Tycoon who killed family was allowed to keep guns despite earlier death threats (Daily Telegraph)

Tycoon who killed family was allowed to keep guns despite earlier death threats 

By James Orr and Adrian Gatton
The Daily Telegraph
11 November 2011

A FAILED businessman who murdered his family before committing suicide was allowed to keep an arsenal of guns despite warnings to police that he had threatened to kill his accountant, leaked documents have shown.

Christopher Foster, 50, made a series of death threats against Tim Baker, 38, after the collapse of a property deal, but was able to retain two firearms certificates.

In 2008, he shot dead his wife and teenage daughter and burned down their £1.2million family home before dying from smoke inhalation.

Yesterday, it emerged that police have opened a new investigation after complaints that Foster should have had his firearms licences revoked, preventing him from legally holding the weapons he used to kill his family.

Anne Giddings, 60, Foster’s sister-in law, of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, told a TV producer researching the incident: “If his guns had been taken away then my sister and my niece would still be alive. The fact he was allowed to keep those guns is absolutely terrible.”

Foster had been beset with financial worries in the months leading up to the shooting at his family’s five-bedroom home, Osbaston House, near Oswestry, Shropshire, in August 2008.

He killed his wife, Jillian, 49, and daughter, Kirstie, 15, using a .22 rifle before burning down the house. He also shot dead the family’s three horses and four dogs.

His inquest heard that at the time of his death he had assets of £3.1million but debts of £4.4million, including three mortgages on Osbaston House.

Coroner John Ellery recorded a verdict of suicide for Foster and unlawful killing for his wife and daughter.

Leaked police interview transcripts seen by The Daily Telegraph showed that police were warned that he posed a danger as far back as 2006.

His accountant, Mr Baker, told West Mercia Police that Foster had made “several death threats” towards him after the failure of a property deal in Cyprus.

Foster held both a shotgun licence and a firearms licence and kept six shotguns, a single barrel .22 calibre rifle, and a .22 air rifle.

A spokesman from West Mercia Police said: “West Mercia Police can confirm there is a complaint under investigation which we received via the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”

See further coverage of this story was it was picked up in The Daily Mail, Shropshire Star and other papers.