British Columbia

B.C. family grieves 19-year-old 'beautiful soul' killed in U.K. homicide

Family in Vernon, B.C., has confirmed Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was the victim of a homicide in Essex, northeast of the Greater London Area. British police say a man has been charged with murder.

British police say a 23-year-old man has been charged with murder

Police outside a home in Chelmsford, U.K., during a homicide investigation in February. Jack Sepple was later charged with the murder of Ashley Wadsworth. (Thomas Daigle/CBC)

UPDATE, Feb. 3, 2022 — In Chelmsford, England, neighbour remembers slain B.C. woman as 'lovely' and 'polite'

A family in Vernon, B.C., is mourning the death of a young woman killed in England on Tuesday.

Essex Police say Ashley Wadsworth, 19, died shortly after officers were called to a disturbance at around 4 p.m. GMT at a home in Chelmsford, northeast of London. 

In a statement, police said Jack Sepple, a 23-year-old from Chelmsford, U.K., was arrested at the scene and charged with murder. The accused lived at the address where Wadsworth died.

Charmaine Wadsworth says her stepdaughter was a "beautiful soul" and the family is devastated.

"We're just remembering how strong and smart and witty Ashley was and how kind she was and how she was always 10 steps ahead of all of us," Charmaine Wadsworth said in a phone interview. "And she'll be dearly missed by each and every one of us.

Charmaine Wadsworth said the family is asking for privacy as they grieve Ashley's death.

Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was killed on Feb. 1 in the Chelmsford home of Jack Sepple, who confessed to the crime last month. Wadsworth had met Sepple online and moved to England to meet him. (Submitted by Charmaine Wadsworth)

Suspect in custody

Sepple made his first court appearance in Colchester on Thursday morning. A court official confirmed with CBC News that he remains in custody and will appear in Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

"Currently, we are not looking for anyone else," said Detective Chief Insp. Scott Egerton in a statement. "We have made a quick arrest and do not believe there is a risk to the wider public."

There are few details about the homicide so far, or the relationship between victim and accused.

The BBC is reporting that prosecutors told the court Sepple and Wadsworth were boyfriend and girlfriend and had met online. 

WATCH  | Police investigating after Canadian killed in U.K.:

Canadian woman killed in U.K.

2 years ago
Duration 2:14
Featured VideoAshley Wadsworth, a 19-year-old woman from Vernon, B.C., was killed on Feb. 1, according to police in the U.K. A 23-year-old man has been charged with her murder, says the CBC's Thomas Daigle.

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

Canadian and British officials are saying little about the killing. 

A spokesperson from the High Commission of Canada in the U.K. said officials were aware of the death of a Canadian in Chelmsford. "We are providing consular support as required and cannot comment further due to privacy reasons," a spokesperson said.

Essex police have issued a call for information and are asking anyone with details that could help the investigation to come forward.

With files from Thomas Daigle and Bridgette Watson