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Woman who accepts role in Katie Simpson’s suspected murder cover-up offers to assist PPS

Katie Simpson

A woman who admitted her role in the Katie Simpson murder case has offered to work with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) which is “under active consideration”.

The move came during a review hearing of the case at Laganside Crown Court last week.

Jonathan Creswell (35) previously of Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel but now with an address which cannot be published, is charged with murdering the talented showjumper on August 3, 2020 and raping her at some time beforehand.

It is contended he attacked Katie – the younger sister of his partner – in an alleged jealous rage then staged a scene to make it appear she had attempted to take her own life.

Three women – all connected to Creswell through the equestrian industry – are charged with offences relating to the cover up of Katie’s murder in the aftermath.

While all accused initially denied their respective charges, one has now changed her plea.

Lawyers for Hayley Robb (30) from Weavers Meadow, Banbridge asked for the charges to be put to her again.

Breaking down in tears she replied “guilty” to withholding information between August 2, 2020 and June 26, 2021, while knowing Katie had sustained injuries and believing she may have been murdered.

She 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.

Mr Justice O’Hara told Robb she will remain on bail “which will be revisited with the outcome of the case is known.”

She is no longer required to attend court until a sentencing date is fixed.

Her barrister advised the admissions are on an “agreed basis” and a number of issues are being attended to including the obtaining of specialist reports.

He added she has “made an offer to assist with the prosecution and that is being actively considered.”

Meanwhile proceedings are continuing against the two other women, one of whom, Jill Robinson (42) from Blackfort Road, Omagh is also accused of perverting the course of justice by washing Creswell’s clothes.

Her barrister told the court he wished to take time to “make an assessment.”

The third woman, Rose de Montmorency-Wright (22) of Craigantlet Road, Newtownards is accused of withholding information between October 9, 2020 and October 13, 2021 knowing Creswell had allegedly assaulted Katie, and believing murder may have been committed.

A defence barrister told the court: “We anticipate there will be some developments in her case as well.”

She resided with Creswell, his partner Christina Simpson (Katie’s sister) and their two children, at the time of her death.

Both women made up two of the group of four to carry Katie’s coffin both into and from the church at her funeral.

Creswell also carried her coffin, including the last short walk from the church to the grave.

The trial, which is scheduled for April 2024, will now take place without Robb in the dock.

It was previously disclosed after Creswell claimed to have discovered Katie hanging, he placed her – unresponsive and dressed only in a polo shirt and underwear – into her own car before driving to meet an ambulance, as opposed to waiting for it to arrive at the scene.

Altnagelvin Hospital staff were concerned by Katie’s presentation, noting multiple injuries including intimate bleeding and extensive bruising to her lower right leg, inner thigh and both hands.

Creswell was “vague in detail”, claiming Katie fell from a horse the previous day, before being trampled.

She passed away just under a week later, aged 21, having never regained consciousness.

A post-mortem found tramline injuries on her limbs, “consistent to being struck with a rod-type implement.”

An initial police investigation declined to pursue any criminal enquiries, repeatedly dismissing concerns brought directly to them over Katie’s death.

It would be seven months before Creswell was finally arrested after sustained efforts by Katie’s friends prompted a high-level review into the original PSNI decision.

A new team took over in January 2021 and a murder inquiry was launched.

Another struggle eventually resulted in a Police Ombudsman investigation, with six officers reported to PSNI Professional Standards, under what became Operation Gambart.

When asked about the status of this a PSNI spokesperson said: “An investigation file has been received from the Police Ombudsman. This file is extensive. It will take some time to fully and properly consider its content. As the misconduct process remains ongoing, no further information can be provided at this time.

When Creswell first appeared in court back in March 2021 Investigating Officer Detective Sergeant James Brannigan said police believe he “controlled and coerced Katie since she was a child of 9 or 10”, first encountering her through his long-term relationship with her eldest sister, Christina Simpson.

He denies all charges against him.

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