Guns campaigner 
off to Whitehall

Bobby Turnbull at Hartlepool train station as he waits for the Grand Central train to London where he will meet with Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary. Picture by FRANK REID
Bobby Turnbull at Hartlepool train station as he waits for the Grand Central train to London where he will meet with Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary. Picture by FRANK REID

THE son of a shooting massacre victim will lobby a Cabinet member on gun controls, just weeks after a senior politician pledged her support.

Bobby Turnbull, whose mum Alison Turnbull was one of the victims of gunman Michael Atherton, will meet Policing and Criminal Justice minister Damian Green to discuss calls for tighter firearms laws.

The meeting will take place on February 25.

Bobby, 24, of East Street, Blackhall, will join members of the Gun Control Network, which was set up in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane tragedy, during the meeting with Mr Green at Whitehall.

It marks further progress for Bobby, who last week met with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.

She agreed more needs to be done to toughen gun controls and that killer cabbie Michael Atherton, 42, should never have been allowed a gun before he blasted partner, Bobby’s aunt, Susan McGoldrick, 47, Bobby’s mum Alison Turnbull, 44, and Bobby’s sister Tanya Turnbull, 24, on New Year’s Day last year.

Hartlepool Golf Club worker Bobby said: “I got a letter from Mr Green the day I came back from seeing Ms Cooper.

“I couldn’t get the grin from my face from hearing how she supports our aims. Ms Cooper is in the opposition and said she can help, hopefully Mr Green will be able to help even more.”

Bobby added that he received a further boost from gun control network members, who said they believe he could be the person to push for change.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The minister hopes for a constructive discussion with Mr Turnbull and members of the Gun Control Network on this important issue.

“The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. The authority to possess firearms is only granted in limited circumstances, subject to stringent conditions.

“We are working with Association of Chief Police Officers to strengthen the guidance on firearms licensing so intelligence about domestic violence is properly taken into account when police consider applications.”

The killings came after Atherton was allowed a gun licence despite having a history of domestic abuse and police removing his guns in 2008, before they were returned.