A man who stabbed a mother of three to death in a “brutal and relentless” attack in her home less than a week after their relationship ended has been jailed for life.
John Jessop, 26, cycled 17 miles to the home of Clair Ablewhite, 47, and murdered her last February.
He stopped to buy a pasty on the way from his home in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and had a drink with friends after killing her.
Jessop admitted murder at a previous hearing and was sentenced today at Nottingham Crown Court. He will serve a minimum of 17 years and eight months.
He attacked Ms Ablewhite at her home in the village of Colston Bassett on 25 February, six days after the pair had broken up due to their age difference, Nottinghamshire Police said.
They had met online six months before.
Jessop punched her repeatedly and stabbed her in the neck and chest before cycling back home.
Ms Ablewhite’s father found her body after a friend raised concerns about her welfare.
As her father tried to revive her, Jessop was “enjoying his first pint in a pub in Newark with mates”, Detective Inspector Mel Crutchley said.
He said Jessop “showed no remorse” throughout their investigation and “consistently provided ‘no comment’ in interview and offered up no apology”.
Det Insp Crutchley added: “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.”
Neighbour had CCTV of attacker
Ms Ablewhite’s neighbour provided the CCTV footage that allowed Jessop to be identified as a suspect.
Det Insp Crutchley said officers obtained witness accounts from Clair’s family and friends which “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 Ms Ablewhite had been using a dating website and had communicated with Jessop via social media and WhatsApp.
‘A timely reminder for people to think about who they interact with online’
Det Insp Crutchley said Jessop “was identified as being known to Clair via social media” and was in a relationship with her from September 2021 until 19 February last year.
“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,” he said.
“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.”