‘Systemic failings’ led to death of family in home outside Chichester, sister says ahead of House of Commons meeting
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Emma Ambler has officially launched a charity in the memory of her twin sister Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and two nieces, Ava Needham, four, and two-year-old Lexi Needham, who died from gunshot wounds at their home in Woodmancote in March.
The Kelly Fitzgibbons Foundation intends to provide emotional, financial and legal advice to families who lose loved ones in traumatic circumstances.
It also calls for stricter gun licensing measures, following the tragedy in Emma’s family as well as the shooting in Plymouth in August 2021.
Emma said: “[There are] changes we would like to see being made and we have been linking up with the gun control network, Luke Pollard, [MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport] as well as meeting with Jess Phillips [Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding] and the police minister Kit Malthouse.”
In July, a coroner will examine how Robert Needham came to be in possession of a shotgun after he was found dead alongside his partner and children.
The current gun licensing procedure will also be looked at, as well as ‘any proposal for change’.
The next pre-inquest review hearing was due to take place this morning (Thursday).
Emma said the family ‘strongly believe this horrendous event could have been prevented’.
“These predominantly relate to gun licensing laws,” Emma added.
“If somebody had listened sooner, this could potentially have been prevented.
“We must ensure these perpetrators don’t have access to such deadly weapons and stop making things so easy for them.”
Among a number of measures, Emma has asked for: gun reviews to be carried out more frequently; full medical checks; agencies to work together closely and improve the sharing of information as well as to look at the thresholds for the removal of a gun.
The charity also urged those in power to ensure that gun licence reviews are carried out 'more frequently' and that GPs are aware if their patient possesses a gun, so it can be put on their health record.
Emma said an explanation should also be required by law when ‘upgrading’ a gun licence and, if necessary, a review carried out.
Emma added: “I believe there have been systemic failings and therefore wish to be instrumental in effecting change to ensure other families do not have to experience what we have and its repercussions.”
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