The mother of a Vernon teenager who was murdered in England earlier this year says while it won’t bring her daughter back, Wednesday’s guilty plea will spare her family from sitting through a lengthy trial.
Jack Sepple, 23, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex to killing 19-year-old Ashley Wadsworth on Feb. 1.
The stabbing death came while Wadsworth was visiting Sepple in the U.K. after the two had started long-distance dating. Wadsworth had met Sepple through a dating app and had travelled to England in November 2021 to be with him. Pictures posted on her Facebook page showed Wadsworth sight-seeing at Big Ben and other landmarks.
“I was shocked,” said Wadsworth’s mother Christy Gendron from her Vernon home upon hearing the news of Sepple’s guilty plea.
“It’s bittersweet. It saved us from a lengthy trial, hearing stuff every day for the first time in front of people…but it never brings her back.”
Sepple is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 10. Gendron said she’ll be flying to England to be at the sentencing and read a victim impact statement.
sShe also plans to visit the site of her daughter’s death to lay flowers, bringing with her a commemorative plaque made by a close family friend.
Gendron described her daughter was “an amazing person” who had strength, courage and a love for travel.
“She was fiercely loyal, especially to her family, her sister has been really lost without her,” Gendron said. “She was a dedicated sister, a wonderful aunt to her niece who she loved so much…she loved cultures, she loved ethnicities and religions. She was like a modern day hippie. Everything I wish I could have been.”
Gendron added there are nerves at the prospect of heading to the sentencing to see Wadsworth’s killer for the first time. “It’s going to be hard for sure.”
A statement from Essex Police said Sepple entered the guilty plea during a trial preparation hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
“The evidence against Sepple is so overwhelming that he was left with very few options other than to admit his guilt,” said the statement from Det. Supt. Scott Egerton.
“I was glad he manned up,” Gendron said of her daughter’s killer.
Sepple faces a life term when he is sentenced next month.
- With files from the Canadian Press