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‘Jealous ex-boyfriend stabbed and strangled woman to death in front of her son’, court hears

A jealous ex-boyfriend stabbed and strangled his former partner to death in a revenge attack on her doorstep in front of her three-year-old son, a court has heard.

Charles Jessop, 29, took a knife and cycled to 33-year-old Clare Nash’s flat in Newmarket, Suffolk on the evening of January 16 last year after their relationship ended and she began seeing another man, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Hours earlier, the mother-of-two went to police over her fears about Jessop and they assessed her risk as ‘medium’.

A jealous ex-boyfriend stabbed and strangled his former partner Clare Nash (pictured) to death, a court has heard

A jealous ex-boyfriend stabbed and strangled his former partner Clare Nash (pictured) to death, a court has heard

A jealous ex-boyfriend stabbed and strangled his former partner Clare Nash (pictured) to death, a court has heard

During his arrest minutes after the attack, Jessop allegedly said: ‘I have won.’ 

Mark Cotter QC, prosecuting, said Jessop lay in wait until Ms Nash returned home then launched his stabbing attack, strangling her after the knife broke.

‘This was a revenge attack borne of jealousy by a man who wouldn’t accept that Clare Nash had rejected him and entered into a new relationship,’ said Mr Cotter, adding that it was a ‘pre-meditated, vicious and cowardly attack’. 

He went on: ‘The knife broke during the attack, which likely explains why he went on to strangle her.’

Ms Nash’s friend Peter Claringbold, who lived with her, ‘was inside and heard screaming coming from the front doorstep’, Mr Cotter said.

The mother-of-two (left, pictured with her children) had ended her relationship with Jessop and was seeing another man

The mother-of-two (left, pictured with her children) had ended her relationship with Jessop and was seeing another man

The mother-of-two (left, pictured with her children) had ended her relationship with Jessop and was seeing another man

Mr Claringbold heard Jessop shouting ‘you’re going to die’, the court heard.

Mr Cotter said the attack happened ‘in the presence of (Ms Nash’s) three-year-old son’. 

Mr Claringbold tried to get her son out of the way and dialled 999 as Jessop and Ms Nash ended up in a toilet.

He heard Jessop shouting, ‘You are going to die’ behind the closed door of the toilet and held up the phone so police control staff could hear the attack taking place.

Mr Cotter said that Ms Nash had cried out that she was pregnant during the attack ‘in a desperate attempt to make him stop’.

Ms Nash went to police over her fears about Jessop hours before her death and they assessed her risk as 'medium'

Ms Nash went to police over her fears about Jessop hours before her death and they assessed her risk as 'medium'

Ms Nash went to police over her fears about Jessop hours before her death and they assessed her risk as ‘medium’

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.

A pathologist could not say whether Ms Nash died by strangulation or from blood loss, Mr Cotter said, with her cause of death recorded as a combination of both.

Jessop, of Bakers Row, Newmarket, who denies murder, was said to have shouted out 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.’ 

The defendant and Ms Nash began their relationship ‘in the second half of 2019’ and it had ended by Christmas that year, Mr Cotter said.

The defendant and Ms Nash began their relationship 'in the second half of 2019' and it had ended by Christmas that year, Mr Cotter said

The defendant and Ms Nash began their relationship 'in the second half of 2019' and it had ended by Christmas that year, Mr Cotter said

The defendant and Ms Nash began their relationship ‘in the second half of 2019’ and it had ended by Christmas that year, Mr Cotter said

He said there had been a ‘number of violent incidents’ as the defendant’s relationship with Ms Nash deteriorated.

‘By the time of the new year Clare Nash had begun a relationship with a man called George Petrie,’ Mr Cotter said.

He said Jessop ‘continued to be obsessed with Clare Nash and continued to bombard her with phone calls’, sending 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. 

The defendant became aware of Ms Nash’s relationship with Mr Petrie, who was also known as Barry, and this ‘sent him into a jealous rage’, Mr Cotter said.

Police who were called to the incident in Brickfields Avenue heard Jessop say ‘I have won’, he said.

Hours earlier, on the morning of January 16, Ms Nash had spoken to police about Jessop and the level of risk to her was assessed as ‘medium’, Mr Cotter said.

‘She recorded problems she was having with Charles Jessop but didn’t want to make a statement,’ he said.

Police cordon off the flat at Brickfields Avenue where the alleged attack took place in January 2020

Police cordon off the flat at Brickfields Avenue where the alleged attack took place in January 2020

Police cordon off the flat at Brickfields Avenue where the alleged attack took place in January 2020

He said she was ‘given advice’ and she agreed to email police a recording of one of Jessop’s phone calls.

An officer received an email from Ms Nash at 8.29pm that day with contact numbers for her and Jessop.

An email containing the voicemail message from Jessop did not arrive until the following day, January 17, ‘probably due to the size of the file’, Mr Cotter said.

‘By the time that file arrived Clare Nash was already dead,’ he said.

He said that the defendant is ‘seeking to raise issues as to the state of his mind at the time of the killing’.

Jessop will claim the antidepressant drug Citalopram affected him, Mr Cotter added.

When interviewed the day after his arrest, 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.’.

Jessop from Newmarket was later seen by a psychiatrist who stated that he there was no evidence of him having schizophrenia, Ipswich Crown Court (pictured) heard

Jessop from Newmarket was later seen by a psychiatrist who stated that he there was no evidence of him having schizophrenia, Ipswich Crown Court (pictured) heard

Jessop from Newmarket was later seen by a psychiatrist who stated that he there was no evidence of him having schizophrenia, Ipswich Crown Court (pictured) heard

But Jessop from Newmarket was later seen by a psychiatrist who stated that he 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’, said Mr Cotter.

In a later interview, he alleged that Ms Nash ‘played a lot of mind games’. When asked by police to explain his actions, he replied: ‘Good, done, No comment.’

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 run 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.

The trial continues.

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