Life sentence for Jia's murderer


David Simmonds has been sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court for the murder of Jia Ashton, a crime described by CPS East Midlands' Chief Crown Prosecutor Judith Walker as 'an utterly needless killing'.

Simmonds pleaded guilty last week to Jia's murder. He attacked her in Sleetmoor Woods, near the Thornton's factory where Jia worked, as she walked home.

Judith Walker said:

"Today, David Simmonds has been sentenced for the utterly needless killing of a bright, popular young woman with a promising future ahead of her.

"It was the prosecutions case that Simmonds subjected Jia to a brutal, sustained attack intending to kill her. Had he intended anything less he could easily have overpowered her. Having killed her, he set about concealing her body. The time and care he took in doing so and in disposing of her possessions indicate that this was a deliberate attempt to avoid detection and was not the result of confusion or disorientation.

"The CPS and the Police pieced together the evidence to build a compelling case against him. This included his fingerprints on Jias possessions in the woods, her blood on footwear found at his home, his inconsistent accounts and lies to the police and a letter to his family saying he was probably never going to see them again.

"Despite the strength of the evidence against him, Simmonds continued to deny the offence, only pleading guilty a week ago. He is now facing the consequences of his appalling crime. The sentence handed down today marks the end of what has been an agonising process for Jias family and friends, and I hope this will bring some closure and help them come to terms with their terrible loss."