Man Jailed For Life For Woodland Murder

A man has been jailed for life for battering to death an economics graduate as she walked through a wood.

Jia Ashton, 25, was killed by David Simmonds near her work last March.

Simmonds was given a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 27 years and 213 days before he can be considered for release.

Jia's body was found in Sleetmoor Woods near Somercoates in Derbyshire, three days after finishing her shift at Thorntons.

After Simmonds killed Jia in a brutal and sustained attack, he covered her body with twigs and tree branches before dumping her belongings around the woods.

The pathologist said the injuries she sustained were similar to those only suffered in car accidents or falls from a great height.

Simmonds had initially denied the murder but changed his plea to guilty last week.

Jia had been making her way home to her husband, Matthew, when she was attacked.

The couple had married in China in 2006 after meeting at the University of Warwick.

The judge, Justice Michael Stokes, told Simmonds he had destroyed Mrs Ashton's potential.

"There was to be a golden future until you came along and destroyed it, and you destroyed that future and that happiness in a most cruel and wicked manner," the judge said.

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