Dunblane massacre: Survivor Amie Adams still fears popping balloons 20 years after shooting

Woman opens up about atrocity, two decades on

Matt Payton
Monday 07 March 2016 14:47
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Dunblane survivor speaks out

A survivor of the Dunblane massacre has opened up about the continued impact of the tragedy after 20 years - and how she still fears popping balloons.

Amie Adams was five years old when the shooting started during a PE lesson in her primary school's gymnasium.

She was shot twice in in the right buttock and right thigh before she was told by her PE teacher, Eileen Harrild, to crawl and hide in a cupboard.

Now 25, she told ITV's Good Morning Britain about her experiences of 13 March 1996.

Teacher Gwen Mayor and 16 of her classmates were shot dead by former scout master Thomas Hamilton before he turned the gun on himself.

And the nursing student told the show: "[Mrs Harrild] told me to crawl into the gym cupboard. I don't remember but I must have made it. Nursery teachers were running in and shouting for paper towels, then I must have lost consciousness as that's all I remember.

"I can't remember him (Hamilton) walking into the room, I can't remember anything about him. I wasn't aware he'd shot himself.

"I had no idea what was going on. You're five years old — you're not supposed to be exposed to that sort of stuff."

Second row, far right: Amie Adams alongside her Dunblane primary classmates in 1996

Ms Adams added: "I have no movement in my right leg from the knee down or feeling. It damaged the sciatic nerve – the bullet in my spine did that.

"I had nerve damage and my foot hasn’t really grown since the accident so it’s smaller that my other one.

"I just feel like it’s (the massacre) part of my life so it feels like the normality to me. I suppose it’s quite a surreal thing to have happened to you."

Children outside Dunblane Primary School a day after the shooting in which 16 pupils and their teacher were killed.

During the interview, she expressed her hate and pity for Hamilton: "It's not normally how you would feel sorry for someone.

"I sort of feel bad for him that he felt his life was so terrible that he had to ruin other people's.

"I hate him but he's gone and can't ruin any other lives and that's a good thing out of it. I can't let something like that beat me because if I did... I wouldn't be the person I am."

Dunblane Primary School head teacher Ron Taylor speaking to reporters on the day pupils returned following the Dunblane massacre, 22 March 1996

She told the Sun that popping and banging sounds still take her back to the incident: "The only thing that gets me tearful is bottles of Champagne or Prosecco popping.

"Balloons and fireworks are a big fear and party poppers as well.

"I really don't like those. I get scared, have a little cry and then I sort myself out."

Amie said her decision to study mental health at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen was linked to the tragedy.

She said: "It's definitely one of the reasons why I did choose it... I always want to know the reason why people do these horrible things and what they were thinking."

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