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A father from West Sussex who shot and killed his wife and daughters during the Covid lockdown in 2020 made a final family FaceTime two hours before murdering his family. A recent inquest into the tragic case revealed that 42-year-old Robert James Needham had takeaway food delivered to their home on the first Saturday night of the lockdown. Both parents and the children participated in the family FaceTime before the girls were sent off to bed.

According to The Sun, Needham shot his daughters while they laid in bed asleep and then shot his wife, Kelly Fitzgibbons at close range before taking his own life using his licensed and legally owned shotgun.

Fitzgibbon’s uncle, Ronal Peacock discovered the bodies in the home located in the remote village of Woodmancote. “The TV was on and I could see blood on the pillows. I could tell they were both dead.”

“I realized I could see Ava’s head on the bed, under the duvet. Both girls laying side by side in the bed. I could see Kelly on the floor, near the door,” Peacock said at the hearing.

He had gone to the family home after hearing from Needham’s mother and had to climb through an open window to get into the couple’s bedroom. He found Needham lying in the hallway with the 3-foot barrel shotgun pointed at his head along with the family’s dog Billy who was also found dead. Peacock called 999 but none of the family members were able to survive their injuries. Fitzgibbons suffered shotgun injuries to the head, and neck as well as a wound on her arm which medics described as a defensive injury.

While no specific information can be obtained as to why Needham killed his family, reports state that he was previously treated for depression in 2003 and 2013. He is also known to have indulged in cocaine abuse in the months before the Covid lockdown was imposed. Incidentally, reports also stated he attempted to purchase cocaine just days before the bloodbath although Forensic toxicologist Dr. John Slaughter told the inquest that the father was not under the influence of cocaine or alcohol at the time of the killings.

However, he may have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms as family and friends said they have no knowledge of any tension between the couple. Although some texts revealed marital tensions there were no real indications to suggest any hint of violence that could have resulted in Needham’s actions.

Despite the father’s struggle with depression and cocaine use, he was able to acquire a license for the shotgun despite being caught lying about his condition on the application form. Coroner Bridget Dolan said Needham’s lies would not have really affected his application and would have still been granted a license.

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