Memorial for tragic family

Bobby Turnbull
Bobby Turnbull
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BEREAVED Bobby Turnbull is planning to hold a memorial service to remember loved ones who were gunned down in cold blood.

Bobby wants to hold the service to honour his mother Alison Turnbull, 44, sister Tanya, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47 who were all killed by Michael Atherton.

The 42-year-old went on a rampage with a shotgun in his Greenside Avenue home in Horden on New Year’s Day last year.

The inquest into their deaths, held last week, ruled they had been unlawfully killed.

Mr Turnbull had hoped to hold a memorial service next month but it will now be held in the summer on a date yet to be fixed.

Mr Turnbull said: “I want to hold it as a celebration of them and their lives.

“It will be very emotional for me to hold it, but I plan to hold the memorial service later this year.”

Bobby is determined to make a change to the gun laws to include stricter checks of the medical records of license holders.

Tanya’s boyfriend, Michael Kendrew, also revealed that he had picked out an engagement ring the day before she was shot.

In the months leading up to her killing, Tanya had been planning to buy a house with her partner of two-and-half years and had spoken about having children.

Mr Kendrew said: “I’ll never meet anyone like her. No one could come close. She was so kind. She would give anyone her last penny and she would be left with nothing. She was well liked and that’s why no one understands why he shot Tanya.”

The report also revealed that despite Atherton’s weapons being seized, his licence was not removed and there was a “total absence” of communication between the force’s domestic violence/public protection and licensing units.

Following the inquest at Crook Coroner’s Court, Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle said he will write to the Home Office calling for “root and branch” overhaul to gun licensing.

Mr Tweddle reached a verdict that the women were unlawfully killed and that Atherton killed himself.

He said Durham Police had conducted a thorough review of its firearms licensing practices since the tragedy, but many other licences had been issued to “improper” people.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Mr Tweddle both issued stinging attacks on Durham Police after the inquest in Crook.

It was suggested that the tragedy could have been prevented if there had not been a series of missed opportunities to seize the six weapons belonging to Atherton, who had a history of domestic abuse and threats to self-harm.

Durham Police Chief Constable Michael Barton offered an apology to the families.

Bobby slammed the force’s “lack of training, accountability, poor leadership and poor communication structure”.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said “lessons should be learned” and applied nationally, not just locally.