The two remaining women charged in relation to the Katie Simpson murder case have switched pleas and admitted their role.
The move came during a review of the case at Laganside Crown Court today (Friday).
Former jockey Jonathan Creswell (35), previously of Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel but now with an address which cannot be published, denies murdering the talented showjumper on August 3, 2020 and raping her at some time beforehand.
It is contended he attacked Katie – the younger sister of his partner – in an alleged jealous rage then staged a scene to appear she had attempted to take her life.
Three women, all connected to Creswell through the equestrian industry, are charged with offences relating to the cover up of Katie’s murder in the aftermath.
While all accused initially denied their respective charges, one changed her plea last month, and the remaining two have now followed suit.
Last month Hayley Robb (30) from Weavers Meadow, Banbridge admitted withholding information between August 2, 2020 and June 26, 2021, while knowing Katie had sustained injuries and believing she may have been murdered.
She also admitted perverting the course of justice by cleaning blood in Creswell’s home on August 3, 2020 and washing his clothes at a laundrette.
Jill Robinson (42) from Blackfort Road, Omagh was re-arraigned and accepted perverting the course of justice by washing Creswell’s clothes on August 3, 2020.
Rose de Montmorency-Wright (22) of Craigantlet Road, Newtownards was similarly re-arraigned and admitted withholding information between October 9, 2020 and October 13, 2021, knowing Creswell had allegedly assaulted Katie, while police were investigating her death.
Katie resided with Creswell and his partner Christina Simpson (Katie’s sister) at the time of her death.
Both women made up two of the last group of four to carry Katie’s coffin to her grave.
The trial, which is scheduled for April 2024, will now take place without the women in the dock.
Defence counsel for Robb previously informed the court she has offered to assist the prosecution, and this is being “actively considered”.
Creswell claimed after discovering Katie hanging, he placed her – unresponsive and dressed only in a polo shirt and underwear – into her own car before driving to meet an ambulance, as opposed to waiting for it to arrive at the scene.
Altnagelvin Hospital staff were concerned by Katie’s presentation noting multiple injuries including intimate bleeding and extensive bruising to her lower right leg, inner thigh and both hands.
Creswell was “vague in detail”, claiming Katie fell from a horse the previous day, before being trampled.
She passed away just under a week later aged 21, without regaining consciousness.
A post-mortem found tramline injuries on her limbs, “consistent to being struck with a rod-type implement.”
An initial police investigation declined to pursue any criminal enquiries, repeatedly dismissing concerns brought directly to them around Katie’s death.
It would be seven months before Creswell was finally arrested after sustained efforts by Katie’s friends prompted a high-level PSNI review.
A new team took over in January 2021 and a murder inquiry was launched.
Another struggle eventually resulted in a Police Ombudsman investigation, with six officers reported to PSNI Professional Standards, under what became Operation Gambart.
Asked about the status of this, a PSNI spokesperson said, “An investigation file has been received from the Police Ombudsman. This file is extensive. It will take some time to fully and properly consider its content. As the misconduct process remains ongoing, no further information can be provided at this time.”
Police believe Creswell “controlled and coerced Katie since she was a child of 9 or 10”, first encountering her through his long-term relationship with her eldest sister, Christina Simpson.