A JEALOUS ex-boyfriend allegedly strangled and stabbed his former partner to death in front of her three-year-old son. Charles Jessop, 29, violently murdered Clare Nash, 33, in a rage on her doorstep after she started seeing another man, a court heard.
He was arrested at her home within minutes of the attack as she lay dying and repeatedly told officers: “I have won.”
Jessop, who denies murder, was said to have shouted in a pub two days earlier: “I am going to slit her throat because if I can’t have her, no-one will. I will go to prison and do time for it.”
Ipswich Crown Court was told he bombarded Ms Nash with “relentless” calls and messages before her death.
He sent her 95 texts on Christmas Day in 2019 and another 174 over the next four days, threatening to kill himself if he did not see her.
She called police three times in the six weeks before her death to report that he was threatening her, but she declined to make a statement against him.
A police constable gave her safety advice on the morning of January 16, 2020, and assessed that she was at “medium risk” of domestic violence, said prosecutor Mark Cotter.
Jessop was said to have cycled to her home in Newmarket, Suffolk, with a kitchen knife on the evening of January 16 and lay in wait for her.
The court heard how he attacked the mother-of-two when she returned “in the presence “of her three-year-old son.
Mr Cotter said her housemate Peter Claringbold was alerted by the sound of screaming on the doorstep and heard Jessop shouting: “I said I was going to do this to you.”
Mr Claringbold tried to get her son out of the way and dialled 999 as Jessop and Ms Nash ended up in a bathroom.
He heard Jessop shouting “you are going to die” behind the closed door and held up the phone so police control staff could hear the attack taking place.
Police and paramedics rushed and battled to save the life of Ms Nash, who had suffered multiple stab wounds, but she sadly died.
A post mortem by Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Carey found that she had also been strangled, possibly after Jessop’s knife broke in the attack, Mr Cotter said.
The pathologist was unable to say whether she had died from blood loss or strangulation, but concluded that she was still alive after being stabbed.
Mr Cotter said Ms Nash had cried out that she was pregnant during the attack “in a desperate attempt to make him stop”.
But he added: “He mocked her for this, imitating her plea for mercy, as he was arrested.”
The post mortem revealed that she had not been pregnant.
When interviewed the following day by police, Jessop claimed that he suffered from anxiety and thought he might be schizophrenic.
Describing how he got angry, he said: “Sometimes the only way I can deal with that is letting my anger out.”
But Jessop, from Newmarket, was later seen by a psychiatrist who stated there was no evidence of him having schizophrenia.
It was concluded instead that he had a form of personality disorder which did not “explain the killing”.
In a later interview, he alleged that Ms Nash “played a lot of mind games”.
And when asked by police to explain his actions, he replied: “Good, done, no comment.”
Mr Cotter said there was “no dispute” that Jessop had killed Ms Nash by “stabbing her with a knife and strangling her”.
He added: “During the course of the attack, he also delivered a number of heavy blows to her face and head causing bruising.”
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available every day from 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Mr Cotter suggested that Jessop was seeking to claim that he either lost control because he feared Ms Nash had access to a gun or because “his responsibility was diminished due to his mental health, meaning he should not be held criminally responsible for her murder”.
He added that the jury might also hear his claim that he had a reaction to anti-depressants.
But he told the jury that the medication could not be blamed and Jessop had a “tendency to violence throughout his life” and had previously been violent to Ms Nash.
He added: “The prosecution say that Charles Jessop had simply become enraged by Clare Nash’s determined rejection of his unwanted advances and further angered by her new relationship.
“That anger fuelled by jealousy drove him to kill Clare Nash in a vicious, pre-meditated and cowardly attack in her home.”
The court heard how Jessop and Ms Nash started seeing each other in the second half of 2019, but the relationship began to break down in the December and she started a new relationship with bar manager George Petrie in the New Year.
Mr Cotter said there was evidence of Jessop behaving “in an obsessive and controlling way” over several months.
He said that Ms Nash called police on December 4, 2019, and told an officer who attended that Jessop had slapped her in the face, but she did not want to a make a complaint.
She called police again a week later on December 11 during an argument with him in Soham, Cambridgeshire, but her phone battery ran out.
The court heard how Ms Nash then ran into an Indian restaurant, saying: “He’s going to kill me. Call the police.”
She rang police for a third time on January 14, 2020, to say she had received repeated threatening calls from him.
Officers were unable to see her immediately due to “resourcing issues”, but she was given safety advice over the phone and she said that the calls had stopped.
An officer tried to see her the next day, leaving a voicemail message and a note at her address when she was not at home.
She was then spoken to on the morning of January 16, but did not wish to pursue a complaint.
The trial continues.
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