The twin sister of a woman who was shot and killed with her two daughters says that after the latest shooting at Epsom College there can be no more delays to gun law reforms.
Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and her two daughters Ava and Lexi Needham, aged four and two, were killed by their father and Kelly’s partner Robert Needham with his legally-owned gun before he took his own life in March 2020.
The inquest into the tragedy, which took place in Woodmancote, East Sussex, found Needham had been awarded a gun licence despite Sussex Police discovering he had lied on his application form about periods of depression and a police caution he received as a youth.
Kelly’s twin sister Emma Ambler set up the Kelly Fitzgibbons Foundation in her memory, calling for reforms to gun laws, and was due to meet with the Home Office to campaign for these changes.
She believes that if Needham had been refused a gun licence, her sister and nieces would still be alive.
However, the meeting has been pushed back until “later in the spring” – and Mrs Ambler says delays can cost lives.
Ms Fitzgibbons’ sister spoke to the PA news agency days after the shooting of Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, her husband George Pattison and their seven-year-old daughter Lettie in Surrey on Sunday.
Mrs Ambler, 43, from Chichester in West Sussex, said: “We are meeting with the Home Office to discuss the changes we believe need to made in relation to gun licensing – a number of these we believe are very easy and could be made with immediate effect.
“At my sister’s inquest three separate police officers said reviews should be held annually, yet they aren’t because they aren’t resourced to do so.
“In which case, increase the licensing fee – which is currently cheaper than owning a fishing licence – so the costs are all covered at the applicant’s expense.
“We are fed up of bureaucracy getting in the way of conversations and actions and we are continually told to wait.
“Look what has happened in that time. If we keep waiting another family will lose their lives, and very tragically that has happened in Surrey (the Epsom College shooting).
“Now is the time to acknowledge the failings of the police and the government and make some changes before in another couple of months we are discussing another potentially horrendous tragedy.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said they would be in touch with the foundation “in due course” to finalise a meeting date.
The spokesman added: “The UK has some of the strictest gun controls in the world, which we keep under constant review to preserve public safety.
“Following the tragic incident in Plymouth in 2021, police forces in England, Scotland and Wales were asked to urgently review their firearms licensing practices, confirming that forces were adhering to the guidance for issuing and reviewing them.”
The Plymouth shooting in August 2021 saw 22-year-old Jake Davison shoot and kill five people and injure two others before turning the gun on himself.