Surrey

Farnham puppy farm murderer John Lowe 'was father figure'

John Lowe Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Dog breeder John Lowe told police officers he wanted the women put down

A woman whose mother and sister were gunned down by a puppy farmer has told jurors she once saw him as a father figure.

John Lowe was 82 when he murdered Christine Lee, 66, and Lucy Lee, 40, at Keepers Cottage Stud, Farnham, in 2014.

Ms Lee's daughter Stacy Banner told Surrey Coroner's Court Lowe had been kind to her family before turning "very controlling" and "nasty".

He died last August after being convicted of murder.

'Horrendous'

Giving evidence at an inquest into their deaths, Mrs Banner said the family first met Lowe in around 1986 when she was around 12 years old and they went to get her a puppy.

Her mother and Lowe "almost instantly" struck up a personal relationship even though he already had a long-term partner, Sue Wilson.

It led to an unconventional set-up where she, her mother and sister would live sporadically at Keepers Cottage for weeks or months at a time with Lowe and Ms Wilson.

Mrs Banner described her sister Lucy as her "protector", and incredibly kind, fearless and clever during their "horrendous" childhood.

Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Lucy Lee made a frantic 999 call before she was shot dead

Mrs Banner told the court that she went on to think of the "lovely" and straightforward Ms Wilson as a second mother.

She said her biological father had been a "violent monster" while Lowe was "much nicer and kinder".

Breaking down in tears, she added: "I loved him because he could be incredibly kind... He could be incredibly funny. I hate saying it.

"Yes, he hit us but it was not like what we experienced before."

Mrs Banner told the inquest she had limited contact with her mother from 2009 after a row.

Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy were murdered by John Lowe

By 2012 she was living in Aldershot with her husband and two children, and a chance meeting with Lowe ended with her going back to the property.

Mrs Banner helped to care for Ms Wilson, who died in March 2013.

"John was like a dad to me and Sue was like a second mum, so my motivation, as I saw it, was to help my parents," she said.

Mrs Banner also said she helped to care for the dogs who were living in dirty conditions.

The court heard that she told Lowe that he should not be dog breeding, as he had been banned and the puppies were not healthy.

She added: "He didn't care, he never cared. Everything was disposable to him."

After the criminal trial, it emerged the shotgun he used had been confiscated by police but handed back seven months before the murders.

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