Derby

Jia Ashton murder police ask Somercotes firms for help

Artist's impression of man seen in the woods
Image caption Firms are being asked if they recognise the men

Detectives investigating the murder of a woman in Derbyshire have appealed for information from businesses.

Posters featuring artists' impressions of two men seen in Sleetmoor Woods on the day 25-year-old Jia Ashton died have been released by police.

Officers have visited companies, shops and licensed premises in the Somercotes area asking staff if they recognised the men.

Mrs Ashton was found dead in the woods on 13 March.

Det Ch Supt Steve Cotterill said: "We're asking residents whether they have seen these men in the Somercotes area before.

"Do these men frequent local shops or pubs? Have you seen them using services in the neighbourhood, such as banks or doctor's surgeries? If you have, then please come forward and speak to police."

The artists' impressions depict two men, who were not together, who were seen by several witnesses in the woods between 1600 and 1900 GMT on 10 March.

The drawings show a man in a beanie hat, khaki trousers and jacket and boots, carrying a satchel-type bag.

The second man, who was smoking, wore khaki trousers, boots, and a red top with the hood up.

Detectives stressed the men may have had a legitimate reason for being in the woods on the day Mrs Ashton died but that they have not yet come forward.

It is believed the former economics student, who graduated from the University of Warwick in 2007, was killed after leaving work at the nearby Thornton's factory on 10 March.

Mrs Ashton had been assaulted but there was no evidence a weapon had been used and police said there was no apparent sexual assault.

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