A man charged with murdering his partner’s sister, in what was originally treated as suicide, has been granted bail at the High Court, despite strong objections from police and Social Services.
Jonathan James Creswell (33) from Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel is charged with murdering Katie Simpson on August 3, 2020.
The 21-year-old showjumper, from Middletown, passed away in hospital having never regained consciousness.
Creswell claims to have discovered Katie hanging, and although concerns were raised including her phone missing from the outset, police were not investigating.
This is currently subject to a Police Ombudsman investigation.
Prosecution counsel advised: “It was when Detective Sergeant James Brannigan became involved the investigation really commenced.”
Creswell was in a relationship with the victim’s eldest sister with whom he has two children, but it is contended he “controlled Katie since she was nine or 10, and controls other females”.
On the morning in question, he claims to have left the house he shared with his partner and children, Katie and another female.
After dropping the children with a relative, he claims he returned home to find Katie hanging, before putting her into her car and driving to meet the ambulance.
A treating consultant was concerned by this having “never encountered someone putting a person into a car, unconscious and not breathing”.
Analysis established Katie’s phone was switched to flight-mode, disconnecting the network while Creswell handed her over to paramedics.
A High Court bail application was adjourned for medical and pathology reports, one of which described injuries on Katie’s arms and legs as “consistent to being struck with a rod-type implement”.
It has been established Katie took out a £10,000 loan, which was handed to Creswell, and while she lay in hospital critically ill, he allegedly approached her mother for funds.
An issue arose over sureties after it was revealed in court equestrian vet Eric Smith was named along with a former partner of Creswell, Jill Robinson.
The court heard today the use of Mr Smith’s name was “a misunderstanding” and he had never agreed to a surety, however it was not disclosed how this situation came about, or who may have wrongly put his name forward.
The prosecution said Creswell has been in repeated contact with his partner while in prison, even though after she changed her number.
There are also serious concerns about Miss Robinson who court heard has been in constant contact with Creswell while in prison, who in turn has allegedly been contacting his partner.
This was also alleged to have continued even after Miss Simpson provided a statement to police.
Court also heard it alleged a second female – Rose de Montmorency – who shared a house with Creswell at the time of Katie’s death – has been contacting Miss Simpson urging her to take Miss Robinson’s calls.
Social Services also expressed serious concerns around Miss Robinson whom it was reported was always with Creswell’s partner when they try to engage with her.
However the defence stressed while Miss Simpson did change her phone number, she herself provided it to Creswell.
The defence also argued Miss Robinson has not been spoken to by police.
It was contended that bail could be granted and while the defence said he was not diminishing the seriousness of domestic violence in the previous victim, this offending occurred some time ago.
He said one of the sureties – Ben Crawford – who operates stables in Larne, is willing to have Creswell reside with him on bail.
Mr Justice O’Hara decided to grant bail in the sum of £30,000 and ordered him to reside at the address in Larne although no female can be there at any time.
There are also to be sureties whose names are to be provided to the court and Creswell is banned from entering County Armagh.
He is also to have no contact with any witnesses.