Man, 38, charged with murdering 'well-loved' mum found dead in Somerset cottage

A MAN has been charged with murdering a "well-loved" mum found dead in her village cottage.

The body of Sarah Ashwell Joice, 47, was discovered in Wells, Somerset, last Sunday.

Police today confirmed Antanas Jankauskas, 38, has been charged with murder.

He is due to appear at Taunton Magistrates’ Court today.

Three other men arrested as part of the murder probe have been released under investigation.

A fifth man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender was also released under investigation.

Tributes flooded in for company director Sarah after the tragedy.

Her heartbroken family said in a statement: "We are absolutely devastated by what has happened to Sarah, who we all loved so very much.

"Nothing can prepare you for such terrible news and we are utterly heartbroken.

“Sarah had so much of her life still to live. It is unbearable for us to think that this has been taken away from her and that she has been taken away from us.

"We are incredibly touched by the many kind and loving tributes that have been posted on social media by friends and loved ones in the last few days. It is a comfort for us to be reminded how well loved she was and that so many people had such affection for her.”

Her parents also left flowers at the scene of the horror with a note attached to "our beautiful daughter".

Another note left by a friend reads: "Thoughts with you and your family, clever, talented, fierce mum, Sarah Ashwell Joice.

"May the angels carry you home. Maybe they needed you home.

"Rest in Power S.A.J.".

One pal wrote: "R.I.P. Sarah.

"Always remember our laughs at work. You're in the arms of the angels now my friend.

"Until we meet again".


While another friend said: "Can't get my head round this at all… this world is just awful.

"My love and thoughts with your boys, not just now but forevermore, and your family… heartbreaking news."

Avon and Somerset Police have made a mandatory formal referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to recent police contact with Sarah

Detective Superintendent 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.”

Anyone with information can ring police on 101.

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