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The saga of who will bury former bandit Ricky Chapman has ended in victory for his ex-girlfriend after a judge said further delaying his funeral was an “offensive” to the dignity of the deceased.
Ricky Chapman died nine weeks ago on April 20 after a medical incident while working at the port of Rio Tinto on Cape Lambert, 1,500km north of Perth.
His death has sparked a series of bitter legal battles over who will bury Chapman, 32, who has been represented by his mother Suzy Britt and former partner Stacey Skop.
The court heard Chapman was diagnosed with epilepsy days before his sudden death and was working closely with doctors to treat his condition.
Chapman died in December 2020 after surviving 16 months after being hit by the same killer bullet that killed Rebels motorcyclist boss Nick Martin at the Perth Motorplex.
Mrs Schoppe, of Perth, prepaid for Chapman’s funeral and said her funeral plans were in line with Chapman’s wishes.
While the WA Court of Appeal recognised Chapman’s Aboriginal ancestry, it found he had no ongoing connection to South Australia, where his mother’s family originated.
The WA Court of Appeal heard from Ms Schoppe that she was the only person to visit him in prison after she breached her probation over a bike-related offence.
Mrs Schoppe was granted the right to remove Chapman’s body after his death, but Mrs Britt appealed.
Justice Curthoys ruled in favour of the young woman, acknowledging she had a de facto relationship with Chapman since 2019 because she was pregnant with a child.
She finally miscarried.