A seven-year-old girl who was looking forward to opening presents on her birthday died after being shot by her estranged father.
On September 11, 2014, Mary Shipstone, of Spring Hill, Northiam, was returning home from Beckley Primary School in Rye, with her mother Lyndsey Shipstone.
But the little girl, described as ‘full of life’, was never able to practise her new violin, or enjoy her freshly decorated bedroom.
Mary’s father, 46-year-old Yasser Alromisse, of Broomfield Avenue, Worthing, shot her in the head from the back seat of a silver Toyota, which he had parked on the driveway, before turning the gun on himself.
At an inquest into their deaths, held at Hastings Magistrates’ Court today (September 4) Lyndsey Shipstone described how her estranged husband left her ‘bereft of a daughter’, while the family believed they were being protected in a safe house.
“He wanted to kill himself and for some reason he did not want her to live without him,” Ms Shipstone told the inquest.
“We walked to the door and I put my key in the door. I was saying she would like what I had done to her room and that was the last thing I said to her.
“Then there was a terrific sound behind me.
“It sounded like someone had burst a balloon directly behind my head. I turned around and I saw Mary on the ground and her legs had crumpled.
“I saw his face. He was in the back seat of the car. I could see his face and his arm extended and he was holding a black gun.”
Mr Yasser was later found by police ‘slumped’ in the back of the hired car with a hand gun on the floor and bin liners covering the windows.
The couple met through a website in 2005, and got married a month later.
But their relationship began to deteriorate when Ms Shipstone told Mr Alromisse she was pregnant.
“He wasn’t very keen when he found out that he was to become a father,” Ms Shipstone told the inquest.
Ms Shipstone, who converted to Islam, said he moved out when Mary was three weeks old but became emotionally and physically abusive.
“He felt like Mary was his property. He still wanted to control my life.
“He felt he had the right to tell me how to live, how to dress and who to see. I was deluded at the time. I believed all he needed was anger management.”
Ms Shipstone said she had even visited his family in Egypt in 2011, in a ‘final attempt’ to save their marriage.
But she escaped from the country after reporting Mr Alromisses’ family hid her and Mary’s passports.
The inquest heard Mr Alromisse, who suffered depression, had asked his friend Adel Alraiashy at the mosque, if he knew where he could buy bullets.
Mr Alromisse told Mr Alraiashy he loved his daughter so much she was ‘part of his heart’, but hated his wife – who he battling for custody of Mary.
Mr Alromisse hired a car from Enterprise Rent a Car from Worthing, on September 11, demanding tinted windows.
He also paid a private investigator in May to track down Mary and her mother, but the former police officer became suspicious of his motive.
A statement by private investigator Paul Parton said: “I was fearful that he was trying to locate the family with the intention of taking the daughter away from her mother.
“I made a decision I would not do any further work for him.”
Returning a conclusion of unlawful killing, coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze described Mary’s death as ‘tragic’.
He said: “There never was any doubt from the start what the inquest verdict would be.”
Paramedics, neighbours and police officers attempted to save Mary’s life but she was taken to hospital in London where she died the following day.
Mr Craze said Yasser Alromisse took his own life, adding: “In a suicide verdict I sometimes consider adding ‘while the balance of his mind was disturbed’, but I do not consider it to be appropriate in this case.”
The coroner said he believed social services and police could not have done any more to help the family, and praised the courage of the emergency services.
Mr Craze said he thought Mr Yasser believed if he couldn’t have custody of Mary, ‘no one else could’.
Ms Shipstone said: “He had the opportunity to shoot me as well.
“I was the one he supposedly hated the most. He has left me bereft of a daughter.
“It is an act of revenge, it has got to be. If he really loved her he would never have inflicted that on her.”
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