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Killer jailed for life after murdering Canadian girlfriend

|News, Violent crime

A possessive boyfriend who murdered his girlfriend after seeing her look at a picture of a naked woman, has been jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years.

Jack Sepple, 23, strangled and stabbed 19-year-old Ashley Wadsworth at his home in Chelmsford, Essex on 1 February this year. He left her dead in the bed they shared and video-called his sister telling her what he had done while he lay next to his victim.

Miss Wadsworth, a Canadian national, had been staying with Sepple while on a six-month tourist visa to the UK. After around three months experiencing Sepple’s abusive behaviour, she had decided to cut the trip short, and her family had booked her a flight back home. She did not make that flight.

Today (Monday, 10 October 2022) at Chelmsford Crown Court Sepple was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 23 years after pleading guilty to one count of murder at an earlier court hearing.

The couple had met online some years before and been in a long-distance relationship when Miss Wadsworth decided to make the trip to the UK.

On the morning Miss Wadsworth was murdered she had frantically knocked on a neighbour’s door. She told the neighbour of an argument the couple had just had about Miss Wadsworth looking at a picture of a naked female on her phone, which led to Sepple beating her up. She also said that Sepple had threatened to kill her. The neighbour spoke with Sepple who apologised, and Miss Wadsworth went back.

She was killed soon after.

Miss Wadsworth’s friends had received Facebook messages asking for help earlier in the day. They went to Sepple’s home and when they got no answer, they called the police.

Sepple was arrested at the scene after officers found him on a video call while in bed.

Miss Wadsworth had suffered at least 90 separate injuries to her chest.

Cheryl Williams, from the CPS, said: “Ashley Wadsworth was a much-loved daughter and sister with her whole life ahead of her. She had taken a year out of education to be with her boyfriend in England on what was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime; and had a place waiting for her at a prestigious university when she returned from her travels. Jack Sepple stole all of that away from her.

“He was supposed to be the person who cared, loved and protected her in a foreign country – but instead, he cruelly snatched her life and future away. Ashley was a mere two days away from flying back home when she was killed. Her family have been left devastated by Sepple’s violent and callous actions.

“The prosecution case included strong witness testimony from neighbours and friends detailing the toxic controlling behaviour displayed by Sepple, as well as the events leading up to the murder. This included voice notes Ashley had recorded and sent to friends where Sepple had told her he would kill her.

“Although nothing can bring Ashley back, I hope this conviction and sentence stops another woman falling victim to him. Our thoughts remain with the family of Ashley Wadsworth at this time.

“The CPS is committed to prosecuting those who carry out violent acts against women.”

Notes to editors

  • Jack Sepple (DOB: 9/1/1999) is from Chelmsford in Essex.
  • Cheryl Williams is a Crown Advocate in CPS East of England. 

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