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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 21:10 GMT
Dunblane father remembers 'bright girl'
Sophie
'Bright and intelligent': Sophie
Monday marks 10 years since the massacre at Dunblane Primary School. Sixteen children and their teacher were gunned down by Thomas Hamilton in the school gym. He then shot himself.

Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter was killed, recalls the day that changed his life forever.

My daughter Sophie was in her first year at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996 and was one of the five-year-old victims killed that day.

We were extremely close. After her mum died, shortly after Sophie's third birthday, we inevitably did many things together.

She was a very bright, intelligent girl. She pretended she was shy at first, if anyone met her, but very soon she started chatting away, got on well with people, a great girl to be with.

Families' support

I remember arriving in Dunblane - I was taken there in somebody else's car - and seeing all the road blocks, the police, people walking around, and knowing that a major incident had taken place, and gradually being drawn into this more and more.

I first found out whose class it was and then was asked to go to a house where the other parents of children in the class were.

Mick North
If we turn our back on something as awful as that, then we're never going to learn the lessons that should be learned
Mick North

Then we got moved into the school and then we were effectively trapped in the school staff room without any information for a long time - then finally being told that Sophie had been killed.

I became numb for a number of days. I never went through any kind of strategy for coping.

With the help of friends and other people who I met and then particularly the other families, I did cope.

He (Thomas Hamilton) ran boys' clubs and the local authority had received complaints from some parents about the nature of these clubs.

I think they could have joined things up much better and considered the implications of allowing someone like Hamilton to continue owning firearms.

The life I live now is different from what it would have been had I been the father of a 15-year-old girl.

I hope that the people of Dunblane will remember.

It will no doubt be a quiet day in Dunblane but I don't think it should ever be forgotten what happened, because if we turn our back on something as awful as that, then we're never going to learn the lessons that should be learnt.



BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Mick North tells how his life has changed



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