Wednesday 28 September 2016

Dunblane 20 years on: School headmaster still 'racked by guilt' after massacre

Ron Taylor was the first to witness the aftermath of the mass shooting at Dunblane Primary School on March 13, 1996

Camilla Turner

Published 05/03/2016 | 14:49

File photo 17/ 03/ 1996. It has been 10 years since Thomas Hamilton armed himself, walked into Dunblane Primary School and shot dead 16 children and their teacher. Photo: PA
File photo 17/ 03/ 1996. It has been 10 years since Thomas Hamilton armed himself, walked into Dunblane Primary School and shot dead 16 children and their teacher. Photo: PA

The headmaster of Dunblane Primary School has said he is still “racked by guilt”, 20 years on from the massacre.

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Ron Taylor was the first to witness the aftermath of the carnage on March 13, 1996 when sacked scoutmaster Thomas Hamilton opened fire, killing 16 children and a teacher.

Speaking for the first time about the shootings, he said: “It was unimaginably horrible to see children dying in front of you. I felt enormous guilt – more than a survivor’s guilt. It was my school, I felt violated.”

Mr Taylor, who was tasked with identifying the bodies following the shooting, recalled the moment he entered the school’s gym which had become a scene of mass murder.

“Hamilton was lying, still twitching. There was an incredible silence," he told The Mirror.

"The air was thick with smoke. And there was a group of children standing. The first thing we were able to do was to get them out of there. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was unimaginably horrible.

“To see children dying in front of you. Seeing the staff tending to the injured, seeing the bodies of those who had died. Just at that moment the enormity of the event hit me – that moment has never left me. Dunblane was a tragedy for everyone involved.”

Mr Taylor said he continued to feel guilty long after the event. “There is no way we could have adequately prepared for what happened,” he said. “But I felt I should have been able to do more and that guilt lives with me.”

He said going back to confirm the identities of children at the request of the police was “particularly difficult” because he did not know many of them, so had to bring other staff members with.

“So I had to take with me, into the gym, previous members of staff who did know them and we had to begin the awful process of confirming the identities of the kids lying there,” he said.

Telegraph.co.uk

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