Evening Chronicle, Aug. 20, 2002
Dazed Sam and Doreen Ash told today how their daughter died and lay undiscovered for more than six months after she became mixed up in a religious cult.
Fit and healthy Jean Ash moved to London as a teenager to seek her fortune.
But instead, say her devastated parents, she was brainwashed by cult leaders.
Jean, 31, was found when police broke into her flat in Ealing, West London, after friends raised the alarm.
Home Office pathologists believe she may have lain for more than six months.
A Christmas tree and other decorations were still up.
Today her parents prepared to hold a funeral for Jean in Lemington, Newcastle.
Doreen said: “She was a fit, lovely, happy girl and to think of what has happened to her is awful.
“The authorities can’t tell us what happened. All they have said is that she was found in a collapsed state and they don’t believe there were any suspicious circumstances.
“She used to come and visit us at Christmas but we hadn’t heard from her for such a long time. We tried to reach her. She never wrote and rarely called us but when she came home she would light up the room. We loved having her here. She used to keep in touch with her friends in Lemington.
“She was so pretty, with beautiful dark eyes and hair. To think of her lying like that for so long is terrible.”
Music-loving Jean left Lemington when she was 19 to work as a nanny for a family friend.
She was a regular concert-goer, often seeing her favourite band Bon Jovi. She joined an amateur dramatics society, acting as prompter. In her final months she worked as an aerobics instructor in Ealing and never smoked or drank, living in a block of flats in Melrose Court, Williams Road, Ealing. But her life changed when she fell in with a small religious cult, claim her parents.
Sam said: “You couldn’t hope to meet a nicer girl – she was wonderful. But about 18 months ago she came up with a new boyfriend.
“She was a different person, had totally changed. Instead of a happy-go-lucky girl, she would be going on about religion. One time she knelt down on the floor in front of me and told me about God and heaven and how I had to believe to be saved.
“She believed everything she was saying with such a passion it was frightening. It was like she had been brainwashed.
“We don’t know what this cult was or who ran it. We haven’t seen her boyfriend since.
“There are so many unanswered questions. When she went to London Jean had her whole life ahead of her. Now she’s dead.”
A spokesman for the coroner’s office in Ealing said: “Jean Ash’s body was discovered on July 18.
“It was obvious she had been dead for some time. A Home Office forensic pathologist has carried out two post mortems but we are not yet certain how she died.
“We will hold an inquest into her death later this year.”
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “As far as we are concerned there were no suspicious circumstances.”