman’s girlfriend Stacey Schoppe (above) initially started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his funeral before Chapman’s mother, Suzanne Britt, filed to take custody of his remains
Mr Shepherd told the court that the pregnancy or the fact that they had lived together was not proof that the couple had been in an actual relationship.
The lawyer said love-up posts on social media and financial support that Chapman had received from Ms Schoppe while he was in prison were also not proof that they were de facto.
At a hearing last week, Ms Britt said the couple had split up five months before her son died, claiming he was staying in a hotel without Ms Schoppe.
In an emotional statement, Ms Schoppe told the court that Chapman had never left her home and that their fighting had only lasted a few days.
“He had his whole life in WA with me. We didn’t give up on each other,” said Mrs. Schoppe, adding that some of his personal items were still left in her house.
He noted that the couple may have split up between November and December last year, but that didn’t mean the relationship ended completely.
Ms Schoppe said it was Chapman’s wish that she arrange his funeral and that she was granted custody of his remains from the Supreme Court before Britt’s appeal last week.
She said she had already prepaid Chapman’s funeral and would be “more than happy” to share his remains with his mother, who lives in South Australia.
At an earlier hearing, Ms. Schoppe told the court she would honor Chapman’s wish by arranging the service.
Last week she was given permission to organize the funeral, but Mrs Britt appealed the following day to release Chapman’s body and give her custody of the service.
On Monday, Ms Schoppe shared details about his epilepsy, saying Chapman suffered a head injury in a seizure while on duty in November 2021.
He later had attacks on the plane, at his rigging work and at her home, she said.
Suzanne Britt (above) said there was no evidence that Ms Schoppe and Chapman had a “marriage-like” actual relationship and is seeking permission to host Chapman’s funeral
Ms Schoppe told the court she believed it was another attack that led to Chapman’s death at the Cape Lambert iron ore port in Rio Tinto in April.
His death came 16 months after he survived a hitman’s bullet that killed rebel boss Nick Martin.
Martin was in the Perth Motorplex, surrounded by his Rebel comrades, when he was hit and killed by a sniper in December 2020, while Chapman was also grazed by the bullet in the chaos.
The appeals court is expected to announce its findings within a week.
Chapman (above) died while working at the port of Rio Tinto in Cape Lambert, 1,000 miles north of Perth, while his girlfriend told the court he had suffered several seizures in the run-up