Horden Shootings Inquest

An inquest into the Horden shootings in County Durham due to start.

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Full Report: Inquest continues into Horden shootings

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.

Horden shootings survivor breaks down at inquest

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.


Afternoon update: Inquest continues into Horden shootings

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.

Full Report: Horden Shootings inquest continues

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.


Inquest told of "no automatic gun ban" for Atherton

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."

– Carole Thompson-Young, retired chief superintendent

Full Report: Horden shootings' inquest begins

An inquest has heard that a police firearms officer - who was convicted of selling on guns to the public - played a part in granting a gun licence to a man who shot himself and three members of his family in County Durham.

The hearing into the Horden shootings started today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commisson has already investigated why Michael Atherton was allowed several gun licences.

Today, the inquest heard there was no formal training for Durham police officers involved in granting gun licences.

Mavis, Bobby, Davey and Robert - the members of the victims' family - spoke to ITV News about the tragic day in January.

Watch the full report from Frances Read below.

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