Father killed partner and daughters before turning gun on himself in Woodmancote, inquest hears

Kelly Fitzgibbons with her daughters Ava and Lexi

A "caring" mother and her "cheeky and angelic" daughters were killed by the girls' father, before he turned the gun on himself, an inquest has heard.

Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and Ava and Lexi Needham, aged four and two, were killed by Ms Fitzgibbons' partner Robert Needham, 42, on March 29 2020.

An inquest in Horsham on Tuesday (12 July) heard that he shot them with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself at the family's home in Woodmancote, West Sussex.

Ms Fitzgibbons' twin, Emma Ambler, described the prospect of living without her sister as “incomprehensible”.

Horsham and West Sussex assistant coroner Bridget Dolan read out tributes to the three victims written by Ms Ambler.

She wrote: “Kelly and I had an idyllic and happy childhood and we would spend hours playing together, making up dance routines and plays to show the family.

“In school Kelly had lots of friends, she did well and school came easy to her.

“Nobody made me laugh as much as Kelly. She was an amazing sister. She was so caring and she treated my children like her own.

“Kelly longed for children for a number of years so she was thrilled when she fell pregnant. They were her whole world and she was so proud of those beautiful girls.

The house in the quiet village of Woodmancote where the entire family were found dead in March 2020

“We always said we couldn’t live without each other so her loss is still incomprehensible to me and our father. We will ensure Kelly lives on because there’s no way we could forget her.

“She really was one in a million and I take comfort in the fact that she was by my side as my sister and my best friend for 40 years.”

Miss Ambler also paid tribute to her nieces Ava, who she described as “beautiful and angelic”, and Lexi, who was “cheeky” and had the “signature Fitzgibbons curly hair”.

Tributes to the family on behalf of Needham’s family were also read out, calling Ms Fitzgibbons the “heart of the family”, sharing their love for Ava and Lexi, and describing what happened as a “diabolical tragedy”.

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