Five small coffins laid to rest in Dunblane

Motorists in Dunblane stepped out of their cars in a spontaneous gesture of sympathy and respect as the funeral cortege of one of the infant victims of Thomas Hamilton wound its way through the town.

The gesture came after the funeral of five-year-old David Kerr, at the town's Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family.

After the service, police halted traffic for the cortege to set out on its way to the cemetery.

David's was the first of five funerals being held yesterday; the task of burying all 17 victims of the schoolroom massacre will not be completed until tomorrow.

A joint funeral service was held later at Dunblane Cathedral for Melissa Currie and Charlotte Dunn. Melissa's family moved only recently to the town. Charlotte moved to Scotland with her family only six months ago from the West Midlands, and was enjoying school life with her new teacher Gwenne Mayor - who was to become another victim of the gunman.

The cathedral was also the venue for the funeral of Megan Turner. At least 500 mourners attended the service at which hymns included All Things Bright and Beautiful.

The funeral of Sophie North, from Bridgend, Dunblane, was held in private and no details were released.

The final funeral yesterday was that of Hannah Scott, again at the cathedral. About 300 mourners attended. When the service ended, the white coffin was carried out by four pall bearers, followed only by a funeral director carrying a large arrangement of yellow flowers. The family came out of the cathedral shortly afterwards and got into waiting cars.

Even as the bodies were being buried the body of Thomas Hamilton was "authorised" for release to his relatives. The Crown Office in Edinburgh confirmed that the procurator fiscal's office in Stirling had authorised the release of the body.

n Thomas Hamilton was cremated in secret yesterday far away from the city where he committed mass murder.

A statement from police spokesman Superintendent Louis Munn said: "I have been advised that the body of Thomas Watt Hamilton has been cremated well away from Dunblane ... His immediate family was in attendance. In an attempt to minimise further distress no more information will be provided."

Letters, page 14

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