A TEENAGER who escaped a bloodbath in which her mum was killed has spoken of her tragic loss.
Laura McGoldrick witnessed the death of her beloved mother Susan, 47, at the hands of her step-father when he opened fire on his family at their Horden home.
Despite suffering minor injuries from the blast to her mum, the 19-year-old survived the New Year’s Day massacre after fleeing from an upstairs window at the house in Greenside Avenue.
Now she has spoken out about the mother she loved dearly.
She said: “As you can imagine, this week has been extremely traumatic and upsetting. Not only have I suffered the loss of my fantastic mam and a lovely aunty and cousin, I have been involved in a very frightening situation. I would like to say a few words about my mam and what she meant to me:
“To my beautiful and gorgeous mam, I love you with everything I have got. Words cannot describe how much I miss you. See you in heaven.”
The normally quiet street in the former pit village has been swamped by media this week in the wake of the shootings.
Laura said: “It is now extremely important to me that my family and I are left in peace to grieve our loss and to comfort one another.”
Laura’s boyfriend and her maternal half-brother Michael, 17, also managed to escape the brutal shooting spree.
Police are still investigating why cabbie Michael Atherton, 42, opened fire on his family, killing Susan, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24.
Though it’s believed there had been a heated discussion between the couple that night, it’s been described by police as a “minor row”.
Atherton, who worked for Phillips taxis, was a gun club member and had been due to go out shooting rabbits the day after he killed the three women.
Durham Police yesterday confirmed that between 2002 and 2004 police were called to four domestic-related incidents at Atherton’s house, none of which resulted in either him of Ms McGoldrick being charged with any offence.
Two of the incidents resulted in an arrest. The first was in July 2002 when Mr Atherton was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace after an argument between him and Ms McGoldrick.
In April 2004 he also received a police caution for common assault on Ms McGoldrick after he returned home in an intoxicated state.
Since then the only time police have been called to the home was the incident in September 2008 when Mr Atherton was alleged to have threatened to shoot himself. He denied this and after initially being arrested to prevent a breach of the peace he was released.