Horse trainer, 36, accused of raping and murdering female showjumper, 21, is found dead at his home on the second day of his trial

A horse trainer who was on probation accused of murdering and raping a female show jumping horse, has been found dead in his home while out on bail.

Jonathan Creswell, 36, had denied murdering and raping Katie Simpson. His trial started on Tuesday.

The second day of the trial was scheduled to begin earlier today, but the jury was suddenly dismissed this morning after police reported they had found Creswell’s body. According to police, the 36-year-old died under non-suspicious circumstances.

Londonderry Crown Court in Coleraine heard Creswell had previously had an ‘illegal’ sexual relationship with Ms Simpson. He then became angry after learning the 21-year-old was dating someone else.

Sam Magee KC, a barrister for the prosecution, told the jury that Creswell raped, strangled and murdered Mrs Simpson.

Jonathan Creswell (pictured outside court) was found dead after going on trial this week accused of murdering and raping a female show jumping horse

The court also heard that Creswell then tried to ‘cover up’ what had happened by claiming Mrs Simpson’s death was ‘the result of suicide’.

Creswell then pretended to be “the unfortunate person” who discovered Mrs. Simpson’s body, the prosecutor said.

Mr Magee added: “It is the prosecution case that the defendant raped Katie. He killed her. He did his best to cover up what he had done by trying to make her death look like a suicide. In the hours leading up to death, he was with Katie.

‘He strangled her and created a fiction, pretending to others that he had found Katie in a stairwell.

‘He pretended to the medical staff that she had committed suicide. We say he was the person who committed an act of violent rage that took her life at just 21 years old.”

Katie Simpson (pictured) was found dead in August 2020 after an incident at a property near Londonderry

Katie Simpson (pictured) was found dead in August 2020 after an incident at a property near Londonderry

Mrs Simpson died on August 3, 2020 after an incident at the home Creswell shared with Katie’s sister Christina Simpson. Creswell was in a long-term relationship with Christina, the court heard.

A Chief Inspector from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was called to the witness box earlier today. He said he had received information that a man had been found dead at a property in Londonderry at 9am.

“A relative confirmed it was Mr Jonathan Creswell,” he said.

A PSNI spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Police responded to the sudden death of a man at an address in the Waterside area of ​​Londonderry this morning. The death is not considered suspicious.”

Judge Neil Rafferty KC told the jury that the trial process had been completed and dismissed them.

He said the sentencing of three co-defendants who had pleaded guilty before the start of the trial would be brought forward. He postponed the case until May 10.

The trial began at Londonderry Crown Court in Coleraine (photo: Coleraine Courthouse)

The trial began at Londonderry Crown Court in Coleraine (photo: Coleraine Courthouse)

Creswell’s trial was expected to last six to eight weeks.

On the first day of the trial on Tuesday, the court heard that Katie was involved in the equestrian industry and that she and her sister Christina had met Creswell when he was a jockey at Darton Ree Stables in Tynan, Co Armagh.

The court heard Christina and Creswell subsequently got together and had two children. Katie later started working with them.

Mr Magee told the court that Katie was in the very early stages of a relationship with another man called Shane McCloskey at the time of her death and that she was terrified Creswell would learn of this, the Irish Mirror reported.

The sentencing of the three co-accused women will now be brought forward, BBC Northern Ireland reports.

Jill Robinson, 42, of Blackfort Road in Omagh, admitted perverting the course of justice on August 3, 2020.

Hayley Robb, 30, of Weavers Meadow in Banbridge, County Down, admitted two charges of perverting the course of justice and concealing information.

Rose De Montmorency-Wright, of Craigantlet Road in Newtownards, County Down, admitted withholding information between October 9, 2020 and October 13, 2021.

The 22-year-old lived with Creswell and his partner Christina, who was Katie Simpson’s sister at the time.