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Death fall teenager in a final act of love
A FINAL act of love in a Valentine’s Day card to his girlfriend may have been the last thing Ashley McKinnon did before he fell to his death on Thursday night.
The 17-year-old fell from the top floor of Wyvern Car Park shortly before 9.30pm on Thursday evening.
The incident is not being treated as suspicious by Wiltshire Police, and girlfriend Atlanta Holmes is adamant the tragedy was an accident.
Atlanta, 16, of Manor Road, continues to wait for the police to release what will be her final memory of Ashley – the Valentine’s Day card he wrote to her to mark their eight-month anniversary.
“He had got me a card, but the police have got it. We were going to order a takeaway and enjoy the evening together,” she said.
“I am still waiting for them to return it. I am sure they will have opened it.
“My world has stopped whilst everyone else’s keeps going. I have lost my best friend, my everything.”
Atlanta, who met Ashley at the beginning of 2013 and began a relationship with him last summer, said he was a happy person who might have had problems, but he was managing them adequately.
“He wasn’t struggling to make me happy. We made each other very happy,” she said. “He was never that unhappy.
“He used to go up there (Wyvern Car Park) to do some thinking. He would go around to different places and just think. He did have his problems, but they were not massive. I think it was an accident.”
Ashley, who would have celebrated his 18th birthday on August 12, had most recently been working with Talent Express, a firm which provides vocation skills for adults who want to develop their learning. Atlanta said he had been working in warehouses through the company.
He had most recently resided in Radnor Lodge, a supported housing scheme for young men, though he had begun to spend a lot of time with Atlanta’s family, including their last Christmas together.
Atlanta's mother Paula Holmes and her partner Colin McGill said Ashley had become part of the family.
"Ashley was here pretty much 24/7, him and Atlanta were completely inseparable," she said.
"He was like a son to me in the end. At the start of their relationship, I used to ask him if he was staying for dinner but after a few weeks I stopped asking in the end because he was part of the furniture and I cooked for him every day.
"We did a lot of fun things together as a family. We went ice skating, he'd never been before so he was the first to fall over. We spent Christmas day together and we had a onesie day. Ashley had presents under the tree and he had such fun, it was a real family event and we took lots of photos. We had a wonderful day.
"He was very loved within our family."
Ashley’s mother left the area 10 weeks ago, though he still has a grandmother and an adoptive family in the Moredon area of the town.
Jackie Alleway, 60, Ashley’s grandmother struggled to hold back her tears as she described the loss she and her friends have suffered.
“The whole family was in shock when we were told the news. We can still see him out on the field there (in Manor Crescent) playing football,” she said.
Sarah Day, 54, said she had known Ashley since the day he was born through her friendship with Jackie.
She said: “This was the most shocking thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
“He didn’t strike me as this sort of person.
“He was a very sensitive, quiet child. Ashley would sort others’ problems out before dealing with his own. That was the sort of person he was.”
Charmaine Day, 28, was Ashley’s mother’s partner. She took care of him in his younger years. She said: “In the last couple of weeks Ashley was struggling with a few issues, but he always tried to maintain he was okay.”