Murder accused was 'ticking timebomb', say prosecutors

Police have launched a murder enquiry after the death of a woman in Brickfields Avenue in Newmarket.

Police have launched a murder enquiry after the death of a woman in Brickfields Avenue in Newmarket. Picture: Lauren De Boise - Credit: Archant

A 29-year-old man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend has been described as a "ticking timebomb" by prosecutors. 

Jurors heard the first of two closing speeches in the trial of Charles Jessop at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

Jessop is accused of murdering 33-year-old Clare Nash by stabbing and strangling the mother-of-two to death in the toilet of her flat in Brickfields Avenue, Newmarket, on January 16 last year.

In opening the case, prosecutor Mark Cotter QC told jurors that Jessop, of Bakers Row, Newmarket, was "seeking to raise issues as to the state of his mind" and would claim he was affected by the antidepressant drug Citalopram.

Jessop, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, later took the stand to blame the medication and declare that he had loved Miss Nash “unconditionally”.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Jessop said he had been so anxious and depressed after she ended the relationship that he made an emergency doctor’s appointment.

Jessop said he had experienced suicidal thoughts, but had not wanted to hurt anyone else, including Miss Nash.

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Asked by his barrister Kier Monteith QC why 16 days later he had stabbed and strangled Miss Nash, Jessop replied: “Because of that medication.”

Jessop claimed that Miss Nash had threatened to shoot him on an earlier occasion, with a gun he alleged she was holding for drug dealers, and that while they were in the toilet, he feared that if he didn’t kill her, she would kill him.

On Tuesday, Mr Cotter delivered his closing speech on behalf of the prosecution.

He told jurors that evidence given on the stand about Clare's lifestyle had been "quite literally a character assassination" by Jessop, who he accused of "spitting on her grave".

Mr Cotter added: "The only issue that arises for your consideration in this case is whether this defendant has satisfied you it is more likely than not that, when he slid a knife into Clare's abdomen, he was in a position of diminished responsibility."

Mr Cotter said Jessop sought to persuade the jury that he was suffering psychosis, or temporary psychosis, which had caused the delusion of being in a video game at the time of the killing.

He said jurors were in the unique position of having seen body-worn video footage from police responding the address as the incident unfolded, during which, he said there was "no reference to Grand Theft Auto".

"Violent, aggressive behaviour is a feature of this defendant's entire life," continued Mr Cotter, who alleged that Jessop had throttled two other women previously.

"This defendant has been a ticking time bomb for years and years, and it was a simple question of which poor soul was going to be in the way when he exploded.

"History demonstrated he was violent and aggressive long, long, long before he was prescribed Citalopram." 

Mr Monteith is expected to deliver his speech on Wednesday.

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