Police appeal after Horden killer’s car is attacked

Michael Atherton's vandalised car. Below, his victims Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull.
Michael Atherton's vandalised car. Below, his victims Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull.
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THE family of shooting victim Susan McGoldrick has been devastated by an attack on her killer’s car.

Michael Atherton, 42, shot dead his partner 47-year-old partner, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and her niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, on New Year’s Day at his home in Greenside Avenue, Horden, before shooting himself.

Victims of the New Year's Day shootings in Horden, from left, Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull.

Victims of the New Year's Day shootings in Horden, from left, Susan McGoldrick, Alison Turnbull and Tanya Turnbull.

Susan’s daughter Laura McGoldrick escaped from the house alongside her boyfriend and maternal half-brother Michael, 17.

Now Atherton’s car has been attacked by vandals in the back yard.

Paint stripper is believed to have been thrown over the car and insulting words carved into the paintwork on Wednesday when a funeral service was being held for Atherton’s victims.

Police say the attack has caused “extreme distress” to the families of both Susan and Atherton.

Peterlee community inspector Dave Coxon said: “The local community has been very supportive of all the victims’ relatives so this extra distress is a matter of great concern.

“The only people being hurt by this are the surviving family members.

“I would urge anybody with information about this vandalism to contact police at the earliest opportunity.”

Police are still investigating why Atherton opened fire on his family. The dad, who worked for Phillips taxis, was a gun club member and had been due to go shooting rabbits the day after he killed the three women.

Anyone who knows anything about Wednesday’s attack can ring 101 and ask for Pc Chris Woollett in the Peterlee neighbourhood team or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.