Alexis Lang and Matthew Leigh Cooke were in a rocky relationship, Hervey Bay Magistrates Court has heard.
Alexis Lang and Matthew Leigh Cooke were in a rocky relationship, Hervey Bay Magistrates Court has heard.

'Assault' and pregnancies behind 'toxic' relationship

A Hervey Bay court has continued to hear of a relationship marred with violence and infidelity, but where both partners continued to return to one another.

Matthew Leigh Cooke has pleaded not guilty in Hervey Bay District Court to charges of strangulation, assault and wilful damage.

The court has heard testimony from his former partner, Alexis Lang, who accused him of being violent against her, including grabbing her by the throat, on a number of occasions.

In prerecorded testimony, Ms Lang described the relationship as mentally, physically and emotionally abusive before going on to describe the alleged incidents in which she claims Mr Cooke attacked her.

During his testimony before the court on Friday, Mr Cooke also described the relationship as being abusive "towards the end".

Texts messages in which both sides argued over money and swore at one another were shown to the court.

But there were also texts, sent after the alleged incidents of violence, in which Ms Lang invited Mr Cooke to Sydney and sent love heart emojis.

Mr Cooke said at that time there had been phone sex and "sexting" between the two.

"We spoke several times a day, all day every day," he said.

When questioned about a number of incidents in which Ms Lang had accused him of being violent, Mr Cooke told the court he had only ever acted physically to restrain her.

The court heard the relationship had started as an affair between Ms Lang and Mr Cooke.

During his relationship with her, he had impregnated two other women, one he already shared two children with, and another woman he had been involved with when he had first met Ms Lang.

The court heard the relationship had started to turn sour when Mr Cooke and Ms Lang experienced fertility struggles.

The first incident of alleged violence happened in Thailand and was followed by accusations of other instances of Mr Cooke getting physical with Ms Lang at his Eli Waters home.

One particular incident was examined in detail.

The mother of his children was at him home on that day, recovering from getting breast implants, the court heard.

Ms Lang attended the home twice and the first time was told to leave, which she did.

The second time she returned and threatened to damage a hire car parked outside the home, at which time Mr Cooke and the other woman came outside.

The court heard Ms Lang allegedly attacked the other woman, jumping on her back and trying to gouge her eyes.

Mr Cooke acted to remove Ms Lang, grabbing her around the waist and taking her to the ground.

What happened next is disputed by both parties, with Ms Lang saying Mr Cooke slammed her head onto the concrete, causing an injury to her forehead.

He said the injury was caused when Ms Lang crashed into a wall when she jumped on the other woman.

Mr Cooke said he had only held her down until she agreed to leave.

The incident happened in March, 2019, but the two allegedly met for sex in May that year and Ms Lang kept in contact with him when she moved to Sydney.

The defence and prosecution will give their closing arguments on Monday.

The trial was adjourned until then.

If you need help phone 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Originally published as Toxic trial: Eye gouging, pregnant 'other women' marred relationship


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