When Maxine Peacock was murdered in January 2003, widower Ashley became troubled by the thought that he might not be the father of their son Joshua who had been born nine months after Maxine had had a drunken one-night stand with neighbour Matt Ramsden, after trying unsuccessfully for some time to conceive a child with Ashley. Ashley’s father Fred Elliott tried to convince Ashley to let the matter drop but his world having been shattered by his wife’s death, he had to know the truth of the matter.
Less than two weeks later, accompanied by Fred, Ashley went to Pierce, Vaughan & Brentnall Solicitors, the offices of solicitor James Brentnall to hear the results. Mr Brentnall, as kindly as possible in the circumstances, broke the news to him that the DNA evidence showed that he couldn’t possibly be Joshua’s father. Although devastated by the news, he quickly resolved to be the best father to Joshua that he could, although Fred took more time to adjust to the fact that Joshua was not his natural grandson.