A man has admitted murdering his Canadian girlfriend just weeks after she moved to the UK to be with him.
Jack Sepple, 23, has admitted at Chelmsford Crown Court today to murdering 19-year-old Ashley Wadsworth, who he had met on a dating app.
Police today revealed Ashley died from “a number of stab wounds.” She was found dead at a block of flats in Tennyson Road, Chelmsford at around 4pm on February 1, days before she was due to fly home.
She was on a six-month tourist visa and came to Britain after meeting Sepple online, a previous court hearing was told.
Police went to the flat after receiving reports of a domestic disturbance and Sepple was arrested. Despite the efforts of paramedics, the Canadian teen was pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest opening gave a provisional cause of death as a stab wound to the chest.
A court was previously told Sepple was found on a bed next to Ashley’s body when police arrived, and she was declared dead at the scene.
Paying tribute to Ashley, her great aunt Tova Wadsworth said that she was on the “trip of a lifetime” after arriving in the UK from her home in Vernon, British Columbia in November last year.
In the brief hearing, Sepple’s barrister said a psychiatrist had indicated that the defendant was fit to plead.
Christopher Paxton QC, for Sepple, said that the “issue of fitness is now resolved” and requested that the defendant be asked to enter a plea.
Sepple, of Tennyson Road, was dressed in a white, long sleeve T-shirt and with tattoos on his face and hand for the trial prepation hearing.
The court clerk read the single charge of murder and Sepple replied simply: “I’m guilty” – showing little emotion as he did so.
He was remanded in custody and is set to be sentenced on October 10, Essex Poilice said in a statement today.
Judge Christopher Morgan told him: “You know that by your plea of guilty of murder there is only one sentence and that is to be passed and that is a life sentence.”
At 18, Ms Wadsworth converted to Mormonism and moved to England on November 12, where she went to move in with Sepple.
The couple were pictured visiting London landmarks together and she also took part on a trip to Rye, East Sussex.
Detective Superintendent Scott Egerton, senior investigating officer, said today: “Today, Jack Sepple has admitted murdering Ashley Wadsworth.
“The evidence against Sepple is so overwhelming that he was left with very few options other than to admit his guilt.
“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.”
Ashley was described by family as “fiercely loving and loyal to her family and friends” alike, They celebrated her “spontaneous, witty, kind personality” in a tribute released by Essex Police.
Her granddad shared his shock at her death and told how he thought the “UK was a safe place.”
Jeff Wadsworth, 66, said he even encouraged his granddaughter to travel to England and “thought it was going to be the time of her life.”
He told the Daily Mail: “We’re just devastated. I can’t believe it.
“I never thought something like this would happen in England.
“I thought it was the safest place in the world. And it is a safe place, this is such a not normal thing.”
Older sister Hailey said she will always treasure Ashley as her “best friend”.
Her niece Paisley called her the “best aunty ever” as a family statement added: “Everyone appreciated how Ashley saved her own money to buy Paisley her first swing set.
“The whole Wadsworth family admired Ashley’s sense of adventure having travelled extensively within Canada and further afield to Mexico, California and England.”
Ashley’s family said her travelling deepened her desire for life experience and “encouraged her love of language” as she spoke three languages in English, French and Spanish.
A studious girl, Miss Wadsworth had a dream of becoming a lawyer and strived for good grades, having been accepted to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC.
“Ashley had recently found her faith and was excited to share that with others. The family added: “Ashley, you are beautiful to us, and we will miss you very, very, much.”
Ms Wadsworth’s family had to find the money to return her body to Canada and the process was delayed due to a request for a second autopsy.
Mr Wadsworth said: “We’ve got to pay all this money to get her home.
“I thought (the British) would just zip her on over [back to Canada], sorry about that, but no – they want some money.”
The heartbroken granddad said Ms Wadsworth was a “sweetheart” who loved sports and wanted to study law in the future.
Her cousin Kali said she stood up for her when she was being bullied at school and described her as “one of the most kind-spirited girls I’ve ever met.”