Appeal to help family return to Wigan after couple die in murder-suicide in US

A £15,000 fund-raising appeal has been launched to support the devastated family of a Wigan couple who died in a murder-suicide in the USA.
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Pemberton Taxis boss Carl Ashcroft and his wife Kathy Ashcroft were found with gunshot wounds at their daughter’s home in Rancho Mirage, California, on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Ashcroft, 61, died at the house and his Florida-born wife, 55, succumbed to her injuries soon after being taken to hospital.

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Carl and Kathy AshcroftCarl and Kathy Ashcroft
Carl and Kathy Ashcroft

An online fund-raising appeal with a target of £15,000 has now been set up by friend Katie Burns, which “has been authorised by the victims’ family”.

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A lengthy statement on the page states Mr Ashcroft flew to Palm Springs, California on Thursday, November 9 to stay with his daughter Fallon, her partner Ben and three children over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mrs Ashcroft was not staying there, but went round on Sunday to collect her daughter and went inside.

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Ms Burns writes: “Fallon greeted her mum along with her baby son and father. They proceeded to the kitchen area where Carl asked Kathy to speak with him just outside in the back yard and sign a paper. Fallon remained close by in the kitchen with her son.

"Moments after stepping outside Fallon heard concerning noise expecting an argument when two shots were fired. Fallon saw her parents and fell into complete shock.”

Emergency services were contacted, but neither Mr and Mrs Ashcroft could be saved.

Fallon and Ben now have a lot to deal with in the wake of her parents’ deaths and the fund-raising appeal has been set up to support them.

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They cannot return to their home following the incident and have no relatives in California, so they hope to make arrangements to travel to Wigan to be with their families as soon as possible.

They also need to pay for the release of her parents’ bodies and cremations, so she can scatter Mrs Ashcroft’s ashes in Virginia and take Mr Ashcroft’s to Wigan.

The couple have to arrange for their belongings to be put into storage, travel to San Diego for an expedited passport for their three-month-old son and organise for Mrs Ashcroft’s “treasured” Siamese cats Rocco and Zoriah to be taken to the UK.

Ms Burns wrote: “All these costs are overwhelming and taking the focus away from the healing this young family need to start doing. My friend needs to return to the UK as soon as is possible, but until the above is done she is in limbo and this is affecting her every day.

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"No-one ever expects to lose both parents on the same day, in the house your family live in, and in an instant to now be faced with all these obstacles to go through to be able to get back to the people that she needs to support her through her excruciating loss.

"We would so appreciate if you could share this page with the hope that Fallon's story is met with compassion, understanding and abundant generosity. Please help us get this family home where they need to be at this time.”

Donations can be made here.