Relatives of Horden gun massacre victims praised by police minister

Bobby Turnbull
Bobby Turnbull

THE relatives of three gun massacre victims have been praised by a Government minister for their “dignified campaign” to strengthen firearms licensing.

Bobby Turnbull and his uncle Bobby Hardman travelled to the Home Office in Westminister yesterday for a meeting with Damian Green, the minister of state for policing and justice.

Bobby, 24, from Blackhall, wanted to discuss tighter gun controls, after an inquest into the deaths of his relatives, killed in a shooting in Horden’s Greenside Avenue on New Year’s Day last year, heard there was a string of failings in the issuing of gunman Michael Atherton’s gun and firearms licences.

The minister confirmed that changes to gun laws are already underway, in light of the deaths of Bobby’s mum Alison Turnbull, 44, sister Tanya Turnbull, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47, who were gunned down by taxi driver Atherton, before he turned the gun on himself.

Mr Green said: “Bobby Turnbull and Bobby Hardman have run a dignified campaign to strengthen the firearms licensing process.

“I was pleased to meet them and update them on progress made so far on improvements to Home Office guidance.

“We are paying particularly close attention to ensuring intelligence about domestic violence is fully taken into account when police consider firearms licence applications.

“We are also considering proposals to increase firearms fees.

“This process is well underway and should be complete by the end of the year.”

Bobby, a greenkeeper at Hartlepool Golf Course, appeared in the Mail last week after a letter he received from the Home Office outlined draft proposals for revising the Firearms Guide.

The Home Office outlined plans to to issue clearer guidance to police when considering gun licence applications where there may be a history of domestic violence.

The letter confirmed that changes were being made in light of domestic shootings which have occurred, including in Horden.

And last week, the IPCC made national recommendations to tighten gun control where domestic violence had been an issue.

Bobby said: “I hope I get further forward in getting national changes put into place.”

The letter confirmed that changes were being made in light of domestic shootings which have occurred, including the tragedy in Horden.