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  • 18 December 2013, 11:16

Patricia Cornwell Calls For US Gun Controls

Bestselling crime author Patricia Cornwell has called for more restrictions on guns in her native United States after a series of mass killings by teenagers.

The writer, whose series of novels featuring medical examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta has sold more than 100 million copies, told Sky News more action was needed  because of how "crazy" it had become.

She told the Adam Boulton show: "I think we need some kind of gun control in our country and it's extraordinary how crazy it's gotten."

When asked whether that would happen she said: "I think there's going to be some measures, because as this violence continues they are going to have to do something.

"But do I think you are going to get rid of guns in America? No."

Her views could raise eyebrows in the US where Cornwell has donated $130,000 (£80,000) to the Republican Party since 1998 and provided additional support to a number of right-wing politicians.

Earlier this year, the Republican-dominated Congress threw out measures drawn up by President Obama to impose background checks on gun owners, ban assault-style weapons and increase funding to improve young people's mental health.

It followed the shooting dead of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

Cornwell was in the UK to promote her latest book, a thriller again featuring Dr Scarpetta, about a murder investigation carried out in the aftermath of a mass killing.

She recently said it was becoming harder to write about psychopathic serial killers as the general public is becoming much more afraid of random attacks by gun-toting teenagers.

Asked whether her literary character Dr Scarpetta set a good example by using weapons, she said: "(Kay) is licensed (but) she wouldn't give (a gun) to a child as we've had recently in Connecticut where you think 'that's the way to give a child self-esteem, go teach them to fire an assault rifle'."

The author also revealed she was against the death penalty.

Cornwell was asked about her theories on the infamous Victorian period serial killer Jack the Ripper, who the author has claimed to have identified as 19th century artist Walter Sickert.

She said since identifying Sickert in 2002 as the killer of five women, she has used forensic scientists to examine letters written to police and newspapers by someone claiming to be the murderer.

They concluded that the author of the letters, written in 1888, and Sickert were the same person.

She told Sky News: "It's almost statistically impossible that it wasn't Sickert and Jack the Ripper who wrote these letters.

"There are two water marks on Jack the Ripper letters and three on Walter Sickert letters that are out of a batch of only 24 sheets of paper."

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