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Charles Jessop sentenced to life in prison for murder of Clare Nash at her Newmarket home

A ‘violent, controlling, selfish bully’ could be in jail for the rest of his life after he stabbed and strangled his ex-girlfriend in front of her three-year-old son.

Charles Jessop appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today, where he was jailed for 30 years for murdering Clare Nash at her Newmarket home on January 16 last year.

Judge Martyn Levett described Jessop, formerly of Bakers Row, as a ‘violent, controlling, and selfish bully’ who was a danger to women he was in a relationship with.

Charles Jessop
Charles Jessop

During a two-month trial earlier this year the court was told the 30 year old cycled to Miss Nash’s home in Brickfields Avenue, opened the door and stabbed her multiple times before strangling her to death.

The former mechanic denied murdering Miss Nash, but pleaded guilty to her manslaughter in the trial. He claimed his state of mind was altered after taking anti-depressant Citalopram, and said at the time of the killing he felt like he was in a video game.

But Jessop was found guilty of murder by a jury on June 9 this year.

Clare Nash
Clare Nash

Appearing via video link from Norwich Prison the convicted murderer was told by Judge Levett: “I did not believe a word of your evidence about experiencing any hallucination that you felt you were in a computer game, nor did I believe your evidence on the critical point about having to kill Clare to reach a certain level to end the game.”

Judge Levett said if Jessop didn’t have a ‘selfish, narcissistic obsession’ with Miss Nash and her private life, she would have been alive today.

“Clare Nash had every expectation of living a full live ahead of her, to see her son and daughter grow up to marry, to have a family and for her to be a grandmother but you cruelly and brutally cut short that expectation,” he said.

“You are an extremely dangerous man, with a long held, deep seated and warped view of women, particularly about them having to obey your every beck and call,” he told the sentencing hearing.

Police outside Clare Nash's home
Police outside Clare Nash's home

“I am satisfied that you fantasised over a period of time about Clare Nash and planned to inflict very serious violence on her, intending that she should suffer when you killed her.

“I cannot replicate the thoughts which must have entered your mind when you were killing Clare, moving to the lavatory and in the confined space it should not be understated that you tortured her by stabbing her in the abdomen, in the vaginal area because you thought she had been unfaithful and then her leg, breaking the handle of a sturdy knife in the process, and then finally when she was still alive, you strangled her to death.”

Jailing Jessop, Judge Levett said that he would serve a minimum of 30 years before he could be considered for parole.

“In my view you represent a person who is at high risk of harming women with whom you are in a close relationship,” he said.

Floral tributes left for Clare Nash in Brickfields Avenue, Newmarket
Floral tributes left for Clare Nash in Brickfields Avenue, Newmarket

During the trial, the court was told Jessop had bombarded her with messages as their relationship broke down.

Mark Cotter, prosecuting, said Miss Nash would have known she was being killed for some time and that it involved a significant degree of planning.

“There is no question he knew her son was present and no question that her son saw a significant amount of what took place before they ended up in the toilet,” he told the court.

Mr Cotter told the court Jessop could exercise rational judgement at the time of the killing.

During the almost two-hour sentencing the court heard victim impact statements from her family, including her step-mother, father, 16-year-old daughter, sister, and a poem written by her now four-year-old son’s father.

Mitigating Keir Monteith said his client was remorseful for what he did, and said: “Mr Jessop is incredibly sorry for killing Clare Nash. It is not a sorry just at the end of the trial, it is a sorry that was evident right from the start.”

He told the court that the side effects of the anti-depressant included mania and hallucinations. He urged Judge Levett to consider his client's personality disorder and mental health issues before he sentenced him.

Jessop has been forced to self-isolate in prison, Mr Monteith said, and that he had been bullied because of the nature of his crime.

He went on to tell the court: “His future is now bleak, most of the time he’s going to spend is alone in prison with very little little communication in the medium to long term with anyone else,” he said.

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