Revealed: Apology letter murderer sent Canadian girlfriend’s family after killing her on UK visit

Jack Sepple will spend at least 23 years and six months in prison for killing Ashley Wadsworth

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 12 October 2022 17:59 BST
Family grieves after teen Ashley Wadsworth was stabbed to death

A British man who murdered his 19-year-old Canadian girlfriend wrote an apology letter to her family from jail blaming his “intrusive thoughts” for her death.

In the letter, a copy of which can be revealed by The Independent, Jack Sepple said he was “very sorry” for murdering Ashley Wadsworth at his Essex home on 1 February.

Sepple, 23, was handed a life sentence with a minimum prison term of 23 years and six months on Monday after a court heard that he had violently stabbed and strangled Ms Wadsworth just days before she was due to be reunited with her family in Canada.

She suffered wounds to her heart, liver, lung and stomach, and bruises were found on her face, neck and both arms and legs, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

It was revealed that Sepple had a history of violence against women and two previous partners had obtained restraining orders against him. His mother had also obtained a restraining order against him in 2014 after he dragged her to the floor during an argument.

In a letter written from prison, Sepple addressed Ms Wadsworth’s family and acknowledged that “there is nothing I can say that can bring Ashley back nor can I make your pain go away”.

He continued: “I’m very sorry for what I did, and I regret my actions that led to taking Ashley’s life. You have known of my mental health as I was open to Ashley about this and how it affected my thinking and whilst other people may not believe me my mental health had deteriorated rapidly and it’s no excuse, but I know my intrusive thoughts have a big effect on my thinking and my actions.”

Jack Sepple wrote a letter to Ashley Wadsworth’s family from prison
Jack Sepple wrote a letter to Ashley Wadsworth’s family from prison (Essex Police)

He concluded: “I just wanted to tell you I am so so sorry. Jack Sepple.”

Sepple met Ms Wadsworth online when he was aged 15 and she was 12, and the pair had on-off contact over the years. During her gap year, Ms Wadsworth decided to get a six-month tourist visa to visit Sepple in the UK.

The court heard how Sepple was violent towards Ms Wadsworth during her visit and took control of her social media accounts, leaving her unable to contact friends. On the day of her death, Ms Wadsworth used Sepple’s Facebook account to message friends and plead for help. She also went round to a neighbour’s house, knocked on their door and told them she feared Sepple would kill her.

Wadsworth (centre) with her family
Wadsworth (centre) with her family (PA)

The neighbour returned Ms Wadsworth to Sepple’s home after reassurances from Sepple that everything was fine between them.

Two friends, who had met Ms Wadsworth through their shared Mormon faith, went to the Essex home where she was staying after receiving her messages from Sepple’s social media account. When they weren’t let into the house, they called 999.

Police broke down the door and found Ms Wadsworth dead in the bedroom. The court heard that, after killing Ms Wadsworth, Sepple had video-called his sister and showed her Ms Wadsworth’s lifeless body.

When confronted by police officers, Sepple told them: “I went psychotic, I’m sorry ... I strangled her and stabbed her.”

Jack Sepple has been sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison
Jack Sepple has been sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison (PA)

Speaking at Sepple’s sentencing hearing, Ms Wadsworth’s mother, Christy Gendron, said that family birthdays and holidays will “remain a constant source of pain because there will always be an empty seat at the table”.

“Ashley’s love for Jack ultimately cost her her life,” she said.

“Ashley is my baby and the trauma of her murder has had a profound impact on my life ... I am constantly on edge and in fear. I only sleep an hour or two at a time as the nightmare of her last moments is all I can think about.”

She added: “My life and those of my family will never be the same. This is a nightmare that thanks to you, Jack, we will never wake up from.”

‘Ashley’s love for Jack ultimately cost her her life,’ her mother said
‘Ashley’s love for Jack ultimately cost her her life,’ her mother said (Ashley Wadsworth/Facebook)

Ms Wadsworth’s father Ken Wadsworth said that his daughter’s death had put a strain on his marriage and said that he now finds it hard to go into public places, for fear of people speaking to him about her murder.

“I was outgoing before Ashley’s murder and now I’m not the same Ken I used to be. I feel uncomfortable going out,” he said.

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