The Hungerford massacre
occurred in Hungerford, Berkshire, England, on August 19, 1987. A
27-year-old unemployed local labourer, Michael Robert Ryan, armed with
several weapons including an AK-47 rifle and a Beretta pistol, shot and
killed sixteen people including his mother, and wounded fifteen others,
then fatally shot himself.
A report on this incident was commissioned by
the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, from the Chief Constable of Thames
Valley Police, Colin Smith. It remains, along with the Dunblane
massacre, one of the worst lone-wolf peacetime atrocities in British
The massacre led to the Firearms
(Amendment) Act, 1988, which banned the ownership of semi-automatic
centre-fire rifles and restricted the use of other firearms with a
capacity of more than two rounds. The Hungerford Report had demonstrated
that Ryan's collection of weapons was legally licensed.
The first shooting occurred seven
miles (11 km) to the west of Hungerford in Savernake Forest in
Wiltshire, at 12:30 in the afternoon of August 19. Susan Godfrey, 33,
from Reading, Berkshire was picnicking with her two young children when
she was abducted by Ryan at gun-point, and shot fifteen times in the
Ryan then drove in his car, a
Vauxhall Astra, from the forest along the A4 towards Hungerford and
stopped at a petrol station three miles (5 km) away from the town. After
filling a petrol can he shot at the cashier, Mrs Kakoub Dean, and
missed. Ryan again tried to shoot her at close range, but this time his
gun was empty. He left the petrol station and continued towards
Hungerford. Mrs Dean placed an emergency call to the police.
At around 12:45 he was seen at his
home in South View, Hungerford. He shot the family dog or dogs (reports
differ, one or two). He set fire to the house with the petrol he bought
earlier in the day, the fire damaging three surrounding properties. He
then removed the three shotguns from his car, possibly because it would
not start. He shot and killed husband and wife Roland and Sheila Mason,
who were in their back garden at their house in South View.
On foot, Ryan proceeded towards the
common, injuring two more people: Marjorie Jackson and Lisa Mildenhall
(aged 14, shot in both legs). Mrs. Jackson contacted George White, a
colleague of her husband, who contacted her husband Ivor Jackson, who
were both later shot, leaving White dead and Jackson injured. On the
footpath towards the common he also killed Kenneth Clements who was
walking with his family.
Returning to Southview he shot 23
rounds at PC Roger Brereton, a police officer who had just arrived at
the scene, killing him as he remained sitting in his duty car. Linda
Chapman and her daughter Alison Chapman were next shot and injured,
having just driven into Southview in a car. Ryan fired 11 bullets from
his semi-automatic into their Volvo; Linda was hit in the shoulder,
Alison in the right thigh - the bullet travelling into her lower back
and severing some of the nerves leaving her permanently disabled. Linda
was able to drive out without further injury to the hospital.
Ryan moved along Fairview Road,
killing Abdur Khan, who was in his back garden, and injuring Alan
Lepetit who was walking along the road. An ambulance which had just
arrived in the road was next shot at, injuring Hazel Haslett before it
By, or before, 14:30 Ryan had
ensconced himself at the John O'Gaunt Secondary School (closed and empty
at that time of year for summer holidays), where he had previously been
a pupil. Police surrounded the building. Negotiators made contact with
him; at one point he waved what appeared to be an unpinned grenade at
them through the window. At 19:00, still in the school, he shot himself.
One of the statements Ryan made towards the end was widely reported: "I
wish I had stayed in bed".
Ryan had killed fifteen people, and
wounded ten others.
The British tabloid press was filled
with stories about Michael Ryan's life in the days following the
massacre. The tabloid press can be an unreliable source and in English
law you cannot libel the dead. In addition Ryan had killed his mother
who would, perhaps, have been able to shine most light on his private
life. Press biographies all stated that he had a fondness for, and
possibly even an obsession with guns.
