Father of British 11-year-old girl shot dead ‘by her neighbour’ is still unaware she has


The father of a British girl allegedly shot dead by her neighbour while playing in her garden is still unaware that she has been killed, we can reveal.

Adrian Thornton was put in an induced coma after allegedly being shot in the head by Dirk Raats, 71. The bullet lodged in the 52-year-old’s brain and surgeons have been left unable to operate.

Adrian’s family say he has now regained consciousness but his family fear telling him the devastating news that daughter Solaine, 11, is dead will impact on his recovery.

They say he has some small movement his arms and legs and has spoken a few words.

‘Adrian has been out of a coma for a few days now,’ said a relative.

Adrian Thornton (pictured) was put in an induced coma after allegedly being shot in the head by Dirk Raats, 71. The bullet lodged in the 52-year-old's brain and surgeons have been left unable to operate

Adrian Thornton (pictured) was put in an induced coma after allegedly being shot in the head by Dirk Raats, 71. The bullet lodged in the 52-year-old’s brain and surgeons have been left unable to operate

Adrian's family say he has now regained consciousness but his family fear telling him the devastating news that daughter Solaine, 11, (pictured with her mother Rachael) is dead will impact on his recovery

Adrian’s family say he has now regained consciousness but his family fear telling him the devastating news that daughter Solaine, 11, (pictured with her mother Rachael) is dead will impact on his recovery

‘He still doesn’t know that Solaine is dead. His family over there haven’t told him because he is not well enough.

‘How is he going to cope with being told Solaine is gone? How do you cope with knowing you’ve lost your daughter? They will have to be careful to pick the right time but how do you tell someone such awful news?’

Solaine was allegedly gunned down while her family enjoyed a barbecue at their home, in the sleepy French hamlet of Saint-Herbot, Brittany, earlier this month.

Her parents Adrian and Rachael, 49, were also shot in the attack.

Rachael underwent surgery to remove bullets from her neck and back.

The pair met at college in Oldham, Greater Manchester, before moving to France around 15 years ago.

Solaine was allegedly gunned down while her family enjoyed a barbecue at their home in the sleepy French hamlet of Saint-Herbot, Brittany, earlier this month

Solaine was allegedly gunned down while her family enjoyed a barbecue at their home in the sleepy French hamlet of Saint-Herbot, Brittany, earlier this month 

The source added: ‘Although Adrian is out of his induced coma, he is still very poorly.

‘He is on a drug-management programme to help with the pain.

‘It is a really horrendous situation and a real struggle for everyone.

‘Rachael is absolutely distraught but has to be strong for her Solaine’s sister, Celeste.

‘It is horrendous that one person can cause all this devastation.’

Rachael’s sister Rosalind, son-in-law Neil and Adrian’s father, Irvin, and sister, Kylie, flew to France to offer support.

Grandma Christine Rhodes – known as Grams to her granddaughters – previously paid tribute to Solaine.

Dirk Raats (left), 71, was formally charged with the murder of Solaine Thornton and the attempted murders of Adrian and Rachael Thornton

Dirk Raats (left), 71, was formally charged with the murder of Solaine Thornton and the attempted murders of Adrian and Rachael Thornton

She said: ‘Solaine was such a sweet girl.

‘The last time I spoke to Solaine, she told me that she had been writing for her school newspaper and she was so upset.

‘She said “Grams, I have written in the newspaper about a girl who was 13-year-old and had been bullied and she took her own life” and then she was dead that night.

‘She was a special little girl. She loved everybody.

‘She loved everyone. She loved her animals and didn’t have a bad bone in her body.

‘She had lovely big eyes and skipped about.

Grandma Christine Rhodes – known as Grams to her granddaughters – previously paid tribute to Solaine. She said: 'Solaine was such a sweet girl. The last time I spoke to Solaine, she told me that she had been writing for her school newspaper and she was so upset'

Grandma Christine Rhodes – known as Grams to her granddaughters – previously paid tribute to Solaine. She said: ‘Solaine was such a sweet girl. The last time I spoke to Solaine, she told me that she had been writing for her school newspaper and she was so upset’

Tributes left for Solaine. A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of Solaine's family to help raise money for her funeral

Tributes left for Solaine. A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of Solaine’s family to help raise money for her funeral

‘She was so loving. She would just come up and hug you and she would speak to me on the telephone and tell me all sort of tales about her animals.

‘We have lost Solaine. It is absolutely horrendous.’

Christine said the family had booked a trip to the UK for next month, and the girls were excited about travelling to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Christine added: ‘They were so looking forward to it.’

A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of Solaine’s family to help raise money for her funeral.



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