5,000 join gun law petition

Bobby Turnbull pictured with the petition.
Bobby Turnbull pictured with the petition.

A PETITION to change gun laws that was launched after the Horden massacre which claimed the lives of three women has reached 5,000 names.

And doting son Bobby Turnbull, who lost his mum and sister in the bloodbath, today issued another rallying call for people to join the fight for change.

Michael Atherton blasted his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister, Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, on January 1 this year after a family row.

Taxi driver Atherton, 42, then killed himself with his legally-owned shotgun at the couple’s semi-detached house in Greenside Avenue, Horden.

But Bobby, 23, believes the tragedy could have been avoided and has launched a petition to change the law with the backing of Easington MP Grahame Morris.

It has already attracted 5,000 signatures – and many more are still to be gathered.

Bobby, of East Street, Blackhall Colliery, said: “I’m thrilled, but we want more people to join the fight and we are determined to force change.”

Police were criticised after the shootings when it became known that Atherton had a history of domestic violence within a “volatile relationship” with Ms McGoldrick.

Durham Constabulary confirmed that between 2002 and 2004 officers were called to four domestic-related incidents at the family home, none of which resulted in either party being charged with any offence.

It was also alleged that he threatened to shoot himself in 2008, but his guns were only temporarily confiscated by police.

The petition calls for extensive checks on gun licence holders and applicants who have a criminal past, including domestic violence and mental illness, and better co-operation between police and health professionals.

Susan’s daughter, Laura McGoldrick, 19, suffered minor injuries after fleeing the incident.

Bobby added: “One more name is a name for change.”