A coroner has called for "root and branch" changes to gun licensing at the conclusion of an inquest into a taxi driver who shot dead three members of his family before killing himself.
Andrew Tweddle said that with the current "flawed" system it was "fortuitous" there had not been more incidents like the one in Horden, near Peterlee, County Durham, on New Year's Day 2012.
Michael Atherton, 42, killed his partner, Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister, Alison Turnbull, 44, and Ms Turnbull's daughter, Tanya, 24, before turning the gun on himself.
Mr Tweddle, sitting in Crook, reached a verdict that the women were unlawfully killed and that Atherton killed himself.
The inquest heard that Atherton, despite a history of domestic abuse and threats to self-harm, legally owned six weapons, including three shotguns.
The inquest also heard that there was no formal training for police officers involved in granting firearms licences.
The Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP, says it is essential that lessons are learned from the Horden Shootings.
Coroner rules that Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull, Michael Atherton's three victims were unlawfully killed. He recorded a verdict of Suicide for Atherton.
The inquest into the Horden shootings has been shown the gun that Michael Atherton used to shoot himself and three others dead on New Year's day last year.
An officer at the inquest also said that while steps have been taken to make gun licensing at Durham Police more robust, he believes there should be a review of the national guidance given to police forces.
Watch the full report from Frances Read below.
A survivor of a triple killing in County Durham broke down in tears at an inquest as the weapon used to kill her mother and other family members was demonstrated in court by a firearms expert.
Just 30 minutes before his shooting spree, Michael Atherton had texted his partner offering to stay out for the night rather than risk confrontation, the hearing was told.
PC Mark Outhwaite showed the coroner how the gun could be reloaded within moments, whilst Laura McGoldrick, who fled to safety by climbing through the bathroom window that night, wept and was comforted by her family.
Atherton, who had arrests for domestic violence dating back 10 years, had a deep-rooted dislike for Alison Turnbull, after he blamed her for his arrest on a previous occasion.
The sisters and other family members had been out to a local rugby club without Atherton, and he grew angry when his son Mick told him they were out together.
Arriving home in a taxi before Atherton left, his partner accused him of assaulting her earlier that night.
A row broke out and when Atherton went out of the back door, he returned with one of his shotguns and shot his partner Susan, Tanya and finally Alison.
Susan Ferguson was sat on a settee and was spared, despite him looking at her. At some point Atherton reloaded the weapon and shot himself in the head, Mr Goundry said.
Before that, he had "exchanged some words" with his son, Mr Goundry said, and he fled through the front door.
The inquest will conclude on Friday after hearing evidence from Durham's Chief Constable.
The inquest into the Horden shootings has been hearing about the steps Durham Police has taken to make gun licensing more robust since the tragedy happened.
On New Year's day 2012 Michael Atherton shot dead his partner and two members of her family, before killing himself.
Since then a review of gun licensing has been carried out, but the officer in charge of that says he believes national guidance needs to be reviewed.
You can watch the afternoon update from Frances Read below.
The inquest into the Horden shootings has heard that the gunman did not have his licence revoked - despite threatening to kill himself.
Durham Police confiscated Michael Atherton's guns from him in 2008 but he was given them back at a later date.
He went on to shoot his partner and two members of her family before killing himself on New Year's Day last year.
Watch the full report from Frances Read below.
An inquest has heard how a man who went on to kill three members of his family before turning the gun on himself had been warned by police.Read the full story ›
The inquest into the Horden shootings has heard how the gunman never had his licence revoked despite threatening to kill himself.
In 2008 Durham Police took Michael Atherton's guns off him - but he was later given them back.
He would then go on to shoot himself, his partner and two members of her family on New Year's day of last year.
Watch the lunchtime update from Frances Read below.
An inquest has heard how a history of domestic violence did not automatically mean police could revoke the gun licence from a man who went on to shoot three people dead then kill himself.
Michael Atherton shot his partner Susan, her sister Alison, and her niece Tanya before killing himself last year.
Retired chief superintendent Carole Thompson-Young, who headed Durham Police's firearms licensing unit, said he was known to have a history of violence towards Susan.
However, legal advice said he would win an appeal if his shotgun licence was revoked, as he had never used weapons to attack her.
In a similar case, involving a different force, a gun owner had won an appeal against having his licence revoked.
She took that legal advice to mean that Atherton's history of domestic violence was not an "automatic barrier" to having a shotgun licence.
"The judge deemed that the person was entitled to have a gun because there had been no guns used in relation to the domestic violence."
"The force appealed against the outcome but the original appeal stood."