A ‘COMPULSIVE liar’ and ‘dangerous man’ were the word used to describe Jia Ashton’s killer as he was sentenced to a life in jail.
Only weeks before his 22nd birthday, David Simmonds, was sent down for a minimum of 28 years for bringing an end to the life of an ‘extraordinary woman’.
Nottingham Crown Court heard different versions of why the young man with a middle class upbringing committed the brutal crime.
Stuart Rafferty QC of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) detailed how Simmonds, formally of Swanwick, dragged 4ft 10inch Jia from the Sleetmoor Woods path into undergrowth while she was alive before beating her and fatally crushing her chest.
Mr Rafferty described to the packed public gallery how it was the CPS’s view Simmonds had intended to sexually assault her as well as rob and murder her.
But in mitigation The killer’s defence lawyer, Shaun Smith, said there was not sufficient evidence to suggest a sexual intent to Simmonds attack as the way she was dragged could have exposed parts of her body.
Judge Michael Stokes conceded that the only person that would ever fully know what happened at around 5pm on March 10 would be Simmonds himself, ruling out the possibility of the attack being sexually motivated on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
In sentencing him judge Stokes said: “You have pleaded guilty very late in the day to a truly terrible crime which has left the husband and family of your victim utterly devastated.”
Grab a copy of Thursday’s Ripley and Heanor News to find out more.