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Key witness in Katie Simpson murder case attacked while seated in car

Katie Simpson Middletown

A key witness in the Katie Simpson murder investigation is reported to have been attacked while seated in his car at a roadside near Strabane.

Jonathan James Creswell (33) previously of Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel but whose latest address cannot be disclosed, is charged with murdering Ms Simpson after allegedly subjecting her to brutal attack because “she lied to him” about spending the night with another man.

Ms Simpson died in the Intensive Care Unit of Altnagelvin Hospital on August 9, 2020, just under a week after Creswell claimed to have discovered her hanging.

This was alleged to have occurred in the house Creswell then shared with his partner – Ms Simpson’s older sister.

His version of events was accepted by police at the time despite serious concerns raised by numerous people who knew Katie – a talented showjumper from Armagh – very well.

They persisted until a high level review was conducted and a new team of detectives took over in January this year. Creswell was arrested two months later and charged with Ms Simpson’s murder.

Since then more arrests have followed for withholding information and assisting an offender after police received information around a significant clean-up of the scene in the aftermath.

This includes Creswell instructing a woman to wipe blood from a banister in the house, and taking away and washing the clothes he was wearing at the time.

Creswell also allegedly told four women – all of whom he was or had been involved with sexually – of his intention to tell medical staff Ms Simpson had been trampled by a horse the previous day, to account for vast bruising to her body.

As a result of this evidence, which came sometime after Creswell’s arrest, more persons have been added to the case.

Prior to these however, strenuous efforts were made to have the matter taken seriously by police, whose apparent refusal to see past a suicide attempt slowed down the investigation.

Complaints to the Police Ombudsman were initially rejected as it was contended this had to come from Ms Simpson’s family.

This was brought to the attention of the Minister for Justice Naomi Long MLA and shortly after, the decision was reversed.

A high level investigation into the initial police response is currently underway.

One of those who pressed for the review is understood to be the person allegedly attacked on Sunday afternoon.

He required hospital treatment for injuries and was left badly shaken by the incident.

A spokesperson confirmed: “Police are investigating reports of an assault on a male and a hit-and- run collision in the Ballyskeagh Road area of Artigarvan on Sunday evening (November 21).

It was reported to police that a man had been assaulted at around 1.45 pm, a short time later police received a report that a Land Rover Discovery had collided with a Ford Ranger in the Ballyskeagh area.

Inspector Luke Moyne said: “Our enquiries are continuing and we would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed these incidents or have any information that could help with our enquiries, to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 1031 of 21/11/21.”

A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport. Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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