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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dunblane Headmaster Describes Massacre

STIRLING, Scotland -- The headmaster of a school where 16 young children were gunned down in Britain's worst mass murder described Thursday how he found a scene of "unimaginable carnage" and the air thick with gunsmoke.


Headmaster Rodney Taylor told an inquiry into the massacre at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland last March 13 that he discovered the dead children's bodies lying on the floor, while those who had not been killed were in tears.


"It was a scene of unimaginable carnage -- one's worst nightmare," Taylor told the hushed inquiry. "The air seemed to be thick with bluish smoke and the smell of cordite was very strong."


Taylor, 46, arrived moments after Thomas Hamilton shot himself dead after killing the children and their teacher in a four-minute shooting spree dubbed the "slaughter of the innocents" by the British press.


Earlier, the hearing heard how the children, all aged five or six, were systematically gunned down at point-blank range as they lay prostrate on the floor of the school's gymnasium.


Hamilton, a misfit loner, had been armed with four powerful handguns and more than 700 rounds of ammunition.


Parents of the young victims, watching the proceedings from a specially reserved gallery, looked shaken as they heard Detective John Ogg recall how Hamilton had wiped out so many young lives.


Ogg described how police called to the scene of the killing in the small Scottish town of Dunblane had broken down and wept.


"I saw police officers crying. It was an unbelievable situation," Ogg told the inquiry, which is being held in the city of Stirling, just 12 kilometers from Dunblane.


The inquiry is being conducted by Lord Cullen, a senior judge who will probably take two months to finish his work. He is expected to review Britain's gun laws, as well as school security and procedures supervising adults allowed to work with children