The stepmother of a 19-year-old woman from Canada allegedly murdered in Essex as she visited the UK for the first time has paid tribute to her “strong, smart and witty” daughter.
Ashley Wadsworth, from Vernon, British Columbia, had reportedly never left Canada before arriving in the UK in November to stay with Jack Sepple in Chelmsford, Essex, whom she had met through an online dating app. She was due to fly home to see her family this week.
Sepple, 23, has appeared in court charged with her murder and was remanded in custody.
Wadsworth is understood to be a Mormon who had converted to the Church of the Latter-day Saints at the age of 18.
Her stepmother, Charmaine Wadsworth, told CBC News: “We are just remembering how strong, smart and witty Ashley was – how kind she was and how she was always 10 steps ahead of all of us. She will be dearly missed by each and every one of us.”
Her older sister, Hailey, wrote on Facebook: “I love you so much baby girl you’re the bestest little sister I ever could have asked for.”
She had earlier said: “My poor baby sister, we will get justice baby girl, I love you so much I miss you every day your big sissy loves you.”
Friends paid tribute to her, with one woman writing on social media: “My heart aches to hear this tragic news. The last time we talked we were planning to hangout right? Ashley was one of my best friends that I’ve met here in Canada. We lost a beautiful soul.”
Another said: “Rest In Peace sweet girl. I remember the most beautiful, brightest; most special moments watching you grow up. I will cherish them forever.”
A third wrote: “I hope heaven is everything you read about in church and more. And Ashley just know, I love you. I promise I will do my best to take care of your family for you. Till we meet again.”
Sepple, of Tennyson Road, Chelmsford, is accused of killing Ashley Wadsworth at a property in Chelmsford on Tuesday. Essex police attended the address in Tennyson Road shortly after 4pm.