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Sarah Ashwell

UPDATE: Man appears in court charged with murder of Sarah Ashwell from Wells

A MAN charged with murdering 47-year-old Sarah Ashwell in Wells appeared before Taunton magistrates this morning.

Speaking through a Lithuanian interpreter, 38-year-old Antanas Jankauskas from Wookey in Somerset spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, and defence solicitor Natasha Steele were in court for the hearing.

The defendant was remanded in custody until Tuesday (November 16) when the case will be heard at Bristol Crown Court.

Body found

Sarah’s body was found at her home in South Street on Sunday, November 7.

Avon and Somerset police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT) launched a murder investigation and as the enquiry developed four men were arrested on suspicion of murder, including Jankauskas.

The other three arrested men have now been released under investigation, although one of them has been recalled to prison over other matters.

Yesterday officers arrested a fifth man on suspicion of assisting an offender. He has been released under investigation.

Large scale investigation

Det Supt Gary Haskins said: “This is a large-scale investigation involving over 100 officers and staff from across our service.

“The picture we have built up is of a mother, daughter and friend who was well-known and well-loved and whose loss is deeply felt. Our thoughts are with her loved ones.

“We’re grateful for the support of the community in coming forward with information, but it’s important to say that our work to get justice for Sarah and answers for her family is far from over. I’d ask people to continue to support our investigation in any way they can.

“We would however ask the public not to speculate on this case on social media as this could risk prejudicing the legal process now underway.”

Information

A police spokesperson said: “Please call 101 with information and give the reference 5221261875.

“Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers 1005 anonymously on 0800 555 111. They never ask who you are, just what you know.

“Avon and Somerset Police have made a mandatory formal referral to the IOPC due to recent police contact with Sarah.

“Neighbourhood officers continue to patrol the area and we’d encourage people to speak to them about any concerns.”

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