A SENIOR politician has said killer Michael Atherton should never have been allowed to have a gun before he blasted three members of the same family.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper spoke out after she met with Bobby Turnbull, whose mother Alison Turnbull, 44, sister Tanya Turnbull, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47, were slaughted by Atherton before he shot himself on New Year’s Day last year.
The killings came after Atherton, 42, was allowed a gun licence despite him having a history of domestic abuse and police removing his guns in 2008, before they were returned.
Ms Cooper said: “It is clear that restricting the availability of guns to those with a history of domestic abuse and violence is needed. Atherton should never have been given a gun.
“What the Turnbull family have had to go through is harrowing and I pay tribute to them for taking this campaign forward and I will be working with them to make sure we can achieve something positive from this tragedy.
“Clearly we need to ensure police forces are implementing best practice when it comes to gun control, but we also need to examine what changes are needed to the law to tighten it.
“Bobby Turnbull and his family deserve our support and we must do everything we can to prevent this happening to other families.”
Mr Turnbull said Ms Cooper has agreed to carry forward recommendations made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the Horden shootings.
These include greater checks on gun applicants and a more robust system of recording of applicants’ details and medical records being kept.
Bobby, who travelled with his uncle Robert Hardman to the Houses of Parliament for the meeting yesterday, said she will draw up the changes before discussing them with him at a further meeting in April and then pushing for other MPs to back her suggestions.
Bobby, 24, from East Street, Blackhall, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon with the outcome of the meeting.
“She is going to begin the process of looking at a whole new law if need be.
“She wants to set the ball rolling in the Home Office and also said our campaign is fantastic and that it’s already having a huge impact on gun laws.”
The Mail previously reported that a leaked IPCC report, which is yet to be made public, allegedly described failings that could have seen Atherton stripped of his guns, including a note placed on his file in 2004 relating to domestic violence and questioning whether to refuse his licence.
But is has been claimed this recommendation was overruled because it was thought Atherton would win an appeal.