Three have avoided prison in connection with the cover-up of Katie Simpson’s death

Three women who pleaded guilty to crimes over covering up the death of show jumper Katie Simpson have avoided prison.

Mrs Simpson died following an incident at Gortnessy Meadows in Lettershandoney on August 3, 2020.

Hayley Robb, Jill Robinson and Rose De Montmorency-Wright were given suspended sentences after admitting a string of offenses relating to her death.

Jonathan Creswell, accused of the rape and murder of Katie Simpson, was found dead in his home in April.

In a speech to the court, Mrs Simpson’s mother, Noleen Simpson, said it was “heartbreaking to know we will never see Katie smile again”.

“Her laughter will be memories we will treasure.”

Robb, 30, of Weavers Meadow, Banbridge, County Down, pleaded guilty to withholding information and two further charges of perverting the course of justice.

She washed Mr. Creswell’s clothes and purified the blood at his home.

Her two-year prison sentence was suspended for two years.

Robinson, 42, of Blackfort Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone, also admitted perverting the course of justice by laundering clothes belonging to Mr Creswell.

She was sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years.

De Montmorency-Wright, 22, of Craigantlet Road, Newtownards, Co Down, pleaded guilty to concealing information between October 2020 and October 2021.

She lived with Mr Creswell and his then partner Christina Simpson – Katie Simpson’s sister.

She was sentenced to eight months, suspended for two years.

Who was Jonathan Creswell?

Jonathan Creswell was found dead in his home shortly after the trial began in April. (BBC)

Creswell, who had denied raping and murdering Ms Simpson, was found dead shortly after the trial began.

He has not been in custody since the High Court in Belfast granted him bail in April 2021.

Police initially believed Mrs Simpson’s death was a suicide, but it was later treated as a murder.

After sentencing the three women, the judge found that Creswell was a “skilled and predatory abuser” who viewed women under his influence “simply to exploit them for his own purposes, including to satisfy his sexual needs.”

The Public Prosecuting Service (PPS) found that it was because of her that Mr Creswell was responsible for Ms Simpson’s death.

“Also central to the prosecution’s case was that he covered up and lied about the circumstances of her death in order to exonerate himself,” said senior prosecutor Bronach McAuley.

“Although the prosecution accepted the defendants’ testimony that they believed they were shielding Creswell from responsibility for the earlier assault on Ms. Simpson, rather than for her murder, they were nevertheless convicted of a serious crime.”

Speaking about the end of the trial over the death of Jonathan Creswell, Noleen Simpson said the family will never find justice.

“The lack of trial has left an overwhelming sense of injustice. What motivated us was the thought that he would soon go to prison.

“If you look back to the beginning, something like this was never going to happen.”

She thanked all those involved in bringing Katie’s murder to trial and believing it was not a suicide as initially thought.

The Simpson family have previously called for an investigation into why police failed to act urgently on suspicions that Mrs Simpson may have been murdered.

Katie Simpson’s aunt said Jonathan Creswell had been abusing her niece for years (BBC)

The jumper’s aunt told BBC News NI that she believed Jonathan Creswell may have sexually abused Katie Simpson for years.

Paula Mullan said that while some have speculated that the two are in a relationship, that is not her understanding of the situation.

“For me, raping someone and abusing them for so many years is not a relationship.

“He could have called it a relationship, but it wasn’t.

“So it’s hard to imagine that she experienced all this suffering in her life.

“I think she wanted to say everything and that’s why she was murdered.”

She urged anyone who is in an abusive relationship to seek help, adding that there are agencies such as Women’s Aid that are doing a great job.

Meanwhile, Marie Brown, chief executive of Foyle Women’s Aid, called for a review of the case.

“I want a full review of this case because I think the PSNI’s performance has been abysmal,” she said.

“I know that Katie’s case came too late to be covered by the murder retrial legislation.

“However, I urge an inquest to be launched into the death of Katie Simpson so that we can learn from this case.”

A PSNI spokesman said: ‘We have received an investigation file from the Police Ombudsman’s Office which is currently being processed.

“It would therefore be inappropriate to make any further comments at this time.”