Arrest in Jia Ashton murder

DETECTIVES have charged a man with the murder of Thorntons worker Jia Ashton.

David Simmonds (21) appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

He was arrested at around 3pm on Thursday, May 5. Officers arrested him at his flat in Derby Road, Heanor. They later searched a house in Blenheim Avenue, Swanwick, as part of the investigation.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Terry Branson said the arrest was not as a result of anyone coming forward with fresh information, but came about following eight weeks of intensive inquiries in Amber Valley by his investigation team.

Head of Crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cotterill, said: “I want to offer my sincere thanks to the people of Somercotes and surrounding areas for their tremendous support during this inquiry. The number of calls we have received in the last eight weeks has been outstanding and this helped to piece together the events surrounding Jia’s murder.

“I also want to thank the local media for their responsible reporting throughout but I would now appeal to the media to respect the privacy and the rights of all families involved in this tragic case.

“No further information is being released now in light of the fact that a man has now been charged with Jia’s murder.”

Mrs Ashton (25) left work at Thorntons just after 5pm on Thursday, March 10 and walked along a path in Sleetmoor Woods that is locally known as the ‘Yellow Brick Road’.

Her body was found in the woods at 4.30pm on Sunday March 13.