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The Historic Market Town in the heart of the National Forest

Open letter to residents of Ashby de la Zouch

Submitted on 14 March 2017 by Karen Edwards

Issued on 13/3/17 at 2:35 p.m.

Monday 13 March 2017

The tragic events that took place in Holland Crescent in Ashby last week understandably caused a real sense of shock, disbelief and anxiety in the town.

Ashby is a quiet, peaceful market town. The news that a man had died and a woman had been seriously injured in a bungalow in the street shook that sense of peacefulness to the core.

Extensive enquiries continue to be made into the events of last Thursday afternoon, but it may be some time yet before we can be certain of precisely what happened in that house.

Whatever did happen, it is a tragedy for all those immediately involved, not least for the little girl who was in the house at the time. She, and the relatives of the couple involved, continue to receive all the support we can possibly give them at this awful time.

The whole town – and especially those living in the street – have been left shocked by this incident. I’ve spoken to many people in Ashby over the last few days, and their sense of disbelief has been plain to see. But whilst we support one another, and particularly those involved and their families, we must not lose confidence in our community, our town. Ashby has not lost its identity. It has not suddenly become a more dangerous place to live, to visit, to work in.

Since Christmas there have been some very troubling and sad incidents. There was a particularly nasty assault on a man in the early hours of New Year’s Day in Derby Road and a fight in the early hours one Sunday February morning in Market Street which left one man with very serious head injuries. Arrests have been made in both of these incidents and one person has been charged with the Derby Road incident.

We were also shocked by an incident on 1 March in Market Street when a man suffered fatal burns in a fire in a business premises. A full file is being prepared for the Coroner but we are not looking for anyone else in connection with his tragic death.

I understand why some people may feel that these three, separate and unrelated events, taken in conjunction with the terrible events in Holland Crescent last week, show that Ashby is becoming a more dangerous place. It is their very rarity that makes us feel that way, because such events are not common in our town. Ashby was, and remains, one of the safest places in the whole of Leicestershire. Our crime rate, particularly crimes involving violence, is very low compared to other towns in the region, and we must not lose sight of that.

As your local Police Inspector, I have a big part to play in reassuring you and to keep you safe. One way I can help to do that is by getting as many officers and PCSOs as possible to spend as much time as possible on foot patrol, and that is something I will be trying to do in the coming days and weeks. And in speaking to the local council and with other partners, we will look to see what more we can do in partnership to reassure you.

But shocking though the tragic events of last Thursday are, coming so soon after some other nasty and troubling incidents, we should remember that Ashby as a whole is a safe and peaceful town, and one we, the Police, feel very much part of, and proud of.

Inspector Helena Bhakta

Dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Team Ashby