Gun rampage survivor pays tribute to mother

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A teenager who escaped through a window as her mother was shot dead said yesterday that she would see her in heaven.

Laura McGoldrick, 19, was injured when her mother’s partner, Michael Atherton Snr, went on a shooting rampage at their home in Horden, Peterlee, Co Durham, killing her mother, Susan McGoldrick, 47, her aunt, Alison Turnbull, 44, and cousin, Tanya Turnbull, 24, on New Year’s Day.

Speaking yesterday, Miss McGoldrick said words could not describe how much she missed her mother.

She said: “As you can imagine, this week has been extremely traumatic and upsetting. Not only have I have suffered the loss of my fantastic mam and a lovely auntie and cousin, I have been involved in a very frightening situation.

“I would like to say a few words about my mam and what she meant to me.

“To my beautiful and gorgeous mam, I love you with everything I have got. Words cannot describe how much I miss you. See you in heaven.”

Miss McGoldrick, who was hit by the spray of shot aimed at her mother, added: “It is now extremely important to me that my family and I are left in peace to grieve our loss and to comfort one another.” Taxi driver Atherton, 42, was not depressed when he murdered the three women before turning the gun on himself, the detective leading the inquiry said.

On Thursday, after inquests were opened briefly, Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry said officers had spoken to Atherton’s GP and other health professionals and there was no indication he was suffering from any mental illness.”

Atherton carried out the killings with a shotgun – one of several firearms held legally – which is now being examined by ballistics experts.

Police believe the shootings were not pre-planned and were sparked by a “relatively trivial family argument”.