Clothes were taken from body
A CORONER has recorded an open verdict at an inquest into the death of Ashley Dighton, whose headless body was found near an Ashford supermarket.
The 19-year-old, from Nine Acres, Kennington, was found in scrubland behind Ashford’s Sainbury’s store 18 months ago.
But mystery still surrounds when and where the teenager died.
Despite a detailed police murder investigation nobody has ever been charged, but coroner Rachel Redman made it clear at last Thursday’s inquest that investigations are ongoing.
Det Ch Insp David Withers, said: “We cannot say how Ashley died but the evidence suggests someone attempted to cover the body with branches, and had removed clothes from his body while it was in an advanced stage of decomposition.”
He said officers had found a carrier bag with his T-shirt and a missing rib from his body in another bag 100 metres away from the remains and his shoes in another area, but his trousers had never been found.
Up to 100 officers carried out fingertip searches in a hunt for evidence after the remains were found on July 11 last year.
Pathologist Dr David Rouse, who attended the scene, said the head and some limbs were missing from the decomposed remains and he was unable to ascertain the cause of death.
Ashley’s father Ambrose Dighton said the last time he saw his son was when he made a brief visit to the family home to change his clothes on Sunday, June 10.
He said he had not reported his son missing until June 21 as Ashley often stayed with his sisters.
Amanda Dighton told the court her brother had stayed at her home on the night of June 10 with her then partner Liam Walsh and Jason Farmer.
The next morning they all travelled into the town centre.
The four young people were going to the Warren Retail Park.
She said: “At Sainsbury’s Liam, my ex, got beer and Ashley wanted another crate but he put it back as he didn’t have enough money. He went outside and that was the last time I saw him.
In a statement to the police, Liam Walsh said he and Ashley had been drinking vodka during the morning and admitted Ashley was very drunk.
Polish store security guard Lucas Brezezinski said that he had seen a very drunk youth outside the shop who he had identified from photographs as Ashley.
He added: “He said he was okay as he sat on a bench and that he was going back home down the footpath.
“He was not abusive or looking to quarrel with me. He walked off and I followed behind and watched as he unsteadily went down the footpath and out of sight. It was a warm, dry sunny day and no one followed or passed him.”
Ambrose Dighton - Father