The majority claimed that Ryan
possessed magazines about survival skills/firearms, Soldier of
Fortune being frequently named. He was an only child, reportedly
sullen and bullied at school. His father was in his fifties when he was
born and had died around two years prior to the shootings. Ryan lived
alone with his mother, who was a dinner lady at the local primary
school; there was extensive press comment on this suggesting the
relationship was 'unhealthy', that Ryan was 'spoiled', a Guardian
headline describing Ryan as a 'mummy's boy'.
A number of factors hampered the
The telephone exchange could not
handle the number of 999 calls made by witnesses.
The Thames Valley firearms squad were
training 40 miles away.
The police helicopter was in for
repair, though was eventually deployed.
Only two phone lines were in
operation at the local police station which was undergoing renovation.
effects theory and moral panic
It was alleged, particularly by
tabloid newspapers, that Ryan was inspired by the film Rambo,
some weakly remarking on his armed-forces style clothing. It was cited
as an example of the hypodermic needle model of negative media effects,
particularly relevant in the wake of the controversy over video nasties.
It later transpired that Ryan had never seen the film (Buckingham, 2001:
76) but the allegations provided sensationalist headlines and imagery
(see Webster, 1989). It is true that Ryan owned violent films. It is
also true that a great many young men possess violent films but do not
go on to act violently.
J G Ballard's novel Running Wild
centres around the fictitious Richard Greville, a Deputy Psychiatric
Advisor with the Metropolitan police who authored "an unpopular minority
report on the Hungerford killings" and is sent to investigate mass
murder in a gated community. Ballard has professed an interest in the
Hungerford massacre and other "pointless crimes" such as that in
Dunblane and the murder of Jill Dando.
the penultimate track on Radiohead's album The Bends, was written
as a response to the massacre.
Chris Bowsher, founder member of the
band Radical Dance Faction, was a witness to the events and wrote
Hungerford Poem which appears on the band's early album Hot On
Spoof Welsh rap group Goldie Lookin'
Chain mentioned the killer in their song Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers
Do, a satire on the supposed links between gangsta rap and gun crime as
reported in the press: 'Like Michael Ryan, about to snap, guns don't
kill people, it's just rap'
"The realisation that this could
happen in fun-loving England, where we don't have guns and the police
aren't armed... it changed policing and it changed society for ever. " -
Then Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, Charles Pollard.
The Hungerford Report - Shooting
Incidents At Hungerford On 19 August 1987. Retrieved October 28, 2005.
Jeremy Josephs. Hungerford - One
Man's Massacre. Retrieved October 28, 2005.
Buckingham, D. (2001) "Electronic
Child Abuse" In: M. Barker and J. Petley (eds) Ill effects: the
media/violence debate. (2nd ed.) London: Routledge. pp. 63-77. ISBN
Webster, D. (1989) '"Whodunnit?
America did": Rambo and post-Hungerford rhetoric', Cultural
Studies, 3:2, pp. 173-93.
Briton kills 14 in
After random shootings,
assailant takes his own life
The Boston Globe
August 20, 1987
HUNGERFORD, England -- A heavily armed gun enthusiast
dressed in a camouflage suit shot and killed 14 persons yesterday,
including his mother, then took his own life when police surrounded him
inside a school, authorities said.
The rampage, in which 16 persons also were wounded,
was one of the largest mass murders in modern British history.
British rethink gun
Killer of 14 had
Philadelphia Daily News
August 20, 1987
Before he committed suicide, the gunman who killed his
mother and 13 others and injured 15 more expressed bewilderment that he
had shot so many people but felt incapable of turning the gun on
himself, police said today.
Yesterday's rampage was the worst mass murder in
modern British history. It left this market town of about 5,000 people
in shock and raised questions about whether Britain's gun laws, already
considered among the strictest in the world, were strict enough.
After the massacre,
a town is in stunned disbelief
August 21, 1987
Along sidewalks of this idyllic market town in western
England, residents gathered in clutches yesterday, some consoling
others, some questioning. All appeared in a state of shock about what
had befallen their community.
