The mother of a girl shot twice in the head by her father on the doorstep of a Sussex safe house told an inquest the killing was an “act of revenge”.
Seven-year-old Mary Shipstone was attacked in the village of Northiam. She died the next day.
Her mother, Lyndsey Shipstone, said: “I started screaming she’d been shot. She was breathing. Her jaw was clenched.”
Ms Shipstone said of her estranged husband Yasser Alromisse: “I was the one he hated the most.”
The joint Hastings inquest followed the deaths of both Mary and her 46-year-old father, who turned the gun on himself after the shooting on 11 September last year.
Ms Shipstone said: “Why did he kill Mary? I don’t think I will ever really know that.
“He wanted to kill himself and for some reason he thought she shouldn’t live without him.
“It was an act of revenge really. It has got to be.
“If he really loved her, he never would have murdered her.”
Ms Shipstone had moved to Northiam with her daughter following separation from her husband after being the victim of domestic violence.
The attack happened as Mary returned home from school with her mother to Spring Hill, a safe house where the pair had lived for the past year.
Ms Shipstone did not want to be traced by Alromisse.
But the inquest heard how he hired private detective Paul Parton in a bid to find the woman he was still legally married to, purporting to be a friend of hers.
Mr Parton was unable to find Ms Shipstone and later withdrew his services, concerned that Alromisse’s motive was to take away the child.
East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said it was not clear how Alromisse found the address, but he described the murder as a “thoroughly despicable act of violence”.
‘Hidden in car’
The coroner also said the shooting was not in any way spontaneous, but premeditated over a long period of time.
Alromisse was hidden in the back of a silver Toyota on the drive by the house when he fired the shots.
The car windows were tinted and he had created a blind from bin bags to shield himself.
Later, his body was found in a pool of blood in the back of the car, where he shot himself in the head.
The coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for Mary and suicide for Alromisse.