UK: Gun amnesty underway after women and daughter shot dead by ex-partner in murder-suicide

16 April 2010

A gun amnesty has been extended after it began in response to a shooting which left three people dead. Andrew Copland shot his ex-partner Julie Harrison and their four-year-old daughter Maisie before killing himself in Aldershot on 29 December 2009, an inquest ruled.

The amnesty in north-east Hampshire has so far seen 57 firearms and 985 rounds of ammunition handed in. It has been extended until Sunday 25 April 2010 for people to hand in unwanted or illegal firearms at nine police stations.

Police said there had been concerns in the community following the deaths.
An inquest heard Mr Copland had found the gun he used in the killings last December while he was a builder in 1998.

Chief Superintendent Mark Chatterton said: "We launched this amnesty in response to community concerns about gun ownership and a lack of knowledge about handing firearms in and we have seen a really good response so far.

"As we anticipated, a large number of the weapons handed in so far are BB guns or imitation firearms.

"I would urge anyone who has a firearm or ammunition that they shouldn't have to take advantage of these extra few days and hand it in."

A statement from the families of Ms Harrison and Maisie said: "At some point this gun ended up in a skip and was found and kept at the house instead of being handed in and properly disposed of.

"We don't know why this didn't happen, but for the next two weeks the police are giving people who may be in the same position the opportunity to hand firearms and ammunition in to the police and walk away.

"If anything good comes out of this, it would be that nobody else would lose loved ones in this way."

Ch Supt Mark Chatterton said: "We don't know why Andrew Copland didn't hand the gun into the police, but we do know that since this tragedy, many people within the community have told us they are unaware of the laws surrounding gun ownership.

"We don't need to know how or why you have come into possession of the firearm or ammunition, we just want you to hand it in."

Originally published by the BBC on 14 April 2010