Katie Simpson murder accused Jonathan Creswell tried to 'cover his tracks,' trial told

A court has heard a man accused of murdering show jumper Katie Simpson in 2020 raped, strangled and killed the 21-year-old out of "jealousy" and tried to make her death look like suicide. In the opening statement of the trial the prosecution said 36-year-old Jonathan Creswell formerly of Briars Hill Gardens in Greysteel was the last person to see her alive and how he "lied and lied and lied to cover his tracks". Ms Simpson died on 9 August in 2020 after an incident on the 3 August at a house in Gortmessy Meadows in Lettershandoney. She was taken to Altnagelvin hospital but passed away from her injuries.

Jonathan Creswell attending court. Credit: UTV

On the opening of the trial on Tuesday, a jury of seven women and five men was told Creswell had a an "illicit" sexual relationship with Katie and he murdered her because she was in a relationship with someone else that it was claimed, she tried to hide from him.

The court was told Katie was "fun and outgoing" but under the spell of the accused. The prosecution said what happened was a "calculating and deceitful episode" and Creswell strangled her and created a fiction pretending she had taken her own life. "He was that last person to see her alive. He raped her. Murdered her. And tried to make her death look like suicide," the prosecution claimed. CCTV footage and a 999 call were played in court.

Creswell denies both murder and rape. The court was told the alleged assault that lead to her death happened days before.

The trial is expected to hear from around 70 witnesses and last between four and six weeks.

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