"This is really such a nice little place, it just
hasn't sunk in that it's real," said Sheila Hutchins, who manages
one of the many quaint shops that line High Street.
Two more die,
putting massacre toll at 17
August 22, 1987
Two more people have died of gunshot wounds, bringing
to 17 the number killed during Wednesday's massacre in the country town
Myrtle Gibbs, 63, and Ian Playle, 34, were the 15th
and 16th victims of Michael Ryan, 27, who walked down the town's main
street firing a Soviet- designed AK-47 rifle and then shot and killed
himself when police cornered him in a school.
A lone gunman brings death to a sleepy English town
Michael Ryan was a quiet fellow, except when it came
to talking about guns. He never tired of telling his neighbors in
Hungerford, a little farming town some 75 miles west of London, about
his collection of firearms or showing them off whenever anyone paid
attention. Ryan, 27, had recently joined the Tunnel Rifle and Pistol
Club, where he practiced regularly. Said Club Manager Andrew White:
"He was a very good shot. He hit an 18 by 14-in. target
consistently at 100 meters." Last week Ryan used his shooting skill
to deadly effect, turning his neighbors into targets in the worst
massacre in modern British history.
As he tramped through nearby Savernake Forest last
Wednesday, Ryan wore a headband, a combat jacket and an ammunition belt
slung over his shoulder. Suddenly he drew his 9-mm pistol and opened
fire on his first victim who had just finished a picnic, Mrs Susan
Godfrey of Reading. Mrs Godfrey died with 15 bullets in her back and her
children, aged four and two, sobbing by their mother's body. Ryan then
calmly climbed into his silver Vauxhall Astra and drove off. It was to
be two hours before the children and, later, her body, were found.
Ryan drove the car into the Golden Arrow filling
station at Foxfield, on the A4, east of the forest to get petrol. He
entered the kiosk and fired with a pistol on Mrs Margaret Dean, the
cashier, who was saved by armoured glass.
Seven minutes later he arrived at the row house he
shared with his widowed mother in Hungerford. Ryan shot dead his mother,
Dorothy, and set fire to their home at 4 South View, the blaze spreading
to the three adjoining houses in the terrace. Mrs Ryan's body was found
lying in the road outside the house. Retrieving a semiautomatic
Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition from a garden shed, Ryan began
walking toward the center of town, firing bursts and reloading as he
went. "He was just strolling along the road, shooting at anything
that moved," said Barbara Morley. Said another witness, Christopher
Browsher: "He looked just like Rambo."
Shortly after 1pm, Police Constable Briereton arrived
in South View. At 1.05, he sent out a message: "18. 10-9.
10-9" - the code for "urgent assitance required, I have been
shot". No more was heard from him. His body was later recovered
from his police car near Ryan's house. PC Briereton, who leaves a wife
and two teenage sons, had been shot in the back.
Taxi Driver Marcus Barnard, on his way to visit his
newborn son in the hospital, was shot through his windshield. He died
instantly. A father and son emerged from a side road with two small
girls. Ryan opened fire at the men, leaving the father dead in a puddle
of blood. He emptied his gun into the car of a woman and her daughter,
killing both. Abdul Khan, 84, was cut down in his garden, dying as his
wife cradled his head. Francis Butler was killed while walking his dog.
The savagery was as swift as it was deadly: 13 people died between 1:05
p.m. and 1:15 p.m. The final toll: 16 dead, 14 wounded.
Police threw up roadblocks and used megaphones to urge
residents to stay indoors. A helicopter carrying marksmen with sniper
rifles whirred overhead, and teams of police with pump shotguns flooded
the streets. By 2:30 p.m. they had tracked Ryan to the John O'Gaunt
elementary school, which he had attended as a child. Trained negotiators
arrived to talk to him, but to no avail. Shortly after 8 p.m., a muffled
shot rang out. Ryan had become his own last victim.
