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Officers probing death of Katie Simpson in 2020 ‘committed misconduct’

Katie Simpson

Officers probing the death of Co Armagh show-jumper Katie Simpson in 2020 “committed misconduct”, a Policing Board meeting heard today (Thursday).

The 21-year-old, who was from Tynan, died in hospital in August 2020, six days after an incident at the house she shared with her sister and her sister’s partner, Jonathan Creswell, who was subsequently charged with her rape and murder.

Katie’s death was initially as a suicide by police and it was until March – six months after her death – that Creswell was arrested and charged.

The trial got underway last week but was ended before the second day after Creswell’s body was discovered at his home. His death was not treated as suspicious.

Jon Boutcher, the PSNI’s chief constable, told the Policing Board that he had received a 1,400 page Police Ombudsman report.

Mr Boutcher told the meeting that a police officers “committed misconduct” in the initial stages of the investigation and that a disciplinary process is under way.

He said: “In effect, due to people raising concerns about Cresswell and his behaviour, between the August and December, a number of concerns that [then] led to a reassessment of what had happened.

“In January of 2021 Cresswell was determined as a suspect in the murder of Miss Simpson and in March, he was arrested and prosecuted.

“Any information that we have about our response has been properly examined so that we understand any lessons learned, which I promise you, we’ll undertake.

“A circa 1,400-page report from the Ombudsman has identified officers having committed misconduct – not gross misconduct or criminal. That misconduct process is now underway through our professional standards department under the stewardship of the deputy constable.

“We now know from Creswell’s lifestyle that there are additional violent offences that he committed. There are also others who have now admitted their responsibility, in criminal courts, and await sentencing in May with regards to the covering up of Cresswell’s activities, which will take due process.

“I do want to reassure you that whatever we need to learn from this, we most certainly will learn from this.”

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