A DAD was put before court on the back of a tougher line on firearms offences following the Horden gun killings.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court was told that in the past, defendant Lee Penman would have been warned or cautioned after police found six loose and 22 boxed gun cartridges in his kitchen in Rutland Walk, Peterlee, instead of a locked cabinet.
However, following the deaths of Susan McGoldrick, her sister Alison Turnbull and Alison’s daughter Tanya on New Year’s Day 2012, the bench was told breaches of firearm rules are now put before a court.
The women were killed by Susan’s partner Michael Atherton, who then turned the gun on himself.
Self-employed bricklayer Penman, 33, due to become a father for the second time next month, admitted failing to comply with conditions of his licence, which was last approved in 2009 and held for a total of 10 years.
Prosecutor Debra Jones said police visited his home on March 27 and found the ammunition, but were satisfied his guns were being kept locked.
She added: “He said he had returned from a shoot and had ammunition and put it on the kitchen table.
“He says he became lazy and complacent and said he realises this is a serious matter following on from what happened recently in this area.”
David Crank, mitigating, handed the bench references from Penman’s friends and family, spoke of his charity work and described leaving the ammunition out as an “admin error”.
Chairman of the bench Kathleen Ireland said: “We do consider the matter as so serious in the light of the recent tragic events in this area.
“We consider it a oversight and complacency and hope you will be far more conscientious in future.”
They agreed for the cartridges to be destroyed, gave him a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 costs.