John Jessop: Man who fatally stabbed mother of three after brief relationship jailed for life

(Nottinghamshire Police/PA)
(Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

A man who stabbed a mother of three in the neck and chest at her home has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years and eight months.

John Jessop cycled around 17 miles from his home in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and was caught on CCTV before entering the home of 47-year-old Clair Ablewhite.

Nottingham Crown Court was told the 26-year-old had been in a brief relationship with Ms Ablewhite, who was killed a month after moving into a cottage in the village of Colston Bassett.

Jessop, of Sherwood Avenue, pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing and was sentenced on Wednesday.

The court was told Jessop attacked Ms Ablewhite on February 25 last year, punching her repeatedly before stabbing her to death and then cycling home.

In a statement issued after the hearing, Nottinghamshire Police said the victim’s body was discovered by her father after a friend raised concerns about her welfare.

Jessop was identified as a suspect through CCTV provided by a neighbour of Ms Ablewhite, who ran a dog-walking business from her home in Hall Lane.

Commenting on the inquiry, Detective Inspector Mel Crutchley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “One of my lines of inquiry was to task officers to obtain witness accounts from Clair’s family and friends.

“This allowed the team to understand the relationships she had, any known issues that could have contributed to her death and her known movements prior to the murder.”

Officers said the victim had been using a dating website and had communicated with Jessop via social media and WhatsApp.

Det Insp Crutchley added: “He (Jessop) was identified as being known to Clair via social media and had been in an intimate relationship with her 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.

“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.

“He has taken away a loving, caring, and outgoing mum, daughter, sister, and friend to many.

“Today’s sentence will never bring back Clair, but it does mean that Jessop will spend a considerable part of his life behind prison bars, and I hope this gives her family some comfort.”