A MAN who lost three members of his family in a gun massacre will take part in this weekend’s Great North Run in their memory.
Bob Hardman has spoken of his complete devastation after his sisters Alison Turnbull and Susan McGoldrick were killed by Michael Atherton, in Horden, on January 1.
Atherton, who was Ms McGoldrick’s partner, also killed Mr Hardman’s niece Tanya Turnbull before turning the gun on himself.
Now Mr Hardman, from Blackhall, is taking part in Sunday’s race to help promote a campaign for tougher gun control laws and to help raise cash for Hartlepool & District Hospice.
Mr Hardman said: “You just take every minute, every hour, one moment at a time. It is devastating.
“You try and put the good back in your life and that is why I do things like the Great North Run for the hospice, to put some good back in my life.”
Mr Hardman said they were “very nice people with beautiful smiles” adding: “My niece was a young, caring, happy smiling person. It is devastating. That is all I think about, how wonderful they were.”
His sisters and niece are the first thing he thinks of in the morning and the last thing at night.
Mr Hardman added: “It is a big chunk of my life that is missing.
“There is nothing you can do, it is awful.”
He added the support from family, friends and work colleagues had been “immense” and he is hoping to raise £10,000 for the hospice.
The petition, which has about 10,000 signatures so far, calls for better co-operation between police and health professionals and asks for individuals with a criminal past, history of mental instability of domestic violence to be identified.
Atherton was known to police for domestic abuse against Susan and had threatened suicide a few years before.
Susan McGoldrick’s daughter Laura, 19, escaped the attack with and Atherton’s son Michael, 17, also survived the slaughter.