Minister’s pledge to gun campaigner

Dated: 20/05/2012'Alison Turnbull,  who was one of four people who were shot dead when her stepbrother Michael Atherton went on a rampage with a legally-owned gun. Alison's son Bobby, 23, has now launched a petition to change gun licensing procedures.'Pictured with Bobby.'See story North News' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 20/05/2012'Alison Turnbull, who was one of four people who were shot dead when her stepbrother Michael Atherton went on a rampage with a legally-owned gun. Alison's son Bobby, 23, has now launched a petition to change gun licensing procedures.'Pictured with Bobby.'See story North News' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
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A POLICING minister has promised to look into establishing a hotline for people to call with concerns about domestic abuse involving gun licence holders.

It comes in the wake of the Horden gun massacre.

Cabbie Michael Atherton shot dead his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44 and Alison’s daughter Tanya Turnbull, 24, before turning the gun on himself.

The killings, on New Year’s Day last year, came after Atherton was allowed a gun licence despite having a history of domestic abuse and police removing his guns in 2008, before they were returned.

Alison’s son Bobby Turnbull, who is campaigning for better vetting of gun licence applicants with a history of domestic abuse, travelled to the Houses of Commons this week for a meeting with Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green.

The 24-year-old, from East Street, Blackhall, joined members of the Gun Control Network, set up in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane tragedy, during the hour-long meeting at Whitehall.

It followed an appointment he had with Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper earlier this month.

Golf Club worker Bobby said: “I told Mr Green about our campaign’s aims and he said he would take everything away and look at it.

“I don’t think I got as much progress as I did with Yvette Cooper, but the Gun Control Network said it went well.”

Bobby said Mr Green told him he could not comment on his specific aims until the conclusion of the inquests into his relatives’ deaths, and after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation report is published.

But he added: “The Gun Control Network think he should look into starting a gun helpline.

“For instance if you know your next door neighbours are always arguing and one has a gun licence, you could anonymously ring the number to air your concerns.

“I said it’s something Mr Green should definitely consider.

“He said he would take that idea away, but it would need funding and he would need to work around where funding would come from.”

Bobby hopes for another meeting with Mr Green after the conclusion of the inquests and publication of the IPCC report.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Minister has had a constructive private meeting with Mr Turnbull and members of the Gun Control Network.”

She added that the Home Office is working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to strengthen the guidance on firearms licensing, so intelligence about domestic violence is properly taken into account when police consider applications.