Man charged with the murder of a woman told police she had taken her own life

Court told that the accused had a 'controlling' relationship with the deceased woman


The woman died at Altnagelvin Hospital on August 9 last year.

A 33-year-old man was today charged with the murder of a woman in Derry last year.

Jonathan Creswell is accused of murdering the woman, his partner's sister, on August 3, 2020.

On that date, the 21-year-old woman was taken to hospital from a house at Gortnessy Meadows in the Lettershandoney area on the outskirts of Derry.

She died six days later in the local hospital on August 9.

Creswell, who is a horse trainer and a well-known figure in Irish showjumping circles, and whose address was given as Briar Hill Gardens in Greysteel, appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court this morning.

A police officer told the court that an ambulance crew were called to the address at Gortnessy Meadows on August 3 in relation to a 'suspected hanging'.

The officer said that as the ambulance crew made their way to the house they were informed that Creswell had placed the woman in the passenger seat of a car and was bringing her to the hospital.

He was told to pull over to the side of the road where he was met by the ambulance crew who transferred her to their vehicle and took her to the hospital.

The officer said that in hospital it was noted that the woman had bruising to her legs, hands and one arm and a cut lip.

Creswell told doctors that the woman had fallen from a horse the previous day and had been trampled on by the horse.

The police officer said the doctors found Creswell 'vague' in detail.

The officer added that medical staff at the hospital with many years experience said the woman did not 'present as a hanging victim' due to the 'lack of a ligature mark' and 'other features they would expect from a hanging victim'.

The officer said that Creswell's account is that he left his house which he shares with his partner, who is the deceased woman's sister, to drop his children off in Greysteel.

He told police that when he returned around 8am he found the deceased woman, who also had been living in the house, hanging from a bannister.

The police officer said the woman had been in a relationhip with a man for around six weeks before she died.

The officer said texts between the woman and her boyfriend indicated that she was worried about Creswell finding out about their relationship.

In one of the texts, her boyfriend replies, 'Why would he kill you, this is crazy, fuck me you are terrified of him'.

The police officer told the court that they believed Creswell had a 'controlling coercive relationship' with the deceased woman since she was the 'age of 9 or 10'.

The officer said that during questioning, Creswell claimed that he had been in a sexual relationship with the deceased woman for 'the last four years'.

He told police that he had found the deceased woman hanging from the bannister of the stairs in the house.

However, the officer said that no markings were found on the bannister.

The officer said that Creswell had previously been convicted of attacking a former partner.

He said that the account that his former partner had given in relation to the 'strangulation and choking' during her attack bore 'striking similarities' to the current case.

The officer said that 'life was looking good' for the young woman and that they do not believe Creswell's account of what happened.

Creswell's solicitor made an application for him to be released on bail.

However, the PSNI officer said police would object to bail because of the threat of him reoffending and the concern that he would leave the jurisdiction.

The officer said they would also have concerns about Creswell interfering with witnesses.

A defence solictor said that a 'very substantial cash surety' had been put forward by Creswell's family and friends for bail.

He added that the defendant was willing to be subject to strict bail conditions.

However, the bail application was rejected and Creswell was remanded in custody to appear via video link at Derry Magistrates Court on April 1.

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