Teenager pleads guilty to murdering student Ashley Woolley in Chelmsford park

Steven Davenport

Steven Davenport - Credit: Archant

An 18-year-old man has admitted murdering a student in a park in Chelmsford a week before Christmas last year, police have said.

Steven Davenport, of Hillside Grove, stabbed 18-year-old Ashley Woolley to death in Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street just after 3.15pm on December 18, 2014.

Mr Woolley, who lived in the town, was taken to Broomfield Hospital but died later that day.

Davenport was arrested in the early hours of December 19 and later charged with murder and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place.

He initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

Senior investigating officer, superintendent Mark Hall, of Essex Police, said: “I am pleased that Steven Davenport has admitted his guilt and has saved Ashley’s family the trauma of having to endure a trial after being left devastated.

“Ashley was popular and well-liked in the community and his death shortly before Christmas last year caused widespread shock and distress.

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“Local enquiries enabled police to quickly identify and arrest Davenport as the suspect. He now faces a substantial term of imprisonment.”

The family of Mr Woolley issued the following statement through police after the court today: “On December 18, 2014, we were going about our daily lives and at 5.25pm we received the tragic news Ashley had been murdered. We still don’t know how our lives are going to carry on. We were then and are still in pieces.

“Ashley was loving and caring and always smiling. He would have done anything he could to help you. Why this happened to Ashley we will never know.

“We miss Ashley every minute of every day: his murder has stolen our lives. Everybody who knew Ashley loved Ashley.

“We miss Ashley and pray for him every night wishing we could bring him home. We will never again hear his laugh or see his cheeky smiley face.

“We would like to thank everyone that helped Ashley at the time and everyone who has helped us since. We will never get over the loss of Ashley. Rest in peace Ash. Forever young.”

Sentencing has been adjourned until July 10.