Some of the strictest gun laws in the western world, and 4 people get capped in one house.
A taxi driver who shot dead three relatives before killing himself had his guns confiscated by police three years ago after threatening to commit suicide but was then given them back, it has emerged.
Michael Atherton, 42, successfully applied to have the six guns â€“ three shotguns and three more powerful weapons â€“ returned to him after convincing police he was not a danger.
Yesterday, as MPs joined calls for a change in the gun laws, Atherton, who shot dead his long-term partner, her sister and her niece, was described by a close friend as â€œhot headedâ€ and prone to bouts of depression.
It emerged that the keen hunter and fisherman had the guns removed from his home in Horden, Co Durham, in 2008 after his family raised concerns about his mental health.
Police said that he later insisted to them there had been no threat to harm himself, and so the weapons were returned.
A spokesman said: â€œIt was one person’s word against another. If there was no grounds for applying for the revocation of a firearms licence the guns would be returned to the firearms licence holder.”
He said the decision followed national procedure, but MPs yesterday called for that procedure to be changed.
Let me say this simply, people are unpredictable and no law can stop that. The harder you try, the more spectacularly you fail.