Murder hunt continues

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police officers investigating the murder of Jia Ashton questioned almost 1,000 motorists and pedestrians one week after her death.

Police stopped people in and around the Alfreton Trading Estate, Somercotes, between 4pm and 7pm on Thursday, March 17.

Detectives thanked motorists for their patience during the stop checks and said several people had provided information useful to the inquiry.

Appeal posters were also handed out in the area, urging people to contact the police or Crimestoppers with information.

Ninety officers and staff are involved in the investigation at this stage.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cotterill, head of Crime Support in Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “Following the vehicle stop checks and the renewed appeal yesterday, several people have come forward with new information which will be fed into the investigation.

“I would like to thank drivers for their patience and support yesterday while the checks were taking place. People were delayed in their journeys but they were co-operative and understanding.

“Our focus today will be interviewing those people who came forward yesterday. I am pleased with the response from the community so far and I would urge people to continue coming forward, especially if they were in the area of Sleetmoor Woods between 4pm and 7pm on Thursday, March 10, which was the day before the tragic events of the Japanese earthquake.”

Det Chief Supt Cotterill said officers remain at Sleetmoor Woods today, carrying out a thorough search for evidence. This search is expected to continue into the weekend.

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. She was wearing a grey herringbone patterned jacket with a zip-up front and a hood, which she wore up over her head, black trousers and black ankle boot type trainers. She also wore a dark blue/grey scarf with a white diamond pattern.

Police have increased patrols in the area and the Mobile Police Station will be in Somercotes throughout the weekend, should residents wish to speak to officers.

Det Chief Supt Cotterill added: “Officers will remain on patrol in the area but I am advising people to remain vigilant and take sensible precautions to keep themselves safe.”

Anyone with information should ring the incident room on 0345 123 3333 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.