Man arrested in Jia Ashton murder probe

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The Independent Online

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering an economics graduate whose body was found in woodland near her workplace.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said detectives investigating the death of Jia Ashton arrested the suspect at a flat in the Amber Valley area this afternoon.

Mrs Ashton, who lived in Somercotes, Derbyshire, and worked for chocolate-maker Thorntons in nearby Swanwick, disappeared on March 10 and was found dead in nearby woods three days later.

The victim, who was 25, left the Thorntons site shortly after 5pm on Thursday March 10 and is known to have walked into Sleetmoor Woods, along a path known locally as the "yellow brick road".

Her body was found in the woods at 4.30pm on Sunday March 13 and a £20,000 reward was subsequently offered by an anonymous benefactor for information to catch her killer.

During the inquiry police have stressed that they are in possession of forensic evidence allowing them to eliminate innocent people from the investigation.

In a statement issued by Derbyshire Constabulary shortly after Mrs Ashton was killed, her husband spoke of his devastation and described her as his "pocket princess".

In the statement, 26-year-old Matthew Ashton said: "At 25, she had already achieved more than most 60-year-olds and I feel that if you hadn't met her by now, one day you would have.

"Those who had met her should consider themselves richer for it."

Mr Ashton met Jia during their studies at the University of Warwick and the pair married in her native China in 2006.