Lake District killings reminiscent of previous massacres

The Lake District killings are reminiscent of previous massacres in Hungerford, Berkshire, and Dunblane, Scotland, which sent shockwaves through the local communities and the country as a whole.

On August 19 1987, loner and gun fanatic Michael Ryan went on a shooting rampage in Hungerford.

Armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and at least one hand grenade he shot 16 people dead, including his mother, before killing himself.

His victims included a police officer who tried to tackle him. At least another 15 people were also injured.

His first victim was a woman who was picnicking with her two children in Savernake Forest, 10 miles from the Berkshire town.

Less than 10 minutes later, firefighters were called to a house in Hungerford where they found the body of Ryan's mother.

Ryan, dressed in combat gear, then made his way, shooting at people as he went on foot, to the town's main shopping area where he indiscriminately shot and killed 12 people.

He then managed to evade a massive manhunt by armed police and helicopters until he was tracked down to the empty John O'Gaunt Community Technology College where he barricaded himself in.

Negotiators made contact with Ryan after he had fired at circling helicopters.

At one point Ryan waved an unpinned grenade at police through a window.

He is reported to have told negotiators: "Hungerford must be a bit of a mess. I wish I had stayed in bed."

The body of the 27-year-old, who had shot himself, was later found inside.

Ryan was described by the press as a gun fanatic who had an "unhealthy" relationship with his mother.

The incident led to tighter restrictions on gun ownership with the introduction of the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 but critics said the legislation did not go far enough.

On March 13 1996, former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton entered the gymnasium at Dunblane Primary School and opened fire on a class of five and six year olds, killing 16 children and their teacher.

In a shooting spree which lasted less than three minutes, Hamilton, who was armed with two pistols and two revolvers, fired a total of 109 rounds.

A public inquiry into the Dunblane massacre found that Hamilton, a former shopkeeper, had been investigated by police following complaints about his behaviour towards young boys.

The incident led to further tightening of gun controls with a ban on owning handguns.

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