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Stark similarities between Jonathan Creswell and Jimmy Savile

Is an Operation Yewtree equivalent required into Creswell, the equestrian industry and those who 'looked the other way'?

Jonathan Creswell and Katie Simpson

With the legal proceedings into the murder of Tynan woman Katie Simpson at the hands of a violent and sexually abusive offender now concluded, the questions around the mishandling of the case are mounting.

While the focus has largely been on the PSNI errors and delay in launching a murder inquiry, there are other factors to consider – namely the ease at with Jonathan Creswell was able to frequently abuse young woman and the equestrian industry which, in many sectors, appeared not to be concerned by his conduct or looked the other way.

Creswell is believed to have throttled twenty-one-year-old Katie in a jealous rage, having discovered she had spent the night with a man.

In sentencing, the co-accused women who covered up aspects and carried out acts to deflect from the fact he had beaten Katie, Judge Neil Rafferty noted: “Many witnessed Creswell’s verbally abusive and frankly vile comments to Katie, usually in a context of sexualised language. Creswell was a skilled and predatory abuser who simply viewed women to be used and abused for his own ends.”

Despite being in a longterm relationship with Katie’s sister, Christina ‘Nina’ Simpson, mother of his two children, Creswell was in relationships with multiple women.

It is believed he sexually, physically, emotionally and latterly financially abused Katie from she was around 10, having encountered her through his relationship with Christina.

At that time he had just been released from a prison sentence for beating and terrorising his former partner, Abi Lyle, who bravely reported him to police – a move which later saw her almost ostracised from the equestrian community in Ireland.

Creswell was seen as the wronged man and his female acolytes were the first to criticise Abi, and along with others, threw a welcome home party for him on release – notably attended by the equestrian great and good.

Instead of learning from his experience, Creswell reverted to form almost immediately.

He was by now in a relationship with Christina, who supported him throughout the trial, as did his co-accused Jill Robinson, who was a former partner.

Add to this, another co-accused, Hayley Robb, had begun what became a 10-year relationship with Creswell, which continued right up to his arrest.

She too disclosed physical, emotional and financial abuse.

When Katie was murdered, Creswell was living with Christina, their children, Katie, and the third co-accused Rose de Montmorency-Wright, and in a relationship with Hayley Robb.

As the murder case crawled through the justice system, more women were coming forward reporting similar abuse.

Some spoke out while Creswell was briefly remanded in custody, such was their fear of reprisals – something of a common theme among the stark realisation of an equestrian industry backdrop.

While there is no issue in what consenting adults do, that is caveated by such activity causing no harm.

Creswell, however, was causing harm, breaking the law and it’s now clear, was sexually dangerous toward young girls, but it appears this was accepted, or overlooked, by some within the equestrian industry.

An obvious parallel is now emerging, sparking the question – was Creswell’s role in the equestrian industry, the equivalent of Jimmy Savile’s in the entertainment industry?

The comparisons are stark.

After Savile’s death, without a single charge being brought against him – despite numerous complaints of predatory, sexualised conduct – Operation Yewtree was finally launched, uncovering a whole web of abuse, facilitation and cover-up.

Following Creswell’s death on the second day of his trial, more people have come forward with similar harrowing and disturbing concerns.

They will never see him prosecuted but insist there are many yet to speak out who are victims in a sport they view abuse as endemic and unfettered.

In this vein, a number of authorities were asked if a similar investigation is now required into Creswell.

All were asked the same questions and provided with the following themes of those coming forward:

· All are connected in some way to the equestrian industry
· All express the same abuses
· All express the same concerns of abuse being known of by many who either facilitated it, partook or “looked the other way”.
· All felt they could never tell anyone and those who tried were victimised and/or ostracised
· Many were underage when the abuse occurred and of these all indicate elements of grooming
· Some felt abuse was tolerated and part of the job
· Some felt they were procured for sex and routinely passed around others
· The majority felt exploited physically for stable work for minimum or no payment, while others felt exploited sexually

Given what occurred with Savile, whose death led to the establishment of Operation Yewtree, which examined the entertainment industry and a culture of abuse, lack of ability to report concerns and the refusal of those in authority to act, would there be support for a similar operation into Creswell?

Of those authorities who replied, the responses were largely weak and the words “inappropriate to comment” feature strongly.

The PSNI immediately pointed to the ongoing investigation into the Police Ombudsman report into the mishandling of Katie’s case, despite no opinion sought on that, stating: “It would be inappropriate to make any further specific comments at this time.”

However this was followed by a comment from Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher, of the Public Protection Branch, who said: “We do not want any victim to suffer in silence and not come forward. We know a significant barrier to reporting can be coercion and the general fear of not being taken seriously or the evidence not being robustly investigated. I am keen to encourage victims to report sexual crimes or exploitation of any kind to police, no matter when they occurred. We are determined those responsible will be made amenable. We treat victims with the utmost respect and sensitivity and will work closely with them, even in challenging circumstances, to support them in any way we can.”

Meanwhile, a Policing Board spokesperson, said: “The Board awaits the conclusion of the Police Ombudsman investigation into these matters. The Board’s role oversees PSNI and ensures the delivery of an efficient and effective service. Police investigations are an operational matter and as such, we have no further comment to make at this time.”

The Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan felt it “not appropriate to comment on the issues raised”.

The Attorney General acknowledged the seriousness of the case and the concerns raised however it was deemed not appropriate for her to comment on operational policing matters or the need for a major police investigation as these matters are not within her remit.

The Department of Justice has yet to respond.

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