Murray tells of day killer struck school

TENNIS star Andy Murray will this week give his most detailed account yet of the day his primary school came under attack by mass murderer Thomas Hamilton.

In his autobiography Hitting Back, Murray, who was born and bred in Dunblane, recalls how Hamilton entered the school gym on March 13, 1996, and shot dead 16 primary one pupils and their teacher, Gwen Mayor, before killing himself.

Murray, who turned 21 last month, has sold his life story to Random House for a reported advance of almost 1m.

His mother Judy, a former Scotland national tennis coach, also retells her experience of the fateful day when the small Stirlingshire town became the centre of global attention. Both her sons, Andy, then eight, and older brother Jamie, nine, were pupils at Dunblane Primary at the time.

Although Murray has frequently been asked in press conferences about his recollection of the day, he usually avoids the subject, saying he was too young for it to make a lasting impression. "It was very scary, but I didn't fully understand," he has said.

However, in a 2004 interview, Judy, who was at the time of the shootings running a shop in the town, said: "All I can say is that it was the worst day of my life. You could never, ever, have imagined anything like that happening in your little, peaceful village… never.

"I had a shop at the time in the heart of Dunblane selling toys and children's clothes so I knew just about everyone involved, if only by sight, and someone burst in to say there was a man found dead with a gun in the playground.

"I ran out of the shop, crashed into my mum – who was coming in to tell me – got in the car and drove like the furies yelling 'Get out of my way' at every driver."

Judy recalled how she "couldn't get near the school" because of the number of parked cars and emergency services vehicles.

"I had to abandon the car and run to join the crowd of parents waiting at the front gate," she said.

"Not surprisingly, no one could tell us anything. I was standing beside a girl who had lived across the road from me as kids at the same primary school, and when the police announced which class was involved, her daughter was in that class. That was a horrible moment, just horrible."

When Andy and Jamie were delivered to her later, she said she "hugged them and bundled them" into the car. "They'd no idea what actually happened. I stopped the car and explained everything as gently as I could."

Judy said both boys had known Hamilton, who ran a boys' club in the town. "Jamie refuses to talk about it at all, not a word. Andy used to ask a lot of questions – but, no, he's not comfortable discussing it now, which is why, whenever he's entering a tournament, he usually lists his home town as Stirling, rather than Dunblane, in case anyone makes the connection."

Murray, who was knocked out of the French Open, a Grand Slam tournament, last week, is currently No 12 in the world tennis rankings.

His pre-Wimbledon literary offering has already come under fire from tennis correspondents as premature given his lack of success at the game's highest level.

Last week, one daily newspaper called it an "ill-advised tome", adding: "Andy Murray's autobiography is out next week, and after his third-round defeat at the French Open it will not be about a player who has achieved a great deal in major tournaments."