Murderer Charles Jessop must serve at least 30 years for killing ex-girlfriend

Charles Jessop will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court next month

Charles Jessop must serve at least 30 years - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A jealous former trainee jockey who brutally stabbed and strangled his ex-girlfriend at her Suffolk home in front of her three-old-son has been ordered to serve 30 years of a life sentence. 

Sentencing 30-year-old Charles Jessop, Judge Martyn Levett described him as a “violent, controlling, selfish bully” . 

He said that when Clare Nash ended their relationship and made it clear it was over it had caused his jealousy to “overspill and take over”.

Clare Nash's father said the 33-year-old was deeply loved by family and friends

Clare Nash was murdered in her home at Newmarket - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

He said he had harassed and manipulated her before brutally stabbing and strangling her as his “quarry”.

Judge Levett said  the case had a background of domestic violence which he described as a “real problem” with more than 100,000 people in the UK being at high risk of being murdered or seriously injured and seven women a month being murdered by a partner or former partner. 

“No-one owns their partners or spouses or girlfriend,” said the judge. 

He said but for Jessop’s “selfish, narcissistic obsession” with Miss Nash’s private life she would still be alive today. 

Most Read

He said her death had nothing to do with his mental health or anti-depressant medication he’d been prescribed but because he was “a violent, controlling, selfish bully which he’d always been and probably always would be”.

Charles Jessop, 28, is set to appear in court accused of killing 33-year-old Clare Nash at a flat in

Police investigating the murder of Clare Nash - Credit: Archant

Jailing Jessop for life, he said he would have to serve a minimum of 30 years before he could be considered for early release by the parole board. 

Jessop, of Bakers Row, Newmarket had denied murdering 33-year-old Clare Nash at her home in Brickfields Avenue, Newmarket on January 16 last year but was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court on June 9. 

Sentence was adjourned until today (Friday July 16) when Jessop appeared via a video link from Norwich prison. 

Prosecution counsel, Mark Cotter QC told the court the offence had involved a significant degree of planning as Jessop had armed himself with a knife before going to Miss Nash’s home and had then waited outside for an extended period of time smoking a cigarette until she came home. 

He said Miss Nash had been alive when she was being stabbed and strangled and would have known she was being killed for some time during the attack. 

He said the murder was committed against a background of domestic abuse and controlling and coercive behaviour. 

Her three-year-old son had also witnessed part of the attack which was a further aggravating feature of the case. 

During the two-month long trial the court heard that Jessop had bombarded Ms Nash with unwanted telephone calls and messages following the breakdown of their relationship and had become  jealous when she started a new relationship. 

On January 16 last year Jessop walked in through Ms Nash’s unlocked front door before repeatedly stabbing and then strangling her. 

Giving evidence during the trial Jessop said he’d been in a "psychotic rage" after taking the antidepressant drug Citalopram. 

The court heard victim impact statements read by members of Miss Nash’s family including her father, step-mother, sisters and 16-year-old daughter as well as a poem written by the father of Miss Nash’s four year-old-son was also read to the court. 

Keir Monteith QC for Jessop said his client had loved Miss Nash and was sorry for killing her. 

He said Jessop had been suffering from depression and a personality disorder and his culpability for the killing should be reduced because of the state of his mental health. 

Jessop had sought help for his issues and had been prescribed Citalopram by his doctor three weeks before the killing. 

Mr Monteith said the side effects of the drug included aggression, panic attacks,  mania, depersonalisation and hallucinations. 

He said Jessop had been forced to self-isolate in prison because he’d been bullied and threatened and his future was “bleak.” 

The case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to previous contact between the victim and Suffolk Police prior to the incident. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter