Died 12th September 2014
Mary Shipstone (7) was shot by her father on 11th September 2014 outside her home in Spring Hill, Northiam, East Sussex. Mary was flown to King’s College hospital in London where she died of her injuries shortly before 3pm the next day.
Lyndsey Shipstone (42) Mary’s mother, had left her father Yasser Alromisse (46) due to his violence. She had been living with her at a secret address in Northiam, near Rye, in East Sussex.
Alromisse, who lived in Worthing, West Sussex, was found shot dead in his car shortly after the killing.
Neighbours said Alromisse was waiting in his car for his daughter and ex-partner as they walked home from nearby Beckley Church of England primary school at 4pm. Ms Shipstone screamed: “He’s got a gun” before Alromisse shot Mary twice in the head.
Armed police arrived at the scene within minutes and found Alromisse slumped inside his car with a self-inflicted bullet wound.
In a statement issued through Sussex Police, Ms Shipstone and her son Stephen said: “We are grieving the death of our beautiful and loving Mary.”
Beckley Primary School, where Mary was a pupil, said in a statement “This is a dreadfully sad and shocking incident and the whole school community are praying for her and her family.”
After the shooting, a neighbour, Denise Berwick said “All I heard was a lady shouting and then I looked out and she was cradling her child in her arms. I have never seen anything like that before. It’s an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to the girl and her family.”
The incident raises questions for Sussex police, whose officers had been in contact with Ms Shipstone in the weeks and months leading up to the killing. Ms Shipstone is understood to have told police she was concerned about a possible attack by her ex-partner, who officers knew had a history of domestic violence.
In 2013, Ms Shipstone was moved to a secret address in the quiet village with Mary and her older son, Stephen Shipstone (21) to escape Alromisse. He was involved in a custody battle for the children and was known to pose a threat to the family due to his history of domestic violence.
Egyptian-born Alromisse is thought to have discovered their address months before the shooting due to details on court papers. He was reportedly seen a week earlier staking out the area in his Toyota Rav 4 vehicle.
Ms Shipstone married Alromisse in Liverpool in 2005 after she converted to Islam. After they separated, Ms Shipstone lived with her children in Brighton between 2009 and 2011.
Investigators are waiting to take a full account from Ms Shipstone. The case is likely to face investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The Guardian reported that as at 15th September 2014 the IPCC had not yet received a referral from Sussex police.
The force declined to comment on any warnings it may have received about Alromisse. A spokesman said: “We’re investigating the circumstances of how Alromisse came to be at the house in Northiam. At this stage, we are still trying to confirm how he discovered the address.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “The untimely and tragic death of Mary Shipstone has no doubt had a profound effect on her family, the local community and everyone who knew her. In my role as PCC, I will be closely following the progress of the police investigation and the circumstances around Mary’s death.”
After the shooting, Detective Chief Inspector Jason Taylor said: “This is a fast-moving investigation and there are still a large amount of inquiries being carried out before we can confirm the full picture of what happened. We are currently trying to establish Mr Alromisse’s movements over the last few days and are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard from him. At this time however, I am not looking for anyone else in connection with this investigation and believe this to be an isolated incident.”
Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor, divisional commander for Sussex Police in East Sussex, said: “This was a tragic domestic incident that has had the most terrible of outcomes for the family. We are working with partner agencies and local leaders to support and reassure the community who are understandably upset about what has happened.
We are trying to be as open and honest with the public as we can but have to take into account the traumatic experience the family is going through as well as the fact that this is an ongoing investigation. If anyone has any concerns about the safety of their neighbourhood I would urge them to contact us but we are sure this was an isolated incident and that no one else is in any danger.”
Anyone with information about the incident should email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Oakfield, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the Argus and the Guardian.