Tributes paid to Wigan couple at centre of US murder-suicide probe
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Sheriff’s department officers were called to an address in Lyon Street, Rancho Mirage, last Sunday afternoon (November 12) to find Carl and Kathy Ashcroft had suffered mortal gunshot wounds.
Mr Ashcroft, the boss of Pemberton Taxis, died at the scene and his Florida-born wife succumbed to her injuries soon after her arrival by ambulance at hospital.
Homicide detectives say they do not believe anyone else was involved in the shootings but investigations are continuing.
Friends of the couple, who had lived Shevington, Up Holland and Billinge areas as well as spells in Florida and more recently California, today spoke of their shock.
Dave Brown, dealer principal at Orrell Motorcycle Centre, had known the couple for years.
He said: “When I received a call and heard what happened I was devastated.
"They struck me as a devoted couple who did everything together. He loved his motorbikes and she enjoyed them too. Each time I saw them they were polite and well-mannered.
"Kathy was from Florida and that was where he met her. They did buy a property there but it didn’t work out.
"But then their next step was looking to move to California and I remember Carl being very excited about it. And when I heard they had taken the plunge I recall thinking ‘good for them.’
"They were living it up and having the time of their lives. Carl was a larger than life character and I am deeply sad that they have gone.”
A friend of Kathy, who did not wish to be identified, said: “This is a total tragedy.
"I am sure what happened will eventually come out but in the meantime we can only remember a couple who clearly adored each other. They met when Kathy was very young and they were both feisty.
"It worries me that Kathy didn’t have any family over here so I want people in particular to remember her.”
Wigan Today readers also paid tribute.
Si Tudor wrote: “Known these lovely people for a number of years, in absolute shock reading this. Rest in peace.”
Debbie Morgan-Harrison added: “So very sad. Sending condolences to both families.”
Pemberton Taxis declined to comment.