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PPS will not appeal sentence for women who covered up for Katie Simpson murderer

Jonathan Creswell

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has confirmed the sentences imposed on three women who covered-up for the murderer of Tynan woman Katie Simpson will not be appealed.

Jonathan Creswell (36) previously of Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel was charged with murdering the talented showjumper on 3 August 2020 and raping her at some time beforehand.

It was contended he attacked Katie – the younger sister of his partner Christina ‘Nina’ Simpson – in a jealous rage then staged a scene to make it appear she had attempted to take her own life.

His trial got ended after 24 hours when he was found dead.

Read more: Stark similarities between Jonathan Creswell and Jimmy Savile

While four women associated to Creswell through the equestrian industry, were reported by PSNI for prosecution, a decision was taken to proceed against three.

The PPS has consistently refused to disclose why the fourth woman was not prosecuted insisting only Katie’s next-of-kin are permitted to seek a review of that decision, which they have not done.

Hayley Robb (30) from Weavers Meadow, Banbridge withheld information knowing Creswell had assaulted Katie and perverted justice by cleaning blood in his home.

She and Jill Robinson (42) from Blackfort Road, Omagh jointly perverted justice by washing his clothes.

Rose de Montmorency-Wright (23) of Craigantlet Road, Newtownards withheld information knowing Creswell had assaulted Katie.

Prosecution counsel Sam Magee KC said they: “Protecting Creswell from being suspected of having a role in (Katie’s) death …They ascribed to and were complicit in his conspiracy of silence around critical facts, engaging in acts which misled those trying to uncover the truth.”

Katie sustained injuries all over her body including defensive wounds on her arms and hands, “tramline” bruising potentially inflicted with a rod-type implement, and “grip marks” on her thigh “indicative” of violent sexual assault.

While Katie was being assessed in hospital, Hayley, Christina and Jill were with Creswell who broke down stating: “Youse think I did this”.

Jill claimed all three women reassured him this wasn’t true because, “he doted on Katie.”

Creswell divulged that he’d beaten Katie and intended to explain her significant injuries occurred from being trampled.

None reported this to police or medical staff.

On Creswell’s instruction, Hayley took his clothes, later meeting up with Jill, before they drove to an external launderette and washed them.

Jill returned the clothing to Creswell’s mother’s house that day and instructed Hayley not to tell anyone of this.

She accepted being in a continuous relationship with Creswell for 10 years – overlapping with Christina – which continued up to his arrest.

Meanwhile Jill confirmed she and Creswell were in a relationship years ago and remained friends.

On the morning of the incident, she made her way to the hospital after Christina informed her Katie had hanged herself.

She denied Christina told her of Creswell assaulting Katie, nor could she recall any discussions of this including at the funeral.

Jill recalled informing Christina she had washed the clothes, although in hindsight accepted this was, “strange and suspicious”

She knew Hayley had cleaned blood and was aware of the “whole thing with Abi Lyle” who was Creswell’s previous victim and suffered starkly similar abuse to Katie.

Rose who lived in Creswell’s home, described him as “A close friend, someone she looked up to.”

She claimed there were no issues when Creswell and Katie arrived home shortly before 12.30am on 3 August 2020.

Around 6.30am just after Christina left the house, Rose claimed Katie told her she wasn’t going to work.

While thinking this unusual, Rose didn’t suspect anything and headed to work in Creswell’s car.

She described receiving a call saying Katie had hanged herself and immediately rang her.

On hearing a female voice “Which she assumed was Katiie, she phoned Christina and said Katie was fine, Jill then informed her Katie had hanged herself.”

Judge Neil Rafferty KC said the women’s offending crossed the custody threshold and in relation to Hayley imposed a sentence of two years.

Turning to Jill, he imposed a sentence of 16 months with Rose receiving eight months.

All sentences were suspended for two years.

Following this the PPS asked if the sentence would be appealed to which spokesperson said: “

“An unduly lenient sentence is one that falls outside the range of sentence that a judge, taking into consideration all relevant factors and having regard to sentencing guidance, could reasonably consider appropriate. The Director can refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal only if there is a legal ground to do so.

“In this case there is no legal ground to refer the sentences imposed to the Court of Appeal.”

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