US police say they believe a Wigan taxi boss murdered his wife then killed himself
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From the start of the probe into the deaths of Carl and Kathy Ashcroft, homicide officers have described the tragedy in the city of Rancho Mirage last Sunday (November 12) as a “murder-suicide.”
But in a new statement formally identifying the pair, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office has identified the 61-year-old owner of Pemberton Taxis as the suspect and his 55-year-old spouse as the victim.
Wigan Today has also been informed by a source that the horrific events took place at their only daughter Fallon’s home and that Carl Ashcroft bought a gun specifically for the killing, phoned someone to tell them he was going to do it but at first the person who received the call dismissed it as a joke.
Officers say they were called to the address on Lyon Street, Rancho Mirage, at 8.15pm on Sunday (12.15am GMT on Sunday) to reports of an attempted suicide.
When they arrived they found both Mr and Mrs Ashcroft with mortal gunshot wounds. Mr Ashcroft died at the scene and his wife soon after paramedics took her to hospital.
In a brief update on the investigation by the Central Homicide Unit, Sgt Mike Kelleher said: “The victim in this case was identified as Kathryn Ashcroft, a 55-year-old resident of Simi Valley. The suspect has been identified as Carl Ashcroft, a 61-year-old resident of Simi Valley.”
The Ashcrofts first met 40 years ago when Kathryn was just in her mid-teens and friends have described them as a loving couple who did everything together.
For most of their relationship they lived in Shevington but latterly spent more time in America, firstly in Florida and then in California, while also briefly setting up homes in Up Holland and then Billinge. It is understood they had been talking about moving back to Wigan before tragedy struck.
The source told Wigan Today: “The shooting happened at Fallon’s house. We don’t know if she was there at the time or not. But it’s truly horrible.
"Carl had never bothered with guns while in America but something has clearly gone badly wrong.
"I’ve been told he bought this gun for the specific purpose of doing what he did. Then he rang someone to tell them he was going to kill Kathy but at first they took it as a joke so they didn’t do anything about it.
"It is so terribly sad. Kathy was a lovely woman who spent most of her life in Wigan but didn’t have any family here. She must never be forgotten though.”
As far as future inquiries are concerned, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said: “The case will continue to be investigated by the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit and the Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau until a determination can be made.”
Rancho Mirage, in the Coachella Valley, is a popular holiday destination for golfers and has hosted the Ryder Cup and PGA Tour events. Among well-known past residents have been ex-President Gerald Ford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby.