A scorned toyboy boyfriend who slit his victim’s throat after she was unable to end their relationship died at her home while sipping a pint in a pub with friends, it was revealed today .
In February, mother of three Claire Ablewhite, 47, was brutally stabbed to death by younger boyfriend John Jessup in the picturesque village of Colston Bassett, on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire.
Jessup, 26, was described as ‘delighted’ when Ms Ablewhite opted to ‘cool off’ with the couple after acknowledging concerns over their age difference – cycling to their £450,000 cottage home before running where he made a ‘persistent and brutal’ attack.
While Ms Ablewhite’s father fought desperately to save his daughter’s life, Jessup was said to have been drinking with friends at the moment he discovered her.
The killer showed no emotion in the courtroom as he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 17 years and eight months at Nottinghamshire Crown Court today.
Humiliated boyfriend John Jessup (pictured) slit his victim’s throat after she was unable to confess and was today sentenced to life
Claire Ablewhite, 47, (above) was killed in Colston Bassett, Nottinghamshire in February by John Jessup, 26, who today pleaded guilty to her murder
Mrs Ablewhite suffered extensive knife wounds to the neck and chest, as well as a series of blunt force and defensive injuries sustained during the vicious attack.
Factory worker Jessup left the £450,000 property without informing the authorities, and returned to his flat in Newark, Notts, in the early hours of the morning.
Mrs Ablewhite’s body was discovered in the bloodied house the following day by her stunned 74-year-old father, Graham Tinkley.
Mr Tinkley, who found his daughter lying in her pajamas by the hearth, told the court: ‘To this day I lay awake at night; panic attacks. I see Claire in my dreams.
‘I see blood gushing from his throat trying to revive his dead body.’
The factory worker, who met his lover on a Facebook dating website, later became the subject of a manhunt and was arrested 11 days after the murder took place on the night of February 25 last year.
Detective Inspector Mel Crutchley, who led the search for Mrs Ablewhite’s killer, said the case was a ‘timely reminder for people to think about who they interact with online and to ensure their safety’ Safe from violent and predatory people like Jessup. ,
She said: ‘Throughout this investigation, Jessup has shown no remorse for what he did to Claire. He consistently provided “no comment” in interviews and made no apologies.
Police at Mrs Ablewhite’s £450,000 cottage home in Colston Bassett after she was stabbed last February
‘The attack he made on Claire was brutal and relentless, causing horrific injuries that ultimately led to her death.
‘At the same time as Claire’s father discovers his daughter’s body and tries to provide CPR – Jessop is enjoying his first pint with his mates at a pub in Newark.
‘It was a planned attack. As soon as he set out on the 17-mile cycle ride, he knew exactly which route to take.
‘She has taken away from many a loving, caring and outgoing mother, daughter, sister and friend.
‘Today’s sentence will never bring Claire back, but it does mean that Jessop will spend a significant part of his life behind bars, and I hope it brings some comfort to his family.’
The manhunt prompted Jessup to warn friends just three days before his arrest: ‘This may be my last night, I’m on borrowed time’.
Jessup, 26, had driven some 18 miles from his home in Newark, stopping along the way for a pasty, before slitting the throat of the ‘one in a million’ farmer’s wife Ms Ablewhite.
Jessup, 26, had driven some 18 miles from his home in Newark, stopping for a pasty along the way, before slitting the throat of ‘one in a million’ farmer’s wife Ms Ablewhite
Pictured: John Jessup is led away in handcuffs as he was arrested at his workplace last year
The case prompted senior police officers to issue a warning to internet users to ‘think about who they interact with online and to ensure they are protected from violent and aggressive people like Jessup’ It is safe.
Ms. Ablewhite was married at 19 and spent most of her life working on a farm with her husband, with whom she had three children.
When the marriage broke down, she moved to the quieter realm of Colston Bassett to set up a new life for herself.
Neighbors said the 47-year-old, who worked as a local dog walker, had moved into a rented house in the village shortly before the attack on the evening of February 25.
Prosecuting Christopher Donnellan Casey told the hearing how Mrs Ablewhite met Jessup in September 2021 – five months before his murder.
However, it resumed the following February, and the pair saw each other several times until Jessup ‘raised concerns’ around Valentines Day.
Jessup stops at a local convenience store to buy a pasty a few hours before murdering Claire Ablewhite.
Jessop was also captured in CCTV images (above) near Ms Ablewhite’s home on the night of her murder
Mr Donnellan said he sent a message to Mrs Ablewhite asking her not to ‘mess with him’, adding: ‘If you don’t want to see me any more, you just have to say.’
The court heard that he kept pressing her for an explanation as to why ‘the relationship had cooled’, and ‘did not accept the age difference as a reason’.
Later a message he sent: ‘Can’t you tell me the real reason why you have gone away from me? Was I too intense?’
Mr Donnellan told the hearing that on the night she was attacked, Mrs Ablewhite went out to a pub with friends and returned to the cottage where she had been living for about six weeks, speaking to a neighbor before going inside.
He said Jessup cycled past his house in the dark, left his phone there to ‘provide an alibi’, and parked in the village a short distance from Mrs Ablewhite’s property before walking there.
The court learned that she was attacked at around 10.09pm – her screams were captured on a neighbour’s CCTV system.
The next morning, when she failed to take care of her horses at a nearby farm, a concerned friend contacted her son, who telephoned Mrs Ablewhite’s father, Graham Tinkley.
Mr. Tinkley lets himself into his daughter’s house – and finds her dead near a fireplace, still in her pyjamas.
The search for her killer was launched by detectives, who launched a series of CCTV appeals. Jessup was eventually identified after authorities painstakingly traced his route from the scene of the murder back to his home.
Peter Joyce Casey, defending, claimed Jessup had attacked his victim ‘on the spur of the moment’ after visiting her cottage to ‘seek an explanation’.
She said: ‘He was baffled, puzzled as to why the woman who had previously invited him was now saying, ‘Sorry I won’t tell you this, but we’re not going to see each other again’ Can.’
‘A row led to violence, and he was convicted of murder. It was a minor attack that happened when two people lost their temper during an argument.
Ms Ablewhite’s sons previously paid tribute to their ‘one in a million’ and ‘truly one of a kind’ mother (pictured above)
Colston Bassett is situated in the valley of Belvoir on the Nottinghamshire-Leicestershire border and has a population of approximately 400.
‘He has had limited relationships with the opposite sex. He had feelings for this woman, and everything went horribly wrong that night.’
In victim impact statements, members of Mrs Ablewhite’s family said Jessup was a ‘vicious killer’ who ‘couldn’t accept rejection’.
And after his death, Ms Ablewhite’s two sons paid tribute to him, describing him as ‘one in a million’.
Dan Ablewhite, 28, previously wrote on Facebook: ‘I love you so much mum. I just want to see that beautiful big smile and hug you and tell you how much you mean to all of us.
‘You were truly one in a million, rest in peace, sleep well, remember and dream of all the good times we had together.’
Meanwhile, Sam Ablewhite, 20, said: ‘Rip mum we all miss you so much
‘You really were one in a million. Words cannot describe how hard my life would be without seeing that beautiful big smile of yours.
‘Rest in peace, sleep in peace and remember all the good times we had together.
‘The three of us brothers up there will do everything we can to put a little proud smile on your face.’
Colston Bassett was included in the Daily Telegraph’s ’54 poshest villages in Britain’ list this week, with an average price of £786,955.
This sleepy village with a population of around 400 is also known for its deep history as the home of traditional Shropshire and Stilton blue cheeses.
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