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Family of Wigan taxi boss and wife killed in US murder-suicide probe release update

Police say investigations continue

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A fundraiser has been set up to help a young family return to Greater Manchester after losing both parents, in what US police are treating as a suspected murder-suicide investigation.

Officers from the Riverside County Sheriff Office were called to an address in Lyon Street, Rancho Mirage, in California on Sunday afternoon (November 12th) to find Carl and Kathryn Ashcroft with gunshot wounds.

Mr Ashcroft, 61, who owned Pemberton Taxis in Wigan, died at the scene while his wife Mrs Ashcroft, 55, was rushed to hospital, where she died of her injuries shortly afterwards.

Carl and Kathy Ashcroft

Sergeant Mike Kelleher said deputies responded to a report of an ‘attempted suicide’ at a property on Lyon Road, Rancho Mirage, at about 14:15 PST.

“There are no outstanding suspects and there is no threat to the community,” he added.

The sheriff’s department said they believe Mr Ashcroft shot his wife then himself and that they were not looking for any other suspects, though investigations continue.

The Ashcrofts met in Florida and were together for 35 years but were believed to be experiencing issues in their marriage. Mr Ashcroft was from Wigan and Mrs Ashcroft from the States. They previously lived in the Wigan area before relocating to the US.

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The shocking incident has left a wake of devastation as a young family comes to terms with the loss of their parents and grandparents.

Family friend Katie Burns has set up a Go Fund Me page on behalf of the grieving family members, with their permission.

Ms Burns writes: “Through this page we want to support Fallon, Ben and their 3 month old baby Micah, 11 year old Daughter Nevaeh and 9 year old daughter Kyah who utterly adored by both Kathy and Carl.”

The money will be used to help the family move to Wigan to be near family, while the Ashcroft’s daughter Fallon is currently on maternity leave and ‘facing extensive responsibilities that are adding additional stress and pressure onto the family. These include paying to release both of her parents bodies and the cremation’. 

Katie Burns / Go Fund Me & family submit

The family can not stay in their home after what happened there and wish to put all of the belongings into storage by hiring a removal company to do this – to avoid any distress with entering the home again. 

In a caption on the fundraising page, Ms Burns writes: “On behalf of my Dear friend Fallon, who is in need of support through the most unimaginable pain ever, I would like to share the following. 

“Carl Ashcroft had flown out to Palm Springs California on November 9th to visit his daughter and grandchildren and planned to stay over Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

“He was staying with his daughter and son in law and planned to work on his suffering marriage to Kathy. Kathy was not staying at the home upon Carl’s arrival.

Katie Burns / Go Fund Me & family submit

“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.”

Ms Burns adds: “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. 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. Thank you”

To visit the Go Fund Me Page and make a donation, click HERE.

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Happy Valley actress Sarah Lancashire wins performance of the year award

Well deserved

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Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire won the Rose d‘Or Award for her portrayal of Catherine Cawood in the BBC drama.

The Rose d’Or Awards is a prestigious ceremony celebrating international excellence in entertainment programming. The 62nd event was held in London and hosted by comedian and writer David Baddiel. 

Collecting her performance of the year award, Lancashire said: “This is thrilling, [I want to] thank those who are responsible for bringing this amazing series to screen.”

Happy Valley / BBC

Happy Valley is an award-winning British crime drama set in the Calder Valley area of West Yorkshire, written by Sally Wainwright.

The series, which aired on BBC One, follows Lancashire in the role of no-nonsense copper Sergeant Catherine Cawood who comes up against James Norton’s character; evil criminal Tommy Lee Royce – who Sergeant Cawood holds responsible for her daughter’s suicide.

The gripping series concluded earlier this year and has been receiving a raft of nods for performances, as well as for the show itself, ever since.

@happyvallybbc / Twitter

The BBC also scooped best documentary for The Man Who Played With Fire while ITV’s The 1% Club, hosted by comedian Lee Mack, picked up the award for studio entertainment.

British series A Whole Lifetime With Jamie Demetriou also took home the best comedy entertainment award on the night.