The eruption of violence shattered the summer serenity
of England, where policemen traditionally carry no guns and where fewer
than 50 murders involving firearms were committed in 1986, compared with
839 for New York City alone. Police said Ryan gave no clues as to why he
had run amuck. Neighbors portrayed him as a loner who became deeply
depressed after the death two years ago of his father, a popular public
housing inspector. Ryan, who drifted through a number of laborer jobs
and was once employed in a gun shop, appeared to have had licenses for
his personal arsenal. British officials immediately said they would
review the country's gun-licensing laws. Said Douglas Hogg, Under
Secretary of State at the Home Office: "Obviously, there are
lessons to be learned from this incident."
Ryan's nightmare stroll
Michael Ryan's rampage in Hungerford began in
the road where he lived, South View, where he killed his mother and at
least six other people.
South View is a small road with four groups of four
council houses in line on the left-hand side and a detached house and
two bungalows below them. The council houses are numbered from one to 16
in succession. The first block of houses was totally destroyed after
Ryan shot his mother, Dorothy, and their dog, then set the house on
fire. Mr Alan Lapetit, another of the occupants of the block, was
wounded. In the next block, at 6 South View, an elderly couple, Roly and
Sheila Mason, were also wounded. Then another neighbour, Mr Douglas
Wainwright, aged 84, was shot dead and his wife, Kathleen, aged 63, was
In the third block, Ivor and Julie Jackson, both aged
in their 50s, were wounded. In the final block, Lisa Mildenhall, aged
14, was wounded in the thigh.
The bloodshed started earlier at Savermake Forest, 10
miles from Hungerford, where a woman died after being hit by several
At 12.42pm, Ryan drove a silver Vauxhall Astra into
the Golden Arrow filling station at Foxfield, on the A4, east of the
forest. He opened fire with a pistol on Mrs Margaret Dean, the cashier,
who was saved by armoured glass.
At 12.53pm, fire officers were called to the blaze at
the Ryan home but were forced to retreat after coming under attack. The
gunman, brandishing a shotgun in one hand and a pump-action shotgun in
the other, strode down South View after collecting ammunition in the
garden of his home.
A police officer was shot dead as he drove his Panda
car through a hail of bullets, crashing into Ryan's car. A woman, aged
20, was shot at pointblank range and killed as she drove her car.
Another of Ryan's victims was an elderly Asian, Mr Khan, who lived in
one of the bungalows where South View becomes Fairview Road.
Ryan sauntered south down Fairview Road, shooting
indiscriminately. A bullet hole was found in the centre of the front
door of No 47, which is owned by Mr Dennis Morley, a self-employed
bricklayer, who was out.
He then proceeded into Priory Road, shooting wildly.
Mr Marcus Barnard, a local taxi driver, whose wife recently gave birth
to their only child, was shot and killed along with a pedestrian in
Bulpit Lane, a side turning. Workers and shoppers in the Hungerford High
Street cowered behind counters and makeshift barricades as the slaughter
continued. More shots were fired near Hungerford primary school in
Priory Road and ambulance crews came under fire.
Several shots rang out as a van passed the Norland
nursing home and the driver slumped dead at the wheel. Three passengers
were seriously hurt as the vehicle crashed. One, blood pumping from
wounds, rushed into a grocer's shop. Seventeen people, some of them
injured, took shelter in the shop as the gunman continued to let off
several rounds of ammunition. Three woman ran past the window screaming
after Mr Ken Clements, aged 52, and his son, Robert, aged 27, were
At 2.30pm, Ryan was seen strolling into John O'Gaunt
school in Priory Road. The police scoured the area and two hours later
he was reported to be trapped inside the school. Armed police surrounded
the school grounds.
At 4.50pm, the school caretaker reported that all the
children were safe.
At 7.45pm, a single shot was heard in the school. At
7.55pm, a police ambulance moved slowly into the school playing fields.
