In the days before Canadian teen Ashley Wadsworth’s lifeless body was found in 23-year-old Jack Sepple’s bed in Essex, England, the 19-year-old cryptically asked her friends for help.
Sepple, who is heavily tattooed, including one under his eye and one that wraps around his neck, appeared in Colchester Magistrates Court where he was charged with her murder. Sepple was arrested Tuesday after police were called to his home after neighbors reported a disturbing skirmish around 4 p.m. He was lying in bed beside her bloody body when authorities arrived, the court was told.
Daniel Seaman, a friend Wadsworth met through a Mormon volunteer project in Vernon, British Columbia last summer, told a local newspaper that she told him she had trouble making connections with young men and started searching online and through dating apps for someone with whom she shared values.
Wadsworth met Sepple online and traveled to the U.K. last year on a six-month tourist visa. She was planning to return home next week, but Seaman said he had an inkling Sepple did not want her to leave. She started using secret social media accounts to contact her friends, because “her boyfriend didn’t want her to talk with us a lot of the time,” Seaman said. “She just said that she needed help.”
The next thing Seaman heard was that his friend was dead. He described his friend as “looking for faith,” which he says led her to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last March. Seaman told another media outlet that Wadsworth had become skeptical about the Bible and had turned to the Book of Mormon before she converted.
“Ashley was a ball of energy… she used to have a Facebook account where she posted jokes and memes all day, every single day,” Seaman said. “She was really funny, always laughing and excited, and she always said what was on her mind. Never a dull moment.”
Seaman said Wadsworth’s cryptic messages now make more sense. She had reportedly reached out to a variety of friends who she wanted to help her “work with the authorities,” though Seaman said he had no idea what the circumstances were.
“It seemed like when the going got tough she wanted a change in scenery,” Seaman said. “I think the friendships weren’t that deep. She searched the world for connections, and I think that’s how she connected with [her boyfriend].”
Tributes paint a picture of a young woman who had thought she finally found someone with whom she could be happy.
“You were my best friend, my family and my rock. We went through so many phases together, we did so many silly things together,” a friend named MacKenzie Palm wrote on Facebook. “I hope heaven is everything you read about in church and more.”