Jia Ashton's killer pleads guilty to her murder

29/09/2011

Killer pleads guilty to Jia's murder

A 21 year old man from Heanor in Derbyshire has pleaded guilty to the murder of Jia Ashton in March 2011 - a case which according to CPS East Midlands Chief Crown Prosecutor Judith Walker 'shocked the whole community in the East Midlands'. David Simmonds entered the plea at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on 29 September.

Jia's body was found in Sleetmoor woods, in Swanwick in Derbyshire, close to the Thornton's factory where she worked. An murder investigation followed, which eventually led to the arrest of David Simmonds.

Simmonds eneterd a plea of guilty at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on 29 September. He will be sentenced on 7 October.

Judith Walker, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands said: "Jia Ashton's tragic death shocked the whole community here in the East Midlands. It was a brutal, unprovoked attack that left a family in mourning.

"No-one saw the crime and the defendant initially denied any involvement. The CPS worked closely with the police piecing together the evidence to build a compelling case, which pointed irresistibly to the conclusion that David Simmonds was responsible for Jia's death. In the face of this evidence the defendant has pleaded guilty to murder, which reflects the strength of the case against him.

"My thoughts are entirely with Jia's family at what must be a very difficult time for them. I am relieved for their sake that they now no longer have to endure a trial on top of the ordeal they have already suffered."