Man pleads guilty to murdering B.C. woman who had moved to U.K. to be with him

·2 min read
Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was killed in England on Feb. 1. Jack Sepple has pleaded guilty to murdering the Vernon, B.C., woman at his home. (Submitted by Charmaine Wadsworth - image credit)
Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was killed in England on Feb. 1. Jack Sepple has pleaded guilty to murdering the Vernon, B.C., woman at his home. (Submitted by Charmaine Wadsworth - image credit)

An English man has pleaded guilty to murdering a 19-year-old B.C. woman who police say had moved to the United Kingdom to be with him.

During a trial preparation hearing in Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, Jack Sepple, 23, admitted to killing Ashley Wadsworth earlier this year. He had been charged with murder after the death of Wadsworth, who was from Vernon, B.C.

"The evidence against Sepple is so overwhelming that he was left with very few options other than to admit his guilt," read a statement from Det. Supt. Scott Egerton, senior investigating officer with Essex Police.

"At the very least, today's plea means Ashley's family will be spared the heartache of having to sit through a trial ... I hope today that they can feel some form of comfort knowing that Sepple is facing a substantial amount of time behind bars for his actions."

Wadsworth died shortly after officers were called to a "disturbance" at around 4 p.m. GMT at a home in Chelmsford, northeast of London, on Feb. 1.

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Sepple, who lived in the house where Wadsworth died, was arrested at the scene and later charged.

Wadsworth's mother said the plea was unexpected.

"I am relieved that we won't have to sit through a trial which is very public and the details ... I'm spared that. But it's bittersweet," Christy Gendron said in an interview from her home in Vernon on Wednesday.

"Although this is a good outcome and I'm sure he'll get a good sentence, it doesn't bring Ashley back."

Gendron described the last seven months as a blend of "terrible, horrific and traumatic." Losing your child is difficult enough, she explained, but navigating the legal aftermath from another continent and a different time zone made it worse.

Police on Wednesday said Wadsworth had moved to England to be with Sepple. Court heard Sepple and Wadsworth were boyfriend and girlfriend and had met online.

According to Wadsworth's Facebook profile, she moved to Essex — a county northeast of London — in November.

Essex Police said Sepple is to be sentenced on Oct. 10.