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A timeline of domestic abuse
Michael Atherton and Susan McGoldrick began what was described as a turbulent relationship in the early 1990s.
Police records recorded five instances of involvement by Durham Police, while health records showed Ms McGoldrick had visited her GP or accident and emergency 17 times for domestic violence-related incidents.
July 14, 2002: Police were called out following a domestic argument in which Susan threw a plate at Atherton, who in turn threatened her. He was arrested for breach of the peace and released without action.
April 22, 2003: A friend called police saying Ms McGoldrick had been thrown down the stairs and had hurt her leg. When officers arrived Ms McGoldrick, was adamant she had fallen accidentally. Both she and Atherton were intoxicated. Officer noted she had low self-esteem which was a “classic example of emotional abuse”.
August 31, 2003: Police were called after Ms McGoldrick was locked out of the house following an argument at the local rugby club, where Atherton assaulted Ms McGoldrick. She fell hurting her elbow. Atherton was arrested for common assault, but Ms McGoldrick refused to provide a witness statement.
April 24, 2004: Atherton was arrested after Ms McGoldrick told police he had torn out clumps of her hair and repeatedly hit her in the ribs. Atherton was arrested for common assault and accepted a caution. This was flagged up when he applied for his first shotgun licence in 2006.
September 10, 2008: After an incident involving family members, Ms McGoldrick calls police saying Atherton had threatened to “blow his head off”.
When firearms officers attended they found Atherton asleep in the bedroom. He denied making the threat. He was arrested and all of his firearms were seized and one of his licences. The Firearms Licensing Unit was alerted.
But weeks later his guns were returned with a final warning that any “irresponsible, irrational or uncontrollable behaviour” would lead him to losing his firearms licence.