Shadow Home Secretary backs massacre families’ gun law fight

Bobby Turnbull
Bobby Turnbull
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SHADOW Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is backing the family of victims of killer Michael Atherton in their fight to change gun licensing laws.

Ms Cooper said Atherton should never have been allowed to have the gun he used to murder three members of the same family.

On Wednesday, the politician met Bobby Turnbull, whose mother Alison Turnbull, 44, sister Tanya Turnbull, 24, and aunt Susan McGoldrick, 47, were killed by Atherton before he shot himself on New Year’s Day last year.

The killings came after Atherton, 42, was allowed a gun licence despite him having a history of domestic abuse, and police removing his guns in 2008, before they were returned.

Ms Cooper said: “It is clear that restricting the availability of guns to those with a history of domestic abuse and violence is needed.

“Atherton should never have been given a gun.

“What the Turnbull family have had to go through is harrowing and I pay tribute to them for taking this campaign forward.

“I will be working with them to make sure we can achieve something positive from this tragedy.

“Clearly, we need to ensure police forces are implementing best practice when it comes to gun control, but we also need to examine what changes are needed to the law to tighten it.

“Bobby Turnbull and his family deserve our support and we must do everything we can to prevent this happening to other families.” Mr Turnbull said Ms Cooper has agreed to carry forward recommendations made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the Horden shootings.

These include greater checks on gun applicants and a more robust system of recording of applicants’ details and medical records being kept.

Bobby, who travelled with his uncle, Robert Hardman, to the Houses of Parliament for the meeting, said Ms Cooper will draw up the changes before discussing them with him at a further meeting.

Bobby, 24, from East Street, Blackhall, said: “She wants to set the ball rolling in the Home Office and also said our campaign is fantastic and that it’s already having a huge impact on gun laws.”

Twitter: @craigjourno