Judy Murray has spoken in depth for the first time about her sons” narrow escape for the Dunblane massacre.
On 13 March 1996, Thomas Hamilton broke into the gym at the primary school and murdered 16 children along with their teacher. Judy”s boys, Andy Murray, then eight, and Jamie, 10, were in the school at the time.
PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
Judy Murray with her son Andy Murray
“Andy”s class had been on their way to the gym,” Judy told the Radio Times. “That”s how close he was to what happened. They heard the noise and someone went to investigate. They came back and told all the kids to go to the headmaster”s study and the deputy head”s study.
“They were told to sit down below the windows, and they were singing songs. The teachers and dinner ladies did an amazing job, containing all these children, feeding them, and getting them out without them being aware of what had happened. I don”t know how they managed it.”
Judy was working in her mother”s toy shop when news of the shooting first broke. At that point, she just picked up her keys and ran.
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray as a child
“I was driving there thinking I might not see my children again. There were too many cars on the road – everyone was trying to get there. I got angry, shouting, “Get out my way.’”About a quarter of a mile away I just got out and ran.”
She then had to wait with other anxious parents at the closed school gates. “People weren”t frantic,” she said. “They were shocked, quiet. It was before mobile phones. Nobody knew anything.”
Eventually, the families were moved into a class room and told to wait. “There were 50 or 60 of us – so many that I was sharing a chair with a girl I had gone to school with, who lived opposite me when we were growing up.
Andy Murray, Judy Murray and Jamie Murray
“A policeman came in and said that the parents of the children from Mrs Mayor”s class were to leave with him. The girl sharing my chair said, “That”s my daughter’s class”.
“I don”t know if I had survivors” guilt. But I had an awful moment then when I was so relived it wasn”t my kids. And then feeling terrible. She lost her daughter.”
Judy couldn”t remember the moment she saw her sons again, but said “on the drive home I knew I had to stop the car to tell Jamie and Andy what had happened – they didn”t know, and it was clearly going to be everywhere. It was an impossible thing to explain to children. I”m very glad they were too young to understand the enormity of it.”
Both Andy and Jamie, who won the Wimbledon mixed doubles in 2007, had known Thomas Hamilton as children. “They had been to the boys” club he ran locally at the high school,” their mum said. “I knew him too – I”d given him lifts from the boys” club to the station. He was a bit of an odd bod, but I wouldn”t have thought he was dangerous. So he”d been in my car.”
Andy Murray with mum Judy, girlfriend Kim Sears and father William
Last year, shortly after his Wimbledon win, Andy spoke for the first time about the Dunblane tragedy.
“You have no idea how tough something like that is,” the tearful star said in a BBC documentary, before saying of his success, “It”s just nice to be able to do something that the town in proud of”.
It”s a sentiment echoed by his mother. “The only time I get emotional about Jamie and Andy”s Wimbledon wins is when I”m in Dunblane,” she said.
“When you”ve gone through a really dark, tragic time, and then come to a real high, I hope it helps people to feel something really positive about that town… What it definitely does it make you appreciate what you”ve got.”