A man accused of killing his partner’s sister is an alleged philanderer who borrowed thousands of pounds from women, the High Court heard yesterday.
Jonathan Creswell was charged with the murder of 21-year-old Katie Simpson as part of an investigation into her initially suspected hanging.
Ms Simpson died in hospital following an incident at an address in Gortnessy Meadows, Londonderry on August 3 last year.
At first it was thought that she had taken her own life.
Despite continuing uncertainty over the cause of death, prosecutors claim 33-year-old Creswell, of Briar Hill Gardens in Greysteel, can now be charged with murder based on other evidence and “deficiencies” in his account.
During his application for bail the court heard the horse trainer was the long-term partner of Ms Simpson’s older sister.
But Crown lawyer Robin Steer contended that Creswell had been in a sexual relationship with the alleged victim.
It was further claimed that Creswell was seeing other women, including a 10-year affair with one referred to only as ‘H’.
One of them said she gave him money and acted as guarantor for a £15,000 loan taken out by the accused, a judge was told.
He also allegedly received £10,000 from another of the women borrowed from the Credit Union.
Mr Steer contended: “My understanding from the police is he was also speaking to Katie’s mother about a loan while the deceased was being treated in the intensive care unit.”
As part of Creswell’s bid to be released from custody £10,000 has been lodged as a potential surety, with further sums available.
Mr Justice O’Hara commented: “He should have more money available, because he’s (allegedly) been borrowing significantly from young women over the years.”
Describing the case against Creswell as circumstantial, defence counsel insisted there is no direct evidence of involvement in murder.
“There are very significant issues surrounding causation,” Kieran Mallon QC said.
Dealing with the post-mortem findings, he argued that hanging was not eliminated as a potential cause of death.
Mr Mallon also disputed the admissibility of separate claims made about his client’s past behaviour. “The prosecution appear to be throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at this case,” he submitted.
Referring to Creswell’s alleged relationships with women, the barrister stressed: “You can be a philanderer and not be a murderer.”
But Mr Justice O’Hara replied: “He’s not just a philanderer... on the prosecution case he has loans from the dead sister of his current partner.”
Adjourning the hearing for two weeks, he requested medical records and the pathologist’s report.
“There’s a question mark at the start of this case about the charge of murder, how well founded that is,” the judge pointed out. “Mr Creswell can’t be denied bail on the basis that he’s not a very nice guy.”
A previous court heard that Creswell claimed Ms Simpson had fallen from a horse at a show and been trampled, after bruising was found on various parts of her body.