Katie Simpson murder accused Jonathan Creswell found dead at home

The man accused of murdering and raping a young female showjumper has died, a court has heard.

Jonathan Creswell, 36, had denied the murder and rape of Katie Simpson. His trial began on Tuesday.

Ms Simpson died following an incident in Gortnessy Meadows, Lettershandoney, on 3 August 2020.

The 21-year-old, who was from the village of Tynan in County Armagh, died in Altnagelvin Hospital six days later, having never regained consciousness.

On Wednesday, prosecuting counsel Sam Magee KC told Londonderry Crown Court, sitting in Coleraine, that Mr Creswell "was found deceased at his home this morning".

He was not in custody as he had been granted bail at the High Court in Belfast in April 2021.

Det Ch Insp Mark Gibson was called to the witness box and advised he had received information that at 09:00 BST police in Londonderry confirmed a male has been found dead.

A family member confirmed it was Mr Creswell.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.


Jonathan Cresswell
Jonathan Creswell was found dead at home on Wednesday morning [BBC]

On Tuesday, the court heard Ms Simpson was killed out of "jealousy".

A prosecution lawyer told the jury that Mr Creswell had raped, strangled and killed Ms Simpson.

The court also heard Mr Creswell had previous "illicit" sexual relations with Ms Simpson and became enraged after he learned she was in a relationship with someone else.

The prosecution also told the court that he then tried to "cover up" what happened in a "calculated and deceitful" way by claiming Ms Simpson's death was as a result of suicide.

Co-accused sentencing brought forward

On Wednesday, Judge Neil Rafferty KC told the jury they are discharged as the trial process in terms of Mr Creswell has concluded.

Sentencing against three co-accused women, who pleaded guilty before Mr Creswell's trial began, will now be brought forward.

Jill Robinson, 42, from Blackfort Road in Omagh, has admitted perverting the course of justice on 3 August 2020.

Rose De Montmorency-Wright, 22, from Craigantlet Road in Newtownards, County Down, has admitted withholding information between 9 October 2020 and 13 October 2021.

She lived with Mr Creswell and his partner Christina Simpson - Katie Simpson's sister - at the time.

Hayley Robb, 30, from Weavers Meadow in Banbridge, County Down, has admitted withholding information and two charges of perverting the course of justice.