Dead man had gun licence

Scene of Crime officers come out of a house at the murder scene in Greenside Avenue. Horden. Picture by FRANK REID
Scene of Crime officers come out of a house at the murder scene in Greenside Avenue. Horden. Picture by FRANK REID

A MAN who shot himself after killing three women was a licensed holder of firearms.

The bodies of Michael Atherton, 40, Susan McGoldrick and two other women were found in close proximity downstairs in the semi-detached house in Greenside Avenue, Horden, after officers were alerted to shots being fired shortly before 11.45pm.

At a press conference, Assistant Chief Constable Michael Banks confirmed that a resident of the house held a firearms licence.

Police also confirmed that a young woman who suffered minor injuries escaped through an upstairs window, and there were other people in the house at the time who also survived, including a man who was initially arrested, but later released without charge.

Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry said all the deceased were related.

He also revealed that police had had “minor contact” with the family in the past.

Mr Banks said: “I can confirm that a resident at that address was the lawful holder of shotgun and firearms licences and we cannot confirm at this stage whether any of those weapons that were lawfully held have been used in this.”

Asked how many weapons were registered at that address, he said: “At this moment in time it is my understanding that the person was licensed for three shotguns and three section-one firearms.”

He said section-one firearms were a particular category of firearms which require greater authorisation than a shotgun licence.

Mr Banks said: “This is a tragic event. We have four people who died late last night and our thoughts and feelings are with their family and friends at this moment. I would like to reassure our communities that the police are in control of this incident. At this moment, we are looking for no-one else in relation to this inquiry.”