On February 23rd, 2014, Christine and Lucy Lee were brutally murdered on their family farm. Someone was convicted, but now Stacey Banner, Christine's daughter, is looking for answers from the police.
In a chilling 911 call, Lucy Lee called police to let them know her mother had been shot. She knew exactly who had done it, too.
"He's just shot my mom! John Lowe!" Lucy screamed as she ran. The emergency line operator told her to run, but Lucy knew she couldn't just leave her mom alone.
“Please get here! I’m going to go back for him," she cried. "Bye. I don’t know if I’m going to be alive if I go back in there.”
And those were the last words she ever spoke. When police arrived, they found Christine Lee laying on the ground with fatal shotgun wounds to the head and back. Lying less than a foot away from her was Lucy, who had been shot in the chest. The four family dogs were also found murdered.
John Lowe, Lucy's husband, was arrested immediately when police arrived on scene. Lowe said it was all an accident, blaming his arthritis for him holding the gun incorrectly. He said the “ludicrous” way he held the gun caused it to go off three times.
However, Lowe slowly began changing his story.
"[The women] had to be put down, there was nothing else I could do," he told police. "I am not sorry. I am out of the problem. They are causing me problems every day."
As for the dogs, it seemed like Lowe felt more remorse for them than the women.
“I am sorry I put the dogs down but I couldn't leave them to anyone else to look after," he confessed to police.
John Lowe, 82 at the time, was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murders. During the trial, the prosecution commended Lucy Lee for her bravery, saying "Anyone involved in this case cannot fail to have been moved by the extraordinary courage shown by Lucy Lee.”
Stacey Banner, Christine's daughter and Lucy's sister, also had nothing but kind words for her late family members.
"Christine and Lucy put the needs of others first, my sister had a heart of gold and was full of life," Banner said. "Lucy believed in protecting life and being kind to others."
But despite Lowe's conviction and imprisonment, Banner believes there's another group of people at fault for the murder of her family members: the police.
Christina and Lucy were shot by a .410 caliber double-barreled shotgun, but Banner says he never should have had it. One year before the murders, Lowe had threatened to shoot Banner and she reported him to the police.
"He said he was going to blow my head off, so I ran - and I ran for my life," Banner says.
Police seized Lowe’s guns, but returned them four months before Christine and Lucy's murders. Banner says there was never a proper investigation or good reason to give Lowe his guns back.
“The police should never have given an 82-year-old man seven shotguns back," she says. "Why wasn't he mentally health checked? Why didn't they do their job?”
The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) conducted a report on the return of Lowe’s guns, and found there was “gross misconduct.”
A police spokeswoman said, “In 2014, the force commissioned two independent reports from Hampshire Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police which indicated the decision by firearms licensing officers to return weapons to John Lowe was flawed and did not meet national standards.Whilst the full investigation into this matter remains on-going, in light of these early findings we have spoken with members of Christine and Lucy Lee's family to apologize for this."
The staff in charge of returning Lowe's guns were ultimately dismissed.
A spokesperson for Stacey Banner said: "The IPCC recommendations in this shocking case include that the licensing team should liaise with officers investigating allegations against firearms license holders. In other words, the IPCC is recommending that licensing team staff do their job. It is a vindication for Stacy Banner that staff faced dismissal proceedings and one was sacked, and that both local and national recommendations have been made."
"It is devastating to see your worst fears confirmed in black and white about how those entrusted with the public safety can abuse and neglect their powers," Banner says. "But for the police's failings, my mum and sister would be here today."