Bombshell texts sent by a bikie’s ex-lover has revealed the pair may have broken up just a few months before he died suddenly at the age of 32, as his mother fights for her son’s remains.
Ricky Chapman, 32, died on April 20 after suffering a medical episode while working at Rio Tinto’s port in Cape Lambert, 1500km north of Perth.
Since his death, his long-term girlfriend Stacey Schoppe and his mother Suzy Britt have been locked in a legal battle over the right to his remains and his funeral.
Ms Britt’s lawyer cast doubt on the validity of Mr Chapman and Ms Schoppe’s relationship during a hearing at Western Australia’s Court of Appeal on Monday.
Barrister Stuart Shepherd said text messages sent from Ms Schoppe to a friend pointed to a gap in the couple’s relationship.
‘Me and Ricky are not together anymore,’ one text, sent in November 2021, read.
‘Ricky doesn’t want to work on himself, but he wants me to love him,’ another text, sent two weeks later, read.
Former Bandidos bikie enforcer Ricky Chapman (above) died on April 20 after suffering a medical episode while working at Rio Tinto’s port in Cape Lambert, 1500km north of Perth
Ms Schoppe (right) and Chapman (left) began dating in late 2019 and moved in together in January 2020 but his mother claims they had been broken up for five months when he died
The couple started dating in late 2019 before moving in together in January 2020.
They remained in each other’s lives until Chapman’s sudden death in April, 2022, the West Australian reports.
During a previous court hearing, Ms Schoppe stated in a sworn affidavit that she had been in a de-facto relationship with Chapman and he was ‘excited’ to be a father, before she lost their child in a miscarriage.
Ms Britt’s barrister said text messages sent from Ms Schoppe to a friend pointed to a gap in the couple’s relationship (pictured, 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 the pregnancy or the fact they had lived together was not evidence the pair had been in a committed de-facto relationship.
The barrister said loved-up social media posts and financial support that Chapman had received from Ms Schoppe while he was in prison was also not proof of they were de-facto.
During a hearing last week, Ms Britt said the couple had broken up five months before her son died and claimed he was staying in a hotel without Ms Schoppe.
In an emotional statement, Ms Schoppe told the court Chapman had never moved out of her home and that their fights had only ever lasted a few days.
‘He had his whole in life in WA with me. We didn’t give up on each other,’ Ms Schoppe said, adding some of his personal items still remained in her home.
He noted the couple may have broken up between November and December of last year but that didn’t mean the relationship completely ended.
Ms Schoppe said it was Chapman’s wish that she arranged his funeral and she was granted custody of his remains by the Supreme Court last week before Ms Britt’s appeal
She said that she had already pre-paid for Chapman’s funeral and that she would be ‘more than happy’ to share his remains with his mother, who lives in South Australia.
In a previous hearing, Ms Schoppe told the court she would be honouring Chapman’s wish by arranging the service.
Last week, she was granted permission to organise the funeral, however Ms Britt lodged an appeal the following day to release Chapman’s body into her custody and give her the authority over the service.
On Monday, Ms Schoppe shared details of his epilepsy and said Chapman had suffered a head injury during a seizure while he was at work in November, 2021.
He had subsequent fits on the plane to his rigging job and at her home, she said.
Suzanne Britt (above) said there was no proof Ms Schoppe and Chapman were in a ‘marriage-like’ de-facto relationship and is seeking permission to organise Chapman’s funeral
Ms Schoppe told the court she believed it was another fit that had led to Chapman’s death at Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert iron ore port in April.
His death came 16 months after he survived being hit by an assassin’s bullet that killed Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin.
Martin was at the Perth Motorplex, surrounded by his Rebels comrades, when he was hit and killed by a sniper in December 2020 with Chapman also grazed by the bullet in the chaos.
The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down its findings within the week.
Chapman (above) died while working at Rio Tinto’s port in Cape Lambert, 1500km north of Perth with his girlfriend telling the court he had experienced several seizures in the lead-up