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PSNI and PPS stonewall on why fourth woman in Katie Simpson murder probe wasn’t charged

Katie Simpson

The PSNI and Public Prosecution Service (PPS) have stonewalled enquiries into why a decision was taken not to charge a fourth woman who was a key feature in the cover-up after Katie Simpson’s murder, meaning she was effectively treated differently to the other three co-defendants currently awaiting sentence.

The woman whose identity is known but is not being published at this time, eventually admitted knowing Jonathan Creswell had lied but chose to stand by his fabricated version of events until months after he was arrested and charged with murder.

Despite being reported by police for prosecution, a decision was taken not to proceed with charges against her, yet three other women in a similar position did not escape justice.

The PSNI were asked why the fourth woman was deemed suspect for withholding information particularly as she admitted knowing, among other aspects, Creswell had beaten Katie, retained her phone after her death, was present when he set out how he intended to explain Katie’s bruises falsely came from horse trampling and assisted in cultivating an elaborate cover-up.

They were also asked to advise on the status of further information provided to PSNI on April 27, 2024.

In the now standard response to all enquiries in this matter, Assistant Chief Constable Davy Beck repeated: “The death of Katie Simpson has left a family devastated. They have been robbed of their loved one, and continue to suffer unimaginably. My thoughts are, first and foremost, with Katie’s family at this time.

“I can confirm that we have received an investigation file from the Office of the Police Ombudsman, which is currently being considered. It would therefore be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time.”

A guidance note provided by the press office stated: “The PSNI’s response will remain the same in relation to any queries of specific detail and will not be commenting on investigative matters while legal and other proceedings are ongoing.”

Meanwhile the PPS was asked why, given this woman had been reported by PSNI for prosecution having admitted withholding information relating to Katie’s murder, a decision was taken against charging her.

They were also asked to explain on what basis this decision was made (eg public interest test, insufficient evidence, cooperating witness etc) and why only the next-of-kin can seek a review of this decision, which in this instance was not done.

A PPS spokesperson replied: “All the evidence and information submitted by police relating to Katie Simpson’s murder was carefully considered by the highly experienced prosecution team in the PPS Serious Crime Unit including taking the view of a senior barrister independent of the PPS. All decisions as to prosecution were made by the PPS in line with the Code for Prosecutors.

“Requests from victims, next of kin or their representatives for reviews of decisions not to prosecute are dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Code. As part of their file submission police may make a recommendation as to prosecution as part of operational contact between the PPS and PSNI. All decision-making, however, is a matter for the PPS following an independent and impartial application of the Test for Prosecution in line with the PPS Code for Prosecutors.”

The other three women – all connected to Creswell through the equestrian industry – initially denied charges relating to various actions following Katie’s death, but later changed their plea.

The first to switch position was Hayley Robb (30) from Weavers Meadow, Banbridge who changed plea in December.

She admitted withholding information between August 2, 2020 and June 26, 2021, while knowing Katie had sustained injuries.

Robb further admitted perverting the course of justice by cleaning blood in Creswell’s home on August 3, 2020 as well as washing his clothes at a laundrette.

Then in January the other two women also changed their pleas to guilty.

Jill Robinson (42) from Blackfort Road, Omagh admitted perverting the course of justice by washing Creswell’s along with Robb.

Rose de Montmorency-Wright (22) of Craigantlet Road, Newtownards admitted withholding information between October 9, 2020 and October 13, 2021 knowing Creswell had allegedly assaulted Katie and an investigation was underway into her death.

They are due to be sentenced later this month.

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