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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Family argued before fatal New Year's Day shootings: UK police

Durham police continue their investigation into the deaths of four people on Sunday evening.

Police at the scene of the shootings at Peterlee, Durham on New Year's Day.
Police at the scene of the shootings at Peterlee, Durham on New Year's Day.
Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

UK POLICE investigating the deaths of four people in a shooting on New Year’s Day have released the names of the victims.

Michael Atherton, his partner Susan McGoldrick, her sister Alison Turnbull and Alison’s daughter Tanya Turnbull were all found dead at the house in Peterlee, Durham.

A post-mortem showed that the victims all died from gunshot wounds.

Durham police say that they believe that Atherton had an argument with McGoldrick on the evening of New Year’s Day after which he shot her and the other two women dead in the ground floor of the house. He then appears to have turned the gun on himself.

A 19-year-old woman, locally identified as McGoldrick’s daughter from a previous relationship, sustained gunshot wounds but managed to escape from the house and raise the alarm. She was treated for minor injuries and released from hospital on Monday morning.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry said that officers are still working to establish the events leading up to the deaths and are working with the victims’ families to establish a motive.

“It appears at this stage in the investigation that a family argument took place immediately prior to the shootings and we [are] determined to leave no stone unturned in our bid to find out exactly what happened on the evening of 1 January,” Goundry said.

Police have confirmed that the shotgun used in the killings was legally registered to Atherton.


Police temporarily confiscated weapons from Atherton amid concerns over his mental health in 2008, the Guardian reports. Durham police told the paper that although the weapons had been taken away, he later applied for their return and there had been no threat to harm himself.

Police have contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission because of their contact with Atherton at that time.

Four family members dead after Durham shooting >

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