A man has appeared in court charged with murdering a 21-year-old woman who police initially thought had taken her own life.
Jonathan James Cresswell, 33, of Briar Hill Gardens, Greysteel, is accused of the murder Katie Simpson following an incident in Gortnessy Meadows, Lettershandoney, on 3 August 2020.
The defendant appeared before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court via video link on Saturday.
He was remanded in custody.
The court heard Mr Cresswell called an ambulance to the house and said he had found Ms Simpson attempting to take her own life.
She was dressed only in a shirt and underwear and her mobile phone was missing.
She died in Altnagelvin Hospital.
Following his arrest, Jonathan Creswell who was in a relationship with Ms Simpson’s sister, admitted throwing her phone in a field, something he described as “a silly mistake”.
He also told police that he’d been in a sexual relationship with the victim for the previous four years.
A prosecution lawyer said Mr Creswell had been in a controlling and coercive relationship with Ms Simpson since she was a young girl.
The lawyer told the court that Ms Simpson had a lot to look forward to and her sister was due to give birth.
He said: “Life was looking good for Katie.”
But she died in intensive care, having never regained consciousness.
The defence said that the post-mortem examination report showed her cause of death as pneumonia.
Due to the delay in the examination, the pathologist said that they could not determine if Ms Simpson had been strangled or had hanged.
Mr Cresswell was refused bail due to a risk of reoffending and concerns about interfering with witnesses and the police investigation.
He is due to appear in court again on 1 April.