Moving image released in Jia Ashton murder probe

Police investigating the murder of Jia Ashton in Derbyshire have issued an "evo-fit" computerised image of a man they are trying to trace.

The computerised animated image is of a man seen in Sleetmoor Woods on the day Mrs Ashton was killed - an artist's impression of him was issued last week.

Mrs Ashton's body was found in the woods on 13 March. She had been assaulted.

Police hope the moving image will help people to recognise his identity.

The man was wearing a beanie hat, khaki trousers, a khaki jacket and boots, and was carrying a satchel-type bag over his shoulder.

Detectives closed Sleetmoor Woods on Tuesday after a caller thought they saw the man depicted in the police artist's sketch.

Officers said he was traced but "was not the man we are looking for".

A sketch of another man, wearing a red-hooded top, was released, but officers have since eliminated him from the investigation.

Image caption Jia Ashton was last seen leaving work at Thorntons

Det Ch Supt Steve Cotterill said: "As our inquiry enters its third week we believe we are getting closer to finding the person responsible for Jia's murder.

"We now have some new images which we hope will jog people's memories and I would like to widen my appeal for information to anyone who was in the area of the woods in the days and weeks before the murder.

"We have recently learnt that 27 members of Somercotes Walking Club were in the woods during the morning of March 10 and I would like to hear from them. They may be able to help.

"The community has been tremendously helpful to us so far. We have received 160 calls and we are following up 900 separate lines of enquiry.

"People are continuing to ring in with information about the man in the artist's impression and we hope that these new images will have the same response."

Mrs Ashton, a 25-year-old economics graduate, is thought to have been killed after leaving work at the nearby Thornton's factory on 10 March.

Police said there was no evidence a weapon had been used in the attack and there was no apparent sexual assault.

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