`I saw gunman kill my friends'

DEATH IN DUNBLANE
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The Independent Online
A schoolboy last night told his father how he watched his teacher and classmates die in front of him.

Stewart Weir, who was hit in the leg as the gunman burst into his school's gym and opened fire, was recovering in hospital, said his father, Robert.

"Stewart was in the gym at the time and he thought the gunman was shooting at him.

"He got hit in the leg so he took a run and just hid with another wee girl. It is lucky the man turned the gun on himself before he got the rest of the kids. He knows they have been shot but I don't think he really knows the extent of the damage yet."

Steven Hopper, a pupil in another class, relived the moment when he dived under his desk for cover as the gunman turned his weapon on the classroom. As he left the school with his parents, 11-year-old Steven said his classroom, a converted hut, was only yards from the gymnasium when the massacre began.

"It was right next to my classroom. I looked over and saw the gunman. He seemed to come out of the gymnasium and he was just firing at something. He was coming towards me, so I just dived under my desk when he turned and fired at us. The firing was very fast, like someone hitting a hammer quickly. Then there was a few seconds of a pause and he started again.

"It was pretty scary when he started firing at our classroom window because all the glass smashed in and I got hit by a piece," the youngster said.

John McEwan, 49, who co-ordinated the ambulance operation at the school, said: "It was like a scene out of a medieval hell torture chamber.

"I saw the gunman lying there with his head blown off and a handgun by his side. For the first time in my life I had this overwhelming desire to mutilate that corpse - I know that sounds terrible. I had to really force myself not to kick him as I walked by."

Mr McEwan, who was also the officer in charge at the Lockerbie air disaster, told how the horror would leave him and his crews mentally scarred for life.

"The crews came out stunned at what they had seen.

"We have an emergency plan which swings into operation but no one was prepared for anything like this. I know it is going to take my crews a very long time to get over what they've seen - if at all.John added: "What will stick with me for a long time is the look of terror on the face of a 5-year-old child who had a bullet hole through their arm and couldn't comprehend what had happened. It was just terrible to see his wee face. The crews returned with everyone unable to believe what had happened."

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