Father who killed family in lockdown ‘lied on shotgun

A father who killed his companion and young youngsters during the initial Covid lockdown lied on his shotgun application kind, an inquest has been advised.

It listened to Robert Needham did not disclose a law enforcement caution and his heritage of mental wellness challenges when implementing for a licence that was granted.

He shot and killed 40-12 months-outdated Kelly Fitzgibbons, and daughters Ava and Lexi Needham, aged four and two, at their dwelling in West Sussex soon immediately after England went into its very first lockdown.

An inquest in Horsham read the 42-12 months-previous utilised a shotgun on his spouse and children right before turning the gun on himself.

Needham introduced the gun 9 days right before the shooting at the spouse and children property in Woodmancote on 29 March 2020.

He was very first granted a shotgun licence in 2016 by Sussex Police, right after moving to the area adhering to an original application to Hampshire Police.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Lecointe, from Hampshire Law enforcement, instructed the inquest Needham did not declare any law enforcement cautions or convictions, or any related professional medical problems together with depression, stress and anxiety and suicidal thoughts, in his software type.

During the application method, a firearms enquiry officer visited Needham to complete a face-to-face interview at his household and mentioned law enforcement would verify its databases and converse to Needham‘s GP to assess his suitability to individual a firearm.

At that stage, Needham admitted he had not disclosed a law enforcement warning he received aged 25 due to his involvement in a bicycle theft. When asked why he did not disclose it on the form, he stated he did not imagine it was applicable.

Kelly Fitzgibbons, Ava Needham, and Lexi Needham were being shot dead by Robert Needham in March 2020(Family members handout/PA)

(PA Media)

Needham also explained it was his associate Fitzgibbons who crammed out the form for the reason that “he didn’t publish well” and she did not know about the warning so could not incorporate it.

During the inquest, Ms Fitzgibbons’ sister Emma Ambler stated she experienced found the form and is specified it was penned in Needham‘s handwriting.

Needham also admitted he had been treated for despair as a teen in the 1990s and visited his GP in 2013 thanks to place of work worry. When requested why he did not disclose it on the kind, Needham reported the cure was a prolonged time back and therefore did not consider it was pertinent.

Hampshire Police was despatched a letter from Needham’s GP confirming this – and also revealing the father-of-two was addressed for depression one more time in 2003.

Despite this, Needham was nonetheless granted a shotgun certification in 2016 by Sussex Police, getting gained particulars of the investigation from Hampshire Law enforcement.

When asked how widespread it was for individuals to be dishonest on the software kind, Main Inspector Lecointe said: “It’s not very prevalent but it does happen.”

He mentioned officers contemplate no matter whether the applicant intended to “deliberately” deceive or just felt the details was not applicable.

Chief Inspector Simon Starns of Sussex and Surrey Police, who has headed the firearms section because 2019, told the inquest Needham‘s software in 2016 and his subsequent renewal of the shotgun licence and application for a firearm licence in 2017 “would not have been permitted today”.

This is since Needham’s GP surgery was not able to remark on his suitability – which has been a prerequisite since 2020.

The inquest read a tribute from Fitzgibbon’s twin sister before this 7 days, who termed her reduction “incomprehensible”.

“She truly was one particular in a million and I acquire consolation in the fact that she was by my side as my sister and my best mate for 40 years,” Emma Ambler’s statement – browse out by the assistant coroner – claimed.

She also paid out tribute to her nieces Ava, who she explained as “beautiful and angelic”, and Lexi, who was “cheeky” and experienced the “signature Fitzgibbons curly hair”.

The inquest carries on on Friday.

Additional reporting by Push Affiliation

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