By Webteam - 13th March 2019 6:03am
The 13th of March 1996
Nobody in Britain heard the news about the morning of March 13th 1996 at Dunblane Primary School without being moved. Parents looked at their children and imagined the horror gone through by the families of the sixteen children gunned down that day, and of the teacher who died with them.
Just after 9.30 Gwen Mayor was taking a PE class with her five- and six-year-old pupils in the gym of Dunblane Primary school. A 43-year-old local man, Thomas Hamilton, walked into the building and in three bloody minutes shot dead the teacher and all but one of her class present that day. Another child was murdered beyond the gym as Hamilton shot at a mobile classroom in the playground, and at children and a teacher in a corridor. Children throughout the school, including the then eight-year-old Andrew Murray , were sheltering behind and beneath desks. Hamilton returned to the classroom and shot himself.
Hamilton, a failed shopkeeper and at one-time (very briefly) a scout-master, had four pistols and 743 rounds of ammunition on him, including some hollow-point bullets. He had been able to keep his legally-owned weapons in spite of major misgivings on the part of a police officer in the area who wrote a report suggesting his license should be revoked.
The motive for Hamilton's vile act is not totally clear, but his background tells a story. He had been sacked as a scout-master by the Scout Movement because of his unacceptable behaviour. He was 20 at the time. He repeatedly tried to be re-admitted to the organisation, but was rebuffed, so he set up his own boys' club. Parents became suspicious of him and his photographing of semi-naked boys. Hamilton believed he was being persecuted by the police and other authorities, and that this was also responsible for the failure of his business in 1993, and he was said to have become increasingly bitter. How that bitterness led him to the sick and evil act of March 13th 1996 is beyond comprehension.
Following the massacre the Cullen Report and the national outcry about the horror led to a major backlash against gun ownership, with severe restrictions brought in on the ownership of handguns.
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Following on from the award given to me in the Queens birthday honours list last year, I received an invite to the first Royal Garden Party of this season. As my guests I took my two elder granddaughters, Willow and Honesty, who both live in London now as that is where they study and work. My son, Jonathan, father to the girls, dropped us off at the main gates. We walked in presenting our...
Start of summer planting, it is such good fun -- you know you want to come down today and help out. Flags up.... Plants out for the Bride (and us!)Anyone free tomorrow -- we have Millennium bed planting needing your touch. And a little bit more besides. There will be coffee and chocolates.Many thanksSuzie...
All three pubs in the village will play an important part in the Festival.So that you can coordinate your drinking and listening to some of the great bands who are appearing at the Festival, please see below the schedule of performances at the Lord Combermere.Schedules for the Bridge Inn and the Shroppie Fly will follow over the next few days.The Lord Combermere..
Thursday 23rd May
Scout and Guide Hall
Aston Methodist Hall