Europe

Monday 28 July 2014

Dunblane massacre: ‘I was driving there, thinking I might not see my children again’

Ella Alexander

Published 18/06/2014|09:54

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, with his parents Judy and Will pose with his long time girlfriend Kim Sears ahead of receiving his OBE

Judy Murray has described how narrowly her sons, Andy and Jamie, escaped death during the Dunblane massacre on 13 March 1996.

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Gunman Thomas Hamilton broke into the primary school gymnasium armed with four handguns and 700 rounds of ammunition and began shooting at a class of four and five-year-olds. Sixteen children were murdered along with their teacher.

Andy Murray’s class had been on their way to the gym when the assailant broke in. Someone heard a noise and went to investigate. The children were told to go to the headmaster and deputy headmaster’s studies instead. The Wimbledon champion was eight at the time.

“They were told to sit down below the windows and they were singing songs,” Judy Murray recalled.

“The teachers and dinner ladies did an amazing job, containing all these children, feeding them, and getting them out without them being aware of what had happened. I don’t know how they managed it.”

The tennis coach was with her mother in the toy shop that she ran in the town when she heard that there had been a shooting in the school.

“I picked up my car keys – didn’t take my bag or jacket or anything – and just ran out,” she told the Radio Times.

“I was driving there, thinking I might not see my children again.”

When she arrived at the school, she was met with a “shocked, quiet” from other parents who were waiting outside the gates. Murray remembers the relief and guilt she felt when she was finally told that her sons were safe.

“I don’t know if I have survivor’s guilt, but I had an awful moment then when I was so relieved it wasn’t my kids,” she said. “And then feeling terrible.”

She told her young sons what had happened on the way home in the car.

“It turned out they knew the guy,” she said. “They had been to the boys’ clubs he ran locally at the high school. I knew him, too – I’d given him lifts from the boys’ clubs to the station. He was a bit of an odd bod, but I wouldn’t have thought he was dangerous. So he’d been in my car.”

Last year, the tennis player broke down in tears after being asked to recall his memories of the Dunblane shooting for a BBC documentary.

“You have no idea how tough something like that is,” he said. “It wasn't until a few years ago that I started to actually research it and look into it.”

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