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16 January 2012, 11:44
A teenager who escaped through a window as her step dad shot dead three of her family members in Horden near Peterlee, says gun laws need to be stricter
19 year old Laura McGoldrick, as hurt as Michael Atherton went on a shooting rampage at their home, killing her mother, 47 year old Susan McGoldrick, her 44 year old aunt, Alison Turnbull, and cousin, 24 year old Tanya Turnbull, on New Year's Day.
In an interview with The Sun, Miss McGoldrick relived the moment she tried to shout a warning to her mum but was unable to get the words out in time.
The teenager, who was hit by the spray of shot aimed at her mum, said:
'He walked into the house with the gun raised, aiming it at my mum's back.
He had this focused, determined look as if he was about to shoot a rabbit or a pheasant. He definitely targeted my mum, he wanted her first.
I wanted to get words out but my mouth wouldn't let me. It was like a nasty dream."
42 year old Atherton, turned the gun on himself following the attack.
It was one of several firearms he held legally.
During the attack, Miss McGoldrick managed to escape with her boyfriend 19 year old Myren Grant, through her bedroom window.
Her stepbrother Michael, the 17-year-old son of Atherton and Mrs McGoldrick, also escaped.
Miss McGoldrick also called for a change in gun laws to stop similar incidents occurring. she told The Sun,
'There is no need to have guns in your house. And people's backgrounds should be checked better'.
Durham Police said officers were called to the home of Atherton four times between 2002 and 2004 over domestic violence incidents.
The force said he had "a volatile relationship'' with his partner.