Significant development in Katie murder case puts bail on hold as sureties withdraw

Ombudsman launches investigation into police delay in Katie Simpson murder case

Katie Simpson

Staff reporter

Reporter:

Staff reporter

Bail for a man charged with murdering his partner’s sister, in what was originally treated as suicide, has been thrown into doubt after an address for release was withdrawn.

For the second time in a matter of days, the High Court heard issues around sureties with “a misunderstanding” cited for another person originally named.

Jonathan James Creswell (33) from Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel is charged with murdering Katie Simpson on 3 August 2020, after discovering she spent the night with a boyfriend.

The talented showjumper passed away in hospital aged 21, and although concerns were raised from the outset including her phone being missing, police weren’t investigating.

Creswell claims he left the house he shared with his partner and children, Katie and another female, on the morning of the incident.

After dropping the children with a relative, he returned to find Katie hanging.

Creswell claims he rescuing Katie, placed her into her car and drove to meet the ambulance.

A treating consultant had “never encountered someone putting a person into a car, unconscious and not breathing.”

A pathology report found injuries on Katie’s arms and legs were “consistent to being struck with a rod-type implement.”

Enquiries revealed Katie and a previous partner of Creswell’s obtained substantial cash loans which were handed to him.

A female who claims Creswell exposed himself to her at an equestrian centre in 2015, told police he “boasted” of attempting to hang another previous partner in a forest.

At the bail hearing police objected to two named sureties - equestrian vet Eric Smith and another former partner of Creswell’s, Jill Robinson

It later transpired Mr Smith’s never agreed to this, however it’s unclear why his name was erroneously put forward.

Meanwhile Creswell has remained in repeated contact with Ms Robinson and his partner Christina Simpson from prison.

This allegedly continued even after Ms Simpson changed her phone number.

Another woman - Rose de Montmorency – who shared Creswell’s house at the time of Katie’s death, has allegedly urged Ms Simpson to take Ms Robinson’s calls.

Social Services have found Ms Robinson is always with Creswell’s partner when they try to engage with her.

The defence accepted Ms Simpson did change her phone number, but stressed she herself provided the new details to Creswell.

Although not diminishing the serious domestic violence in Creswell’s previous offending, it was argued this occurred some time ago.

While there were issues around the naming of Mr Smith as one of four initial sureties, three others remained willing.

These included the accused’s mother and Larne stable-owner Ben Crawford, who also offered his address for residence.

Mr Justice O’Hara granted bail at £30,000 and ruled no females are to be at address at any time.

Cash sureties were ordered in the same sum of £30,000.

However, during a review today (Friday) the defence advised: “There has been a significant development which has changed the position.”

The court heard Mr Crawford has decided to pull out the offer of his address after his home was approached by a group of men who “engaged in a level of intimidation and ordered him not to put forward a surety.”

The judge said: “I regard this is particular serious. It is a direct interference by a number of people with the process of justice. I encourage anyone with information around this to contact police with any details.”

It also emerged Ms Robinson has also chosen to withdraw her portion of the cash surety after being subjected to social media abuse.

The defence requested bail be agreed as before with an amendment to allow residence at a suitable address, suggesting Creswell’s father as a possible, although he lives in the Republic of Ireland.

Justice O’Hara was concerned about permitting an address outside the jurisdiction and pointed out any address put forward with need to be approved by the court.

He adjourned the case to allow the defence time to carry out further enquires as to an address and sureties.

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