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sister, in what was originally treated as suicide, has been thrown into doubt after an address for release was withdrawn.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, from Middletown, on August 3, 2020.
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 tried rescuing Katie, placing her into her car before driving to meet the ambulance.
A previous court sitting heard how a treating consultant “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 never agreed to this.
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.