Brave Laura goes back

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A HEARTBROKEN teenager bravely returned to the house where three relatives were massacred to lay flowers in memory of her mum.

Laura McGoldrick made an emotional dawn trip to Greenside Avenue, Horden, just four days after her step-dad went on a New Year’s Day killing spree in the family home.

The 19-year-old had fled the bloodbath by scrambling out of an upstairs window with her boyfriend after she suffered minor shotgun wounds to her wrist and shoulder.

Laura was in the kitchen as Atherton opened fire on her mother Susan McGoldrick and she was hit with spray from the shotgun pellets that killed her mum.

Flowers had already been laid on the outside gate of the semi-detached home, but Laura’s bouquet of pink carnations, purple daisies and lilies were placed on the doorstep of the empty house.

The moving message attached read: “To mum. I love you so much with all my heart. I can’t wait to see you again.”

Laura’s mum, Susan McGoldrick, 47, was shot dead in the kitchen by her partner Michael Atherton, 42, just minutes before midnight on Sunday after a “minor” row.

The bodies of Ms McGoldrick’s sister, Alison Turnbull, 44, and Mrs Turnbull’s daughter, Tanya Turnbull, 24, were found by armed police in the kitchen.

Taxi driver Atherton, who was a shooting enthusiast and gun club member, turned the gun on himself in the doorway between the kitchen and living room.

Detectives, scene of crime officers and patrolling PCs have been a constant presence in Greenside Avenue over the last few days.

But the police cordon has now been lifted, and residents were trying to get back to some normality yesterday.

Wheelie bins were put out ready to be collected just like any other day, but the noise of the flower bouquets flapping in the wind was a constant reminder of the tragedy that has hit the tight-knit community.

Shoppers who knew Susan through her job at Aldi, in Peterlee, have been among those to leave flowers and messages.

Mally and Sandra Clarkson, from Easington Colliery, prayed for her before recalling seeing the mother-of-two just two days before her death.

Mrs Clarkson said: “We’re her customers but she used to come and give us a cuddle, especially at this time of year.”

Mr Clarkson added: “Nobody can understand it really, it’s just so sad

One resident in the street, who did not want to be named, told the Mail that Laura had been seen at the house “very early” yesterday, but quickly got back into a car after laying flowers on the doorstep.

He said: “I don’t think she wanted to be seen by anyone. She just wanted to lay the flowers and get away.

“The street is going to be infamous now. It will always be linked to what’s happened.

“I can’t believe something like this would happen round here. It’s quiet. There’s no bother or anything.

He added: “I wonder what they’ll do with the house. How can the family ever go back there? I can’t see anyone living in it.”

The neighbours at a nearby house, where Laura is thought to have ran for help, did not want to speak but a woman living on the other side of the road said residents are “in deep shock.”

The middle-aged woman, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “They seemed like a nice family but you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. There must be a history there.

“I think everyone’s in deep shock and everyone feels really sorry for those who are left.”

One pensioner, who also did not want to be identified, was taking a shortcut through the street when he passed the flowers and stopped to look at the house.

The man, who said he’d lived in Horden for more than 50 years, said he had never seen the village so quiet.

He added: “Nothing like this has ever happened here before. It’s the talk of Horden but there is a strange atmosphere. I think it’ll take months to get back to normal.

“It’s like everyone’s in mourning.”