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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Killer's wife salutes Amish mercy
Funeral procession
The grieving Amish community has reached out to the Roberts family
The widow of a man who shot dead five Amish girls at a school in the US state of Pennsylvania has thanked the Amish community for their love and support.

Marie Roberts said she and her family were "overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace and mercy" shown to them following the murders on 2 October.

Local man Charles Roberts killed himself after his shooting spree.

The Amish have said they forgive him and have helped set up a fund for the Roberts family at a local bank.

"Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need," Marie Roberts wrote in a letter addressed to Amish friends, neighbours and the local community.

In the letter, released by a family spokesman, Mrs Roberts says she, her three young children and the rest of her family sincerely thank the Amish for their compassion.

Makeshift memorial to the five murdered Amish girls
We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbours whom we have loved and continue to love
Marie Roberts

The mother and grandmother of Marian Fisher, one of the young victims, welcomed Mrs Roberts' aunt into their home the day after the shootings, the local Lancaster newspaper reported on its website.

Mrs Roberts' grandfather also attended Marian's funeral.

Charles Roberts burst into the West Nickel Mines Amish School, killing five girls aged between seven and 13, and injuring another five before turning the gun on himself as police closed in.

'Hard days ahead'

In suicide notes left at his home, he made references to the 1997 death of his infant daughter, and said he was haunted by memories of molesting two young relatives 20 years ago.

Last Thursday, the bloodstained schoolhouse was demolished.

"Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened. We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbours whom we have loved and continue to love," Mrs Roberts says in her letter.

"We know there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives," she wrote.

One of the injured girls is reported to have been released from hospital.

Barbie Fisher, 11, sister of Marian, was allowed home on Friday, her grandfather told the New Era of Lancaster newspaper.

Amish killings school demolished
12 Oct 06 |  Americas
Excerpts from Amish killer's note
03 Oct 06 |  Americas
Who are the Amish?
02 Oct 06 |  Americas
How the Amish shooting unfolded
03 Oct 06 |  Americas
Tight-knit Amish shaken by attacks
03 Oct 06 |  Americas
In pictures: Amish school shooting
02 Oct 06 |  In Pictures

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