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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Woman's murderer jailed for life
Amanda Champion
Ford was sentenced on what would have been Amanda's 22nd birthday
A factory worker has been jailed for life for murdering a 21-year-old woman whose body was found on wasteground.

Amanda Champion's badly decomposed body was found last July near her home in Ashford, Kent, three weeks after she was last seen alive.

James Ford, a 26-year-old from Hunter Avenue in the Willesborough area of Ashford, was charged with her murder in October.

He pleaded guilty during an appearance before Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

We're not the family we were, we never will be any more - he can rot
Linda Ades, victim's aunt

Miss Champion was found dead by someone walking on land off Mead Road, Ashford, on the night of 26 July.

She had been reported missing 11 days earlier and had not been at work for more than three weeks.

The court heard Ford grabbed Amanda, who had a mental age of 15, strangled her using a wrestling hold and then slit her throat.

The court was then told he called the Samaritans within minutes of having killed Miss Champion, told them what he had done and hung up.

He phoned the Samaritans a further 45 times before a volunteer there decided he did not want a second murder on his conscience and broke the vow of anonymity to tell authorities what had happened.

Flowers left at the scene
Amanda Champion was found dead in Ashford on 26 July

The judge jailed Ford for life and indicated he should serve a minimum of 15 years.

His sentencing came on what would have been Miss Champion's 22nd birthday.

Her aunt, Linda Ades, said outside the court she felt hatred for Ford.

She said: "We're not the family we were, we never will be any more - he can rot.

"She would have been 22 today and all I can say is Amanda, we can't do anything else, but wherever you are, you're there with the others and happy birthday."

Det Ch Insp Dean Barnes, of Kent Police, said: "Because it was a motiveless crime and a senseless crime, James Ford is a very dangerous man.

"In his own mind he is telling us he doesn't know why he did this and that makes him very dangerous to me."


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