In his acceptance speech, Demetriou said: “What a lovely looking award this is. It needs to be said, David’s opening monologue is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”

A Whole Lifetime / Netflix

Lancashire, Dayan and Edebiri join previous recipients of Rose d’Or special awards, including Sir David Attenborough, Brian Cox, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, James Corden, John Cleese and the late Dame Angela Lansbury.

The Rose d’Or Awards has defined the gold standard for excellence and achievement in International TV and Audio programme making since 1961.

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Mum opens accessible chippy so autistic son ‘has a job for life’

She opened the chippy after a stranger made a comment about her son online

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ITV News

A mum from Lancashire has opened up a chippy so that her autistic son ‘has a job for life’, after a stranger’s comment online. 

Gillian Jervis opened Oliver’s Chippy in Warton, near Blackpool, after a stranger’s comments on a forum online – calling her son Oliver ‘a burden on the state’ – prompted her to prove them wrong.

About the comment, Gillian told ITV News: “I sometimes think I dreamt the comment and that I made it all up, because why would you say something like that?

“Have I read it wrong? I went through all of those emotions – it knocked me sideways.”

ITV News

The mum-of-four decided to start a business in her son’s name and opened Oliver’s Chippy in 2021 – where Gillian is already training the 12-year-old so that he can take over when he grows up.

On why she chose to open a chip shop business for Oliver she said: “It gives him his structure, it’s a bit like school; his daily routine that he has to have.

“What you end up doing everyday – prepping the food, serving the food, making up the food, stocking the fridges… he’ll learn all that before he starts at sixteen.”

Oliver’s autism means he has some communication difficulties though he is able to express himself in other ways.

ITV News

The chippy is built with facilities to help people with communication and accessibility issues by using visual screens on the tills instead of words and phrases.

As Gillian explains: “You’ve got people with a stutter, so I’ve looked at it this way. Before people start to speak, they look at pictures don’t they?

“It’s better to see a picture of what you want, it gives you the confidence to come into my shop and order what you want without saying it.”

Not only do these images help Oliver, they also help customers who may communicate better with visual aids. Not only this, the chippy also offers services to help make it easier for all neurodivergent people to place their orders.

ITV News

Gillian said: “We do have a disability point access, we do have a ramp, we do have a visual menu.

“If you came in and you want your order all separate and you said ‘jigsaw’ we know that it means everything’s separate.” The chippy can make sure different food isn’t touching others by offering cartons with separated sections.

Since opening, the chip shop has fed more than 1,300 children and supported other families across the Fylde Coast. This includes giving away a family holiday, an iPad, air fryer and over 100 competition meals.

ITV News

She continued: “We had the cost of living crisis, fuel shortages, the after effects of Covid and people not working as they were, with people losing their jobs due to Covid as well.

“So I just said to Arran, ‘shall we feed the kids for free?’ He said ‘yes – but how are we going to do it?’ I said ‘I don’t know, but we’ll find a way of doing it’.”

Opening in 2021 during the pandemic, the first Easter holidays saw the chip shop take a financial hit as it gave out free meals for children in the area.

But during the summer holidays later that same year, the business was supported by Bryning with Warton Parish Council as a Go Fund Me was started to raise the funds.

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Elderly woman, 82, dies after being hit by vehicle on main road

Sad news

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An 82-year-old woman has sadly died after being hit by a vehicle on a main road in Tameside yesterday.

The elderly woman was critically injured in the collision which happened on Manchester Road, in Audenshaw, at around 5.55pm on Monday, November 20th.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, close to the Snipe Retail Park, and an ambulance took her to hospital.

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The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and has continued to assist police with enquiries.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed the woman has now died from her injuries and are appealing for witnesses of the collision to come forward to help them with their investigations.

Confirming the tragic update in a statement, the force said: “At around 5.55pm on Monday November 20th, Greater Manchester Police were called to reports of a road traffic collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian on Manchester Road, Audenshaw.

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“An 82-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in a serious condition has since sadly died from her injuries.

“The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and is continuing to assist police with enquiries.

“Police would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the collision – and are continuing to appeal for anyone with relevant mobile, dashcam or CCTV footage to please come forward.”

Members of the public can submit information and footage by calling 0161 856 4741 quoting log 2797 of 20/11/23. You can also report information online using the LiveChat function on the website: www.gmp.police.uk.

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