David Simmonds is jailed for life for battering the Chinese-born economics graduate to death in woods near her workplace A 21-year-old man has been jailed for life for the murder of an economics graduate who was battered to death in woodlands near her workplace. David Simmonds, of Heanor, Derbyshire, was told by a judge at Nottingham crown court that he would serve a minimum term of 27 years and 213 days before being considered for release. Simmonds admitted the murder of 25-year-old Jia Ashton, whose body was discovered in Sleetmoor Woods, near Somercotes in Derbyshire, on 13 March, three days after she was last seen leaving her job as a business analyst at chocolate-maker Thorntons. Simmonds originally pleaded not guilty to Chinese-born Ashton's murder but changed his plea to guilty last week. Simmonds, at 1.88 metres (6ft 2in) and 120kg (19 stone), was nearly three times the weight of Ashton, who stood at 1.5 metres, weighed 41kg and wore size two shoes. He subjected her to a brutal, sustained and violent attack which ended her life when her heart was crushed by his weight on top of her chest and ruptured. The pathologist who examined her body said her injuries were of the type usually only sustained in car accidents or a fall from a great height. Detectives leading the investigation said the attack on Ashton, who was on her way home to the house she shared with her music teacher husband, Matthew, was a chance attack and Simmonds did his best to conceal the murder. He covered her body with twigs and branches and scattered her belongings around Sleetmoor Woods immediately after the murder. Ashton, who graduated from Warwick University with an economics degree, was eventually found by a mountain search and rescue dog. Crime guardian.co.uk © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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