Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Gun killer's taxi vandalised


A taxi belonging to Peterlee killer Michael Atherton has been vandalised outside the home where he murdered three people then shot himself.

Police have begun an investigation into the criminal damage caused to Michael Atherton's cab, saying the incident has upset surviving family members.

Mr Atherton, 42, shot dead his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and her niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, on New Year's Day at his semi-detached home in Horden,Peterlee, County Durham.

A vandal sprayed paint thinner over the car and scratched abuse aimed towards the killer some time yesterday morning - the day funerals were held for the three murdered women.

The taxi was parked at the back of the couple's home at the time.

A Durham Police spokeswoman said: "This has caused extreme distress to Michael Atherton and Susan McGoldrick's relatives and active inquiries are under way to find those responsible."

Peterlee Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Coxon said: "The local community has been very supportive of all the victims' relatives so this additional distress is a matter of great concern.

"The only people being hurt by this are the surviving family members."

He appealed for anyone with information to ring 101.

Mr Atherton's funeral was to be held today.