World

In Chelmsford, England, neighbour remembers slain B.C. woman as 'lovely' and 'polite'

A makeshift memorial is growing in the English community northeast of London where authorities say Ashley Wadsworth, 19, from Vernon, B.C., was killed on Tuesday. 

Ashley Wadsworth was killed Tuesday after travelling to Essex county to be with her boyfriend

B.C. woman killed on trip to U.K.

5 months ago
Duration 1:59
Family and friends are in shock after 19-year-old Ashley Wadsworth of Vernon, B.C., was found dead in Chelmsford, England. Her boyfriend is facing murder charges.

On a quiet cul-de-sac in Chelmsford, England, a handwritten note left on the ground attached to a bouquet of purple flowers reads: "Ashley, you were so beautiful." 

It's part of a growing makeshift memorial near the police cordon where authorities say Ashley Wadsworth, 19, from Vernon, B.C., was killed on Tuesday. 

On Thursday morning, three Essex police officers were seen standing guard outside the two-storey row house where Wadsworth's boyfriend lived.

Jack Sepple, 23, appeared in court Thursday in Colchester, England, charged with her murder. 

"Ashley was such a lovely girl," a neighbour told CBC News at the scene in Chelmsford, roughly 60 kilometres northeast of central London. "She was so polite." 

The woman left flowers outside the home with a small group of other local women. She identified herself as Helen but declined to provide her last name. She described the community as "tight-knit" and "quiet."

Ashley Wadsworth, 19, from Vernon, B.C., was killed on Tuesday in Chelmsford, England. (Submitted by Charmaine Wadsworth)

"It's such a waste," Helen said.

Prosecutors said at the court hearing Wadsworth and Sepple had met online, the BBC reported. Her Facebook page said she'd travelled to England in November to be with him.

A now-deleted post by a friend suggested Wadsworth intended to return to Canada on Thursday.

Wadsworth had recently posted a series of photos of her and Sepple on a trip to the British capital. She smiled for selfies and snapped pictures of London landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Royal Albert Hall.

On Facebook, she described the Jan. 8 outing as an "amazing trip to London with Jack and his parents for his birthday."

Ashley's stepmother, Charmaine Wadsworth, wept as she spoke to CBC over the phone from Vernon on Wednesday, describing Ashley as "strong, smart and witty."

"We are all extremely devastated," Charmaine Wadsworth said.

Police stand outside a home in Chelmsford during an investigation into Wadsworth's killing. (Thomas Daigle/CBC)

Police said they were called to the home on Tuesday afternoon after reports of a disturbance. They said paramedics responded as well, but were unable to revive the victim. Wadsworth was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The investigation is progressing well, but we will remain on scene for a few more days whilst we continue to gather evidence and establish the facts," Essex police Det. Chief Insp. Scott Egerton said in a statement.

Police declined a CBC interview request on Thursday, citing the ongoing court case. They have not confirmed a weapon was used in the attack.

Wadsworth's Facebook page said she'd travelled to England in November. (Submitted by Charmaine Wadsworth)

The BBC reported Sepple wore a grey tracksuit at his court appearance Thursday, and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address. 

Poppy Clifton, 22, laid flowers outside Sepple's home on Thursday. She told CBC she'd been in a relationship with Sepple in 2020.

"It's just really hard coming back here," she said. "I'm wanting to respect the girl, because it's just heartbreaking."

A court official confirmed Sepple would again appear in court, this time in Chelmsford, on Friday.

"My poor baby sister," Hailey Wadsworth wrote on Ashley's public Facebook page. "We will get justice."

now