Man accidentally shot girl, then killed himself

A teenage girl was shot dead in a remote cottage by her boyfriend accidentally before he ran outside and killed himself, it emerged yesterday.

Sophie Taylor, 16, is thought to have been making dinner while the trainee gamekeeper Calum Murray, 18, was cleaning his shotgun when the weapon went off, killing her.

Two friends of the couple are understood to have been in the cottage at the time and chased Mr Murray when he fled outside with his gun, but were too late to stop him shooting himself dead.

Det Insp Stewart Mackie refused to comment on the sequence of events except to say: "We're continuing to build a timeline of events and until that is complete it would be inappropriate to comment further." Grampian Police are investigating the double shooting that took place on Tuesday evening in a cottage on the Glenavon estate near Tomintoul in Moray and are not thought to be looking for anyone else. The shotgun was legally registered.

Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said shotguns are an everyday part of life for gamekeepers but that they have to follow strict conditions to get a licence. He said one of the "most fundamental rules of safety" is that loaded guns are never taken inside houses or vehicles.

The teenage girl's parents, David and Katie, and 18-year-old brother David, spoke in a statement of their shock at losing her "so prematurely". She was in her fourth year at Speyside High School in Aberlour and due to sit her Standard Grade exams.

Mr Murray's family said: "He loved the outdoors, walking with his dogs in the hills and had shown a real flair and desire to progress with his gamekeeping."