Call for review of sentencing for trio over Katie Simpson death cover-up

Call For Review Of Sentencing For Trio Over Katie Simpson Death Cover-Up
Katie Simpson (21) died following an incident near Derry city on August 3rd, 2020. Photo: Family handout
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By Rebecca Black, PA

The next of kin of murdered showjumper Katie Simpson have urged that sentences handed to three people for trying to cover up the death are reviewed.

Ms Simpson (21), from Tynan, Co Armagh, died following an incident on Gortnessy Meadows, Lettershandoney, on August 3rd, 2020.


Her death had originally been thought by police to have been at her own hand, but was later treated as murder.

Jonathan Creswell (36) denied charges of rape and murder. His trial, however, collapsed earlier this year following his sudden death.

Three women, Hayley Robb (30), Jill Robinson (42) and Rose de Montmorency-Wright (23) admitted offences connected to covering up the death of Ms Simpson.

Last week, they received suspended sentences.



Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Herron indicated there was no legal grounds on which to challenge the sentencing as unduly lenient.


Solicitor Kevin Winters, acting for Ms Simpson’s next of kin, has written to the Public Prosecution Service asking for an immediate review of the decision not to refer the sentencing to the Court of Appeal.

“Given the strict 14-day time limit within which an application needs to be filed to the Court of Appeal we urge that you undertake this review request immediately,” he wrote.

“As a preliminary, in support of the request, the family cite the obvious and clear interference with the police investigation which impaired and delayed the investigative steps that needed to be undertaken, particularly at an early stage in the inquiry.

“The family expect an engagement to explain precisely how the director reached his decision not to refer the case to the Court of Appeal. To that end we now ask formally for a detailed outline of the reasoning to include, if applicable, senior counsels’ opinion.


“We also request confirmation that an immediate review will be undertaken and that such review will be conducted collaboratively with the next of kin.”

The UK Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is understood to have received the correspondence and are to respond to it.

In a statement, the PPS said: “While sentencing is a matter for the judiciary, the Director of Public Prosecutions does have the power to refer particular sentences to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that they may be unduly lenient.

“An unduly lenient sentence is one that falls outside the range of sentence that a judge, taking into consideration all relevant factors and having regard to sentencing guidance, could reasonably consider appropriate. The director can refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal only if there is a legal ground to do so.


“In this case there is no legal ground to refer the sentences imposed to the Court of Appeal.”

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