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'This is our life sentence': questions remain for family of murdered Shuswap woman

'I'm guilty of the death of your daughter, I deserve any punishment.'
Cindy and John Simpson finally have closure in their daughter Ashley's 2016 murder, with Derek Lee Matthew Favell getting life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years during sentencing at the Salmon Arm Law Courts on Wednesday, June 12.

Just over eight years after the murder of their daughter Ashley Simpons, her family saw her killer sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. 

On June 12, Derek Lee Matthew Favell, 41, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Simpson's April 27, 2016 death, learned his fate at the Salmon Arm Law Courts where Crown counsel Alison Buchanan successfully argued to have the minimum 10-year parole ineligibility extended.

"I'm glad it's over, I'm glad my daughter up above has got the justice she deserves," said Ashley's father John Simpson. "I would've liked to see more years... but again, it doesn't mean he's getting out in 12 years. I'm happy, I'm satisfied he's going to jail."

Simpson, then 32, went missing from the Yankee Flats area near Salmon Arm in April 2016. 

Favell was charged with second-degree murder in December 2021,after Simpson’s remains were discovered in a wilderness area outside of Salmon Arm on Nov. 26, 2021.

Prior to delivering her verdict, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames heard the victim statements from the Simpson family and how not only the loss, but the extended period of time not knowing what had happened to Ashley affected them. 

"Unless it happens to you, you simply cannot imagine what it's like to lose a child. And our grief was compounded by six years of not knowing what happened," John said through tears. "No parent should bury their child... while a coward was able to live, work, play and lie all the time knowing what he'd done... a life for a life I say. May he rot in that cell."

Cousin Bobby-Lynn McGean, who came from Ontario numerous times to help search and, eventually, attend the court cases added that the family is forever left with questions about Ashley's final moments. 

"This is our life sentence," she stated. 

Also given a chance to speak, Favell addressed the Simpson family, as well as that of his own, including his 20-year-old daughter, and also reiterated his guilt.

"As a father, I can never imagine the pain you and your family have gone through. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused you," he said. "I'm guilty of the death of your daughter, I deserve any punishment."

Both Crown and defence lawyer Glenn Verdurmen argued their cases for the length of parole ineligibility, citing aggravating and mitigating factors respectively. While Beames took that all into consideration, before delivering her verdict.

"There can be no question that this was a brutal and senseless killing," she said. 

Beames added that while she is satisfied Favell was genuinely remorseful and has taken steps towards rehabilitation, the victim impact statements clearly demonstrated what a devastating impact the murder has had on the entire Simpson family.

"Given the strong need for denunciation and deterrence, as well as the particularly aggravating factors in this case, I conclude that the statutory minimum of 10 years is not sufficient, and the departure from that minimum is required," Beames concluded, giving Favell life in prison without parole for 12 years. "You spoke today about remorse and your promise to work toward rehabilitation, in that endeavour I wish you good luck. You owe that to Ms. Simpson and to the members of your own family."


About the Author: Heather Black

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