Murder trial ends as boyfriend admits killing girlfriend whose body was found at bottom of stairs at her Castleford home

A murder trial has ended after a man admitted killing his girlfriend by pushing her down the stairs at her home.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 12:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 12:57 pm

Ricky Knott today pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the third day of his trial for murder over the death of Rebecca Simpson.

Miss Simpson, 30, died after being found at the foot of the stairs at her on Smawthorne Grove, Castleford, on August 26 last year.

Knott, 32, was accused of murdering his girlfriend then lying to police about how she had suffered fatal injuries.

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Rebecca Simpson

The prosecution accepted the plea to manslaughter after Leeds Crown Court heard Knott accepted pushing Miss Simpson but did not intend to cause her to fall down the stairs.

Prosecutor Simon Myerson QC told the court the plea was acceptable to the Crown after consultation with police and Miss Simpson's family.

Mr Myseron said: "Mr Knott now accepts his part in these events.

"The police and the family agree that this is an appropriate course of action.

"They have, by virtue of this plea, the assurance of seeing the man responsible for the death of Rebecca Simpson accept his responsibility for her manslaughter.

"They are not people who are baying for vengeance.

"They are remarkably self-contained, fair-minded and struggling to do the best that they can with what has happened, without seeking to exert or extract the maximum amount from Mr Knott.

"The upshot of that is that it is no longer necessary to ask the jury.

"We are satisfied that what Mr Knott has now said is a proper and accurate reflection of what happened."

Knott stood in the dock to enter a plea of not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter, when the charge was put to him for a second time by the court clerk.

Mr Justice Jay directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on the murder charge but guilty to manslaughter.

Knott will be sentenced tomorrow (Friday January 17).

Jurors heard on Tuesday how an ambulance was called to the property shortly after midnight on August 26 last year but Miss Simpson was pronounced dead in hospital later that day.

Miss Simpson died from a major blunt force injury to the back of the head.

The couple had been out drinking with friends earlier in the evening.

They returned to Miss Simpson's home where they planned to spend the night together.

Knott, of Arnside Close, Castleford, was arrested after Miss Simpson's death but did not answer questions when interviewed.

He instead gave written statements after each interview and claimed his girlfriend's death was a "tragic accident."