The owner of a Wigan taxi company and his American wife are at the centre of a suspected suicide and murder investigation. Carl and Kathy Ashcroft were found with gunshot wounds at an address in California.

Mr Ashcroft was pronounced dead at the scene and Mrs Ashcroft was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries. The incident happened in Rancho Mirage, a city in Riverside County, south east of Palm Springs.

Local police have named Mr Ashcroft as the 'suspect' in the case. He was the owner of PemTaxis in Wigan and it is understood he and his wife had previously lived in Shevington.

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In a statement the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said: “On November 12, 2023, at about 2.15pm, deputies from the Palm Desert Sheriff Station responded to a report of an attempt suicide at a residence on Lyon Street, in the city of Rancho Mirage.

"Deputies arrived within minutes and located a male and a female with gunshot wounds. The male victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

PemTaxis, in Wigan
PemTaxis, in Wigan

"The female victim was transported to a local hospital and succumbed to her injuries. Deputies secured the area as a crime scene and investigators from the Palm Desert Sheriff Station responded.

"The Central Homicide Unit also responded and assumed the. investigation. The identity of those involved will not be released, pending next of kin notification.

"This case is being investigated as a murder/suicide. There are no outstanding suspects and there is no threat to the community. The investigation is currently on-going and no further information will be released at this time.

"If anyone has information regarding this investigation, they are encouraged to call Master Investigator Navarrete with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777 or Investigator Evans at the Palm Desert Sheriff Station at 760-836-1600.”

A further statement issued this evening added: "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."

A city in the Coachella Valley, Rancho Mirage is a popular holiday destination for golfers, has hosted the Ryder Cup and PGA Tour events. It is one of the biggest holiday spots and known as "Golf Capital of the World" and "Playground of the Presidents", with Gerald Ford living there before his death, as well as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby. PemTaxis was approached for comment.