A man who shot himself after killing three women in Co Durham last night was a licensed holder of firearms, it emerged today.
The body of the man, named locally as taxi driver Michael Atherton, and those of the three women were found in close proximity downstairs in the semi-detached house in Greenside Avenue, Horden, Peterlee, after officers were alerted to shots being fired shortly before 11.45pm yesterday.
One of the dead women was named locally as Susan McGoldrick.
This morning at a press conference Assistant Chief Constable Michael Banks confirmed that a resident of the house held a firearms licence.
Police also confirmed that a teenage woman who suffered minor injuries escaped through an upstairs window, and there were other people in the house at the time who also survived, including a man who was initially arrested but later released without charge.
Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry said all the deceased were related.
He also revealed that police had had "minor contact" with the family in the past.