Man sentenced to life for murder in Fairwarp

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A man has been jailed for life for the murder of a teenager in woodland near Fairwarp.

Lewis Ashdown

At Lewes Crown Court today (Thursday 28th), Lewis Ashdown was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 27 years for the murder of 18-year-old Marc Williams in the early hours of Sunday 30th May 2021.

Ashdown, 20, of Normansland, Fairwarp, had pleaded guilty to murder and possession of an offensive weapon when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court in August.

Photo of Marc Williams whose body was found by Sussex Police in woodland heron's Ghyll near Crowborough
Marc Williams

Marc had considered Ashdown a friend, and met up with him on the evening of Saturday 29th May to socialise and drink alcohol in woodland in Fairwarp.

Marc, who rarely drank alcohol, had a phone call with his aunt around 11.30pm in which he sounded drunk but said he was planning to head home.

When he failed to return, his family grew concerned and reported him to police as a missing person.

Officers began conducting enquiries, and found Ashdown was missing as well. However, a search of his home address found bloodied clothing hidden in a wardrobe.

Forensics found the blood belonged to Marc and a murder investigation was launched.

Ashdown was found at the address of a friend in Eastbourne and was arrested. His friend told police Ashdown had admitted killing Marc in the woods.

Officers continued to search for Marc and later sadly found his body in woodland near Fairwarp. It was confirmed he had died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

Ashdown was charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon, and pleaded guilty to both offences at court.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers, said:

This was a horrendous and unprovoked attack on a young man who thought he was simply out enjoying an evening with a friend.

Lewis Ashdown took advantage of Marc’s trust and friendship, and killed him in a sustained and violent assault.

Marc’s family have behaved with the utmost dignity throughout this case and our thoughts are very much with them and Marc’s friends at this incredibly distressing time.

DCI Emma Vickers
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