Nottinghamshire: Killer cycled to stab his ex before heading to pub

John Jessop has been jailed for life after the ‘relentless’ attack (Picture: Nottinghamshire Police)

A vengeful ex cycled 17 miles to a mum-of-three’s rural cottage before stabbing her to death.

John Jessop, 26, rode back to his home town of Newark, in Nottinghamshire, after the attack on Clair Ablewhite, 47.

She had previously split up with him amid worries over their age difference.

A friend had raised concerns about Clair’s welfare, prompting the 47-year-old’s father to make his way to her cottage in the village of Colston Bassett on February 26.

By the time he found his daughter’s body, Jessop was sipping a pint at a pub with friends.

Detectives initially had nothing to go on except grainy CCTV of a hooded figure – provided by Clair’s neighbour – after the professional dog walker was found dead in her pyjamas on February 26 last year.

There was no murder weapon to be seen and barely a trace of DNA except from his bloody shoeprints.

But officers then discovered Clair’s mobile phone – which had been thrown in a stream.

Clair Ablewhite

Clair Ablewhite, 47, was murdered by John Jessop, 26, after they split up over their age difference

They were able to access messages that revealed she had been using a dating site where she had chatted to Jessop.

After the 26-year-old was jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court, Det Insp Mel Crutchley, of Nottingham Police, explained how crucial the CCTV footage was.

He said: ‘He [Jessop had been in an intimate relationship with her [Clair] from September 2021 which had ended on February 19, 2022.

‘The contact ceased mainly due to concern over the age difference, and it was evident from the communication that he had been at her Colston Bassett address during the six weeks she had resided there.

‘The neighbour played a major part in helping with our investigation by providing that first CCTV image of the killer and I would like to thank him personally for travelling home from France to help us bring Clair’s killer to justice.

The CCTV image

The CCTV that gave officers their first clue in the challenging case (PIcture: Nottinghamshire Police)

‘It is also a timely reminder for people to think about who they interact with online and to ensure their safety is protected from violent and predatory people like Jessop.

‘Throughout this investigation, Jessop has shown no remorse for what he did to Clair. He has consistently provided ‘no comment’ in interview and offered up no apology.

‘The attack he inflicted on Clair was brutal and relentless, causing catastrophic injuries which finally led to her death.’

‘At the same time that Clair’s dad discovers his daughter’s body and tries to provide CPR – Jessop is enjoying his first pint in a pub in Newark with mates.’

The 26-year-old, of Sherwood Avenue, had pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing and was sentenced today.

Nottingham Crown Court was told how he attacked Clair on February 25 last year, punching her repeatedly before stabbing her to death and then cycling home.

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