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New Year's Day shooting survivor tells of heartache, one year on
A YOUNG man whose aunt, mother and sister were shot dead a year ago today (January 1) has seen in the New Year in London, after deciding it would have been too painful to spend the anniversary of the tragedy at home.
Taxi driver Michael Atherton gunned down his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, in Horden, east Durham, on January 1, 2012, before turning the weapon on himself.
Over the past 12 months, Bobby Turnbull has been struggling to come to terms with what happened, while also leading a campaign to tighten Britain’s gun laws.
But the 24-year-old golf course greenkeeper and his family decided it would be easier to spend the first anniversary away.
“It’s going to be hard over New Year but I tend not to think ahead and will just deal with it however I deal with it on the day,” he said.
“We are going to carry on the way the girls would want us to carry on.
“It’s going to be a break. I’m going to try to enjoy myself.
“I’ve had to try to move on with my life, accept what has happened and grieve.”
Mr Turnbull, of Blackhall Colliery, said the campaign had given him “something to focus on” and early this year he hopes to hold talks with Justice Minister Damian Green, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz.
“I want something good to come out of something bad that’s happened. If I can get even the slightest change in the gun laws then I may have saved a life. I’ll never know, but I’ll know that I’ve tried,” he said.
Atherton, 42, had a history of domestic violence and questions have been raised over how he got a gun.
Mr Turnbull’s petition calls for people with criminal convictions, a history of domestic violence, mental instability or alcohol or other substance misuse to be barred from owning firearms.
To view the petition, go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/41060
Mr Turnbull learned of the shootings through a telephone call from a friend, who told him: “Bobby, your mam has been shot”.