Jonathan Creswell was a monster

Jonathan Creswell was a monster

Jonathan Creswell was a monster, a chilling embodiment of the dark failings of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland and us in the equine industry. His extensive criminal actions should have consigned him to a cell for decades. He should not have been able to do what he did. In no F*cking way should he.

Instead, he received a pitiful few months in jail for multiple assaults on his ex-girlfriend, and his trial for the rape and murder of his partner's sister abruptly ceased because he died at home while on bail.
The community's outrage, particularly from those who loved Katie Simpson, is both profound and justified. They mourn not only the tragic loss of a young, vibrant life but also the appalling denial of justice. Creswell's premature death prevented the courtroom accountability this case desperately needed.

This tragedy highlights more than individual injustice; it lays bare a systemic failure that questions our societal values. Creswell, despite his notorious reputation as a bully and abuser, managed to maintain a facade of respectability.

Alarmingly, those in positions to challenge or curtail his behaviour instead offered camaraderie and acceptance, allowing him to dodge the consequences routinely faced by less cunning individuals.

Creswell's case exposes a disturbing societal double standard. Clad in sport tuxedos and speaking with a refined accent, he was able to deflect suspicion, sidestepping the stigma typically associated with violent crime, which is often unfairly attributed only to certain demographics. His violent tendencies were well-documented yet systematically ignored by a community that chose to see only the surface.

The relationship between Creswell and Abi Lyle, which began in October 2008, quickly devolved into a nightmare of violence. By February 2009, Creswell had revealed his propensity for cruelty, subjecting Abi to beatings and attempted strangulation. He was relentless.

Define a psychopath I asked google - a person affected by chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour. I'll leave you determine the rest.

Lets be clear, Abi Lyle's escape came only through the intervention of a PSNI detective from the domestic violence unit, who helped her end six months of terror. Creswell’s reign of terror included threats to drown Abi in bleach and a horrific episode in a secluded area where he assaulted her for hours. “He was just beating me, throwing me around, choking me, screaming at me, calling me names and asking me horrible questions,” she said.
"You can recognise survivors of abuse by their courage" - this to me is Abi Lyle. Her horrific experiences, I hope do not define her, but Abi's courage most certainly does. What a powerhouse, what a woman, what a hero.

After serving only six months in prison for his crimes against Abi, Creswell was inexplicably welcomed back into the equestrian community. A local hunting club even celebrated his release with a party, a shocking display of the community's misplaced priorities and glaring disregard for his victims. Creswell's continued acceptance culminated in a pretty surreal moment in 2013 when he appeared in Channel Four’s Grand National advertising, glorified as a triumphant jockey—an appalling lapse in judgement by all who were aware of his brutal past.

How can this happen? How can a "person" like him be welcomed back like that and then front an ad for the Grand National... it is sickening to think about. I get he was a manipulator, I get he groomed or coerced people but how can a business make that decision. Disgraceful.

This societal failure both internally and externally to the equine industry to address and acknowledge Creswell's true nature contributed to a criminal justice system that disastrously underestimated the threat he posed.

His manipulation and coercion of Katie began when she was a mere child and escalated until he brutally ended her life in 2020, driven by jealousy over a suspected new relationship. Creswell then staged the scene to make Katie’s death look like a suicide, a lie initially accepted by the PSNI.

The evidence was stark and disturbing: Katie, found only in her underwear and a polo shirt, had been last seen alive by Creswell. She bore multiple injuries consistent with a violent assault, not suicide. Yet, initially, senior officers accepted Creswell’s claim that he was merely a Good Samaritan attempting to save her.

The tireless campaign by Katie's family and friends eventually led to a reevaluation of the case, culminating in Creswell’s arrest in 2021. This case underscores the urgent need for profound changes across society, especially regarding the handling and sentencing in domestic violence incidents.

The upcoming Policing Board meeting must address these immediate concerns.

We need robust discussions and actions to reform how domestic violence and coercive control are managed. We need changes in how society handles this. We need changes in how the equine industry handles these cases. Unless we see significant changes, our system will continue to fail women like Katie, who suffer at the hands of horribly insecure, fragile and broken men like Creswell.

We owe it to Katie and every victim of domestic violence to demand and implement rigorous changes in our justice system. This is not just about rectifying past failures but about transforming our societal approach to ensure a safer future for all women. The time for superficial condolences and ineffective measures is over; we must commit to substantial, enduring reforms.

We will do a lot more on domestic abuse, violance towards women, grooming etc in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. We will use Katie's memory as our muse, we will use Abi Lyles courage as our muse and we will be a voice and platform for women or girls of all ages going through this kind of torturous experience.

This is not the end Katie, this is only the beginning.

Until Next Time,


Shane McCarthy

Shane McCarthy

Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do!! I'm the co-founder and ceo of The Grassroots Gazette and Equitas. Be relentless in the pursuit of Excellence.