Man In Court Over Derbyshire Woodland Death

A 21-year-old man is due in court today charged with the murder of an economics graduate whose body was found in woodland near her workplace.

Jia Ashton, 25, disappeared after leaving her job as a business analyst at chocolate-maker Thorntons' site in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

She 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, near Somercotes, on the afternoon of March 13.

At her funeral, Mrs Ashton's husband Matthew revealed that the couple had decided to start trying for a family shortly before her death. Mrs Ashton was said to be especially keen to have a baby boy.

She met her husband while studying economics at the University of Warwick and the couple married in her native China in 2006.

Paying tribute to his ``pocket princess'' after her death, Mr 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. Our pocket princess, she lived life beyond the fullest and now that life has been stolen.''

David Simmonds is to appear at Nottingham Crown Court where it is expected he will enter a plea.

Simmonds, of Derby Road, Heanor, Derbyshire, last appeared in court on September 8 and was remanded in custody.

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