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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dunblane Buries Its Young Dead

DUNBLANE, Scotland -- The people of Dunblane on Monday buried the first of the 16 little children slaughtered last week in a vengeful attack by an embittered former scoutmaster.

Friends and families of the children, all aged five and six, started a harrowing week of funerals by laying to rest Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier, best friends and classmates in the doomed primary one class at Dunblane Primary School.

The two five-year-olds were among those gunned down last Wednesday by firearms fanatic Thomas Hamilton, who also killed a teacher before shooting himself.

"To their respective parents each child was precious, loved dearly and cared for tenderly at home," priest William Gilmour told the hundreds of people crammed into a church in Bridge of Allan, just three kilometers from Dunblane.

"We can appreciate their high hopes for the future womanhood of Emma and Joanna. However, as we are too tragically aware, neither [girl] was allowed to fulfil her parents' aspirations."

Those inside the gloomy grey church and a further 500 standing in the churchyard were left alone by the massed eyes of the world's media, who agreed to stay away from the funerals. Details of the service were passed to journalists by the police.

The funerals of Abigail McLennan and Kevin Hassel, also aged five, were due to be held at a small Dunblane church later in the day.

Britain came to a brief standstill Sunday in a nationwide remembrance of the children and their teacher. In a second symbolic gesture of national solidarity, Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Princess Anne visited the grieving Scottish town, consoling bereaved families and laying flowers.

Six more of the murdered youngsters will be buried or cremated on Tuesday. The rest, including teacher Gwenne Mayor, will have their funerals on Wednesday and Thursday. Authorities have not said what they plan to do with Hamilton's body.