A trainee jockey has been jailed today after being found guilty of brutally murdering his former girlfriend in an attack that began in front of her three-year-old son.
Charles Jessop, 30, was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison by Judge Martyn Levett who described him as a ‘violent, controlling, selfish bully’.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how he attacked Clare Nash, 33, on her doorstep after lying in wait for her to return home in Newmarket, Suffolk.
He continued the ‘vicious and cowardly’ attack as her three-year-old son yelled: ‘It’s Charlie, he’s got a knife, and he’s going to chop my mum’s head off’.
The judge said Jessop was ‘a violent, controlling, selfish bully which he’d always been and probably always would be’
Miss Nash ended up being dragged into her downstairs toilet by knife-wielding Jessop after she told him: ‘Not in front of the child.’
She was then stabbed multiple times before Jessop’s knife broke and he strangled her behind the closed door on January 16 last year.
Jessop of Newmarket had denied murder but was found guilty in May after an eight week trial.
Judge Levett told him that Miss Nash would still be alive today were it not for his ‘selfish, narcissistic obsession’ with her private life.
The court also heard that he bombarded his ex with ‘relentless’ calls and messages before her death, 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.
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.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Jessop attacked Clare Nash, 33, on her doorstep after lying in wait for her to return home in Newmarket, Suffolk
A police constable gave her safety advice on the morning of January 16 and assessed that she was at ‘medium risk’ of domestic violence, said prosecutor Mark Cotter.
Judge Levett said he had allowed his jealousy to ‘overspill and take over’ after she had ended their relationship and had harassed and manipulated her before brutally stabbing and strangling her as his ‘quarry’.
He added that domestic violence as a ‘real problem’ with more than 100,000 people in the UK being at high risk of being murdered or seriously injured.
The judge described how seven women a month were murdered by a partner or former partner, and added: ‘No-one owns their partners or spouses or girlfriend.’
Jessop had tried to blame his actions on his mental health and his habit of snorting anti-depressant medication which he claimed put him in ‘a psychotic rage’.
But the judge said it had nothing to do with the murder, saying Jessop was ‘a violent, controlling, selfish bully which he’d always been and probably always would be’.
Jurors at Jessop’s trial heard a harrowing 999 call made by her housemate Peter Claringbold who had been looking after her son.
Mr Claringbold held his phone up to the toilet door so call handlers could hear Jessop scream, ‘You are going to die’ as he stabbed Miss Nash.
The trial heard how he had become enraged after she refused to go back to him and started a relationship with another man.
Jessop was arrested at her home within minutes of the attack as Miss Nash lay dying and repeatedly told officers: ‘I have won’.
The court was told how he 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.’
Jessop was said to have cycled to her home with a kitchen knife later in the day and lay in wait for her.
He was described in the trial as an ‘unbelievably dangerous’ man and ‘a ticking time bomb’ with previous convictions for violence against women
Miss Nash cried out that she was pregnant during the attack in a desperate attempt to make him stop, but he mocked her by imitating her plea for mercy as he was arrested.
A post mortem revealed that she had not been pregnant, but was unable to conclude whether she died of blood loss or strangulation.
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.
There was evidence of Jessop behaving ‘in an obsessive and controlling way’ over several months.
Miss 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.
Police on Brickfields Avenue in Newmarket, Suffolk, where the brutal attack took place on January 16, 2020
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.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Matthew Connick of Suffolk Police said: ‘Charles Jessop was a violent offender who undertook the premediated murder of Clare Nash.
‘I am pleased with the length of sentence as it reflects the cruel nature of his actions. As was the case at conviction our thoughts remain with the family.’