Ex-partner of Bandidos bikie who died at a mine site wins the right to bury him instead of his mother after bitter court battle between the two women
- Ricky Chapman, 32, died after suffering a medical episode at work on April 20
- His girlfriend, Stacey Schoppe, has received permission to organise his funeral
- His mum, Suzy Britt, twice appealed rulings granting her rights to his remains
The saga of who will bury ex-Bandido Ricky Chapman has ended with his ex-girlfriend successful after judges said further delaying his funeral was an ‘affront’ to the dead man’s dignity.
Ricky Chapman died nine weeks ago, on April 20, after suffering a medical episode while working at Rio Tinto’s port in Cape Lambert, 1,500km north of Perth.
His death sparked a series of bitter legal battles over who would bury Chapman, 32, between his mother, Suzy Britt and his ex-partner Stacey Schoppe, who represented herself throughout.
The saga of who will bury ex-Bandido Ricky Chapman has ended with his ex-girlfriend, Stacey Schoppe (pictured), successful after judges said further delaying his funeral was an ‘affront’ to the dead man’s dignity
Chapman (above) died while working at Rio Tinto’s port in Cape Lambert, 1,500km north of Perth with his girlfriend telling the court he had experienced several seizures in the lead-up
Chapman was diagnosed with epilepsy and was working closely with doctors to treat his condition just days before his sudden death, the court heard.
Chapman died 16 months after he survived being hit by the same assassin’s bullet that killed Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin’s at Perth Motorplex in December 2020.
Ms Schoppe, from Perth, pre-paid for Chapman’s funeral and claimed her plans for his burial were in line with Chapman’s wishes.
Ms Schoppe has been granted final permission to hold a funeral for her ex partner, Ricky Chapman
His death sparked a series of bitter legal battles over who would bury Chapman, 32, between his mother, Suzy Britt (pictured) and his ex-partner Schoppe
Ms Britt, from Adelaide, fought two previous court rulings granting Ms Schoppe permission to conduct Chapman’s funeral and took the matter to the WA Court of Appeal.
Part of her appeal was that Chapman’s cultural roots should be taken into account in deciding on his funeral.
Ms Britt’s family are Aboriginal people from the Kaurna nation in South Australia.
She lost that appeal before three judges on Friday – but did make one final attempt to stay the decision while her legal team weighed up an appeal to the High Court of Australia.
The court of appeal ruled there was no sufficient reason that Ms Schoppe should not have administration of Chapman’s estate or make the funeral arrangements.
Earlier Ms Britt’s team produced text messages which they claimed showed Ms Schoppe and Chapman were not in a relationship when he died.
She disputed this saying although they had separated they had also reunited and were in a long-term relationship.
‘We just want to be able to set him free the way that he wanted,’ Ms Schoppe said.
It was noted Ms Schoppe had also offered to share Chapman’s remains with his mother
Ms Schoppe said she and Chapman began a de facto relationship in 2019 and that she was pregnant to him
It was noted Ms Schoppe had also offered to share Chapman’s remains with his mother.
After justices Graeme Murphy, Robert Mitchell and Andrew Beech delivered their ruling they rejected Ms Britt’s last-minute application saying the delay had already been too long and a further wait was ‘an affront’ to his dignity.
While they acknowledged Chapman’s indigenous roots’ they found ‘he has no continuing connection with South Australia and wished for his remains to be disposed of in the manner proposed by Ms Schoppe’.
While the WA Court of Appeal acknowledged Chapman’s indigenous roots they found he had no continuing connection with South Australia, where his mother’s family was from
The WA Court of Appeal heard testimony from Ms Schoppe that she was the only person to visit him in jail after he breached parole for associating with bikies.
Ms Schoppe was granted the right to take Chapman’s remains after he died but Ms Britt appealed.
Justice Curthoys ruled in the younger woman’s favour accepting she was in a de facto relationship since 2019 with Chapman as she was pregnant with his child.
She eventually miscarried.