A Mormon teenager who had ‘never left Canada’ was stabbed to death in an Essex cul-de-sac after flying to visit her online boyfriend in the UK – as he appears in court accused of her murder.
Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was discovered following a ‘disturbance’ at a block of flats in Chelmsford at 4pm on Tuesday after neighbours called police.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, the teenager, from Vernon, British Columbia, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her 23-year-old boyfriend Jack Sepple, of Chelmsford, Essex, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with her murder.
He appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today wearing a grey jumper and trousers.
Sepple was remanded in custody following the short hearing and will next appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.
Ms Wadsworth had converted to the Church of the Latter-day Saints at the age of 18 and was described by fellow churchgoer Daniel Seaman as a ‘woman of great faith’ who ‘even wanted to share her faith her her boyfriend’.
The teenager, who had never left Canada before but was said to have wanted to escape ‘small town life’, had flown to the UK to be with Sepple on November 12 last year – and was due to fly home to see her family this week.
Ms Wadsworth flew to the UK from Vernon, a city around 273 miles northeast of Vancouver with a population of little over 43,000, according to its authority’s website.
The city is surrounded by three lakes and provides’ an exceptional quality of life with a mix of urban amenities, world class resorts, amazing recreational opportunities’.
Mormons have been present in British Columbia since 1872 and around 31,000 residents of the province are served by its Langley temple.
During her trip to the UK, Ms Wadsworth visited dozens of tourist hotspots including Buckingham Palace and Big Ben in London.
She also joined Sepple’s family for a trip to the historic town of Rye in East Sussex.
The couple had met through an online dating app, though it is not known through which service they came into contact.
Her step mother Charmaine Wadsworth told CBC News today: ‘We are just remembering how strong, smart and witty Ashleigh was – how kind she was and how she was always 10 steps ahead of all of us.
‘She will be dearly missed by each and every one of us.’
Ashley Wadsworth, 19, was found stabbed to death at an address in Essex.She had flown to the UK from her home in Canada to live with her boyfriend Jack Sepple (pictured together)
Court sketches of Sepple appearing in the dock at Colchester Magistrates’ Court for a short hearing on Thursday
Poppy Clifton, former partner of Sepple, was emotional as she attended the scene in Essex today
A police presence and cordon around a property inside a cul-de-sac in Sussex on Thursday afternoom
Forensic officers at the scene in Chelmsford on Thursday after Sepple was charged with the murder of Ashley Wadsworth
Flowers and lamps have been placed outside a police guarded cordon in a quiet cul-de-sac in Essex today
Flowers and candles laid close to a police cordon inside a quiet Essex cul-de-sac on Thursday
Ms Wadsworth (left) had been due to fly home to Vernon in British Columbia this week.Her boyfriend Sepple (right) has been charged with her murder
Ms Wadsworth’s heartbroken big sister, Hailey, vowed to get justice for her sibling, writing on Facebook: ‘I love you so much baby girl you’re the bestest little sister I ever could have asked for’
Essex Police detectives are pictured at the scene after they launched a murder investigation
Ms Wadsworth’s heartbroken big sister, Hailey, vowed to get justice for her sibling, writing on Facebook: ‘I love you so much baby girl you’re the bestest little sister I ever could have asked for.’
She had earlier said: ‘My poor baby sister, we will get justice baby girl, I love you so much I miss you every day your big sissy loves you.’
Ms Wadsworth had posted a photograph of herself with Jack on Facebook on Sunday night and made the image her profile picture.
She had previously posted images of the couple smiling and enjoying sightseeing trips around Chelmsford and London.
The couple enjoyed a day out in the capital on January 9 to celebrate Jack’s birthday, in which they visited Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
On Wednesday, friends of Ms Wadsworth posted tributes on Facebook to her.
Larissa Kontos, a friend of Ms Wadsworth’s sister, described the teen as a ‘beautiful loving soul’.
Ms Kontos wrote on Facebook: ‘She had a ticket for this Thursday to come back home to people who love her dearly.’
Ms Wadsworth had previously posted images of the couple smiling and enjoying sightseeing trips around Chelmsford and London
Ms Wadsworth’s heartbroken big sister, Hailey, vowed to get justice for her sibling
Hailey wrote on Facebook: ‘My poor baby sister we will get justice baby girl I love you so much I miss you everyday your big sissy loves you’
‘You will never be forgotten my girly.And I’ll miss you so much!’
Ashley’s aunt, Rosie Turcotte, wrote on Facebook: ‘Want to say so much right now, but mama always said if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
‘Another special Angel gone way too soon.’
Larissa Kontos, a friend from Canada, posted an emotional tribute on Facebook.
She said: ‘I’ve been trying to come up with words for hours.
I have wrote out a post and then deleted it. Because nothing I say will bring you back. ‘I will miss our conversations, you were always messaging me telling me the newest thing you saw on how a person can get pregnant! I will miss seeing your smile and beautiful face!
‘You will be truly missed by so many. Shine bright girly.’
The teenager outside the gates of Buckingham Palace during a day out with boyfriend, Jack
Ms Kontos added: ‘She was a 19-year-old beautiful soul.She had a ticket for this Thursday to come back home to people whom lover her dearly.’
Ms Wadsworth’s aunt, Rosie Turcotte, wrote on Facebook: ‘I am so angry, sad and f***ing mad.
‘Want to say so much right now, but mama always said if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
‘Another special Angel gone way too soon.’
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘The police were called late yesterday afternoon and the whole street was crawling with officers.
‘We could see the paramedics go into the living room of the house and they were working on someone for a while.
‘They brought the young lady out into the road just outside the property and were continuing to try and save her.
‘The police were talking about stab injuries.It seems that she was the victim of a frenzied attack. But the medics couldn’t save her. It was awful to watch.’
Friends have paid more heartbreaking tributes to Ashley on Facebook over the last 24 hours.
Tianna Kowalchuk, who described Ashley as her best friend, said: ‘I’m sorry there wasn’t more I or anyone else could do to help you.But God has you in his hands now, we have you in our hearts forever.’
Another pal, Mackenzie Palm, wrote: ‘Since grade 7, you were my best friend, my family and my rock.
‘We went through so many phases together, we did so many silly things together.We made so many memories.’
A third friend, Maleea Ames, said: ‘Ashley Wadsworth, I remember first meeting you when we sat next together in the nail salon talking about life, summer and everything in between.
‘You were so incredibly sweet, beautiful and a literal angel.’