Ten minutes later, the police assault team entered the building and
reported that they had pinpointed Ryan's location in an office.
"He has barricaded the door and we are having
difficulty in making an entry", one officer said.
At 8.10pm they announced: "We have broken
in". A minute later Ryan's body was found sitting in a corner near
a cupboard holding a gun.
The police team gingerly attached a rope to his leg
and pulled it because of fears that Ryan might have booby-trapped
himself with a grenade. But the body toppled over and the siege was
The earlier rampage lasted less than 10 minutes and
was spread over half a mile through archetypal English suburban streets.
Late last night and early today, small knots of people
were gathered in groups along Ryan's route exchanging stories.
Mr Chris Bowsher, who lives in South View Road, says:
"I knew that it wasn't somebody pigeon shooting or a car
backfiring. It sounded like bad news."
Dreary home life of crazed gunman
The brick-built, end of terrace council house
in Hungerford, Birkshire, was a permanent backcloth to Michael Ryan's
rather dreary life. It was to that building he was brought as the only
child of his parents when he was a few days old and it was where he grew
up and developed his own fantasy existence. It was also the home which
he finally destroyed when he set fire to it and shot his mother dead.
Born to Dorothy and Alfred Ryan, a canteen lady and a
council building inspector, Michael Ryan received the usual
over-attention of a single child, according to neighbours. He spent most
of his time with his mother and was jealously guarded by his father.
From an early age he developed a keen interest in guns. An uncle and
aunt last night told of their nephew's unpredictable and violent nature.
Mr Leslie Ryan, who lives with his wife, Connie, in London, said on ITN
News at Ten that Michael, who was devoted to his father, he seemed to go
to pieces after his death two years ago. "He was his life, you see.
when he went Michael seemed to go."
Mrs Connie Ryan told of a more sinister episode.
"He told me that he went shooting rabbits one night and he came
across a fellow much bigger than himself and he got a little bit stroppy
with him so Michael took a gun out of his pocket and held it at him. He
said the chap ran away and he said, `That just goes to prove the power
of the gun`." The couple also told of their nephew's aborted
wedding plans. Mrs Ryan said: "He was supposed to be married but
when I phoned up after they invited us to go, his mother said, `He
doesn't know whether he wants to be married or not. First of all it's on
and then it's off`. She told me, `I'll let you know when he's made up
his mind`. I didn't hear any more."
Mr Dennis Morley, a family friend, described Ryan as a
"spoilt little wimp". "He used to get everything he
wanted from his mother", Mr Morley, who lived near the Ryan family,
said. "He used to beat her up. She paid for his new cars every
year. "He used to hit his mother a lot but he couldn't pick on a
man," Mr Morley said.
Mr Winn Pask, aged 20, a neighbour, recalled that
Ryan, at the age of 12, shot at cows kept by his father behind his
council house with a .177 rifle. John O'Gaunt secondary school left
little academic impression on Ryan. He was a C stream pupil of below
average achievement. Mr David Lee, the headmaster, failed to recall him.
One of Ryan's former school mates at John O'Gaunt, Mr Andy Puffett, aged
25, said: "He never mixed with anyone. He could not play football
and he was picked on a lot."
Eventually, after hardly attending in his last year,
he left with few, if any, qualifications, but with a strong interest in
the weapons he had already begun to collect. Those included various
military effects, ceremonial swords and, when he obtained a small arms
Ryan drifted through a number of labouring jobs at a
local nursery and at Peter DeSavary's theme park at Littlecote. He often
boasted to neighbours of the latest gun he had purchased and the sound
of him firing nearby became quite common.
Haunted by Hungerford
By Natasha Courtenay-Smith - DailyMail.co.uk
August 10, 2007
A few weeks ago in a Hungerford pub,
conversation turned to a certain Michael Ryan, who lived and died
in the sleepy Berkshire town 20 years ago this month.
Even after so many years, the locals standing at the
bar found themselves contemplating the same impossible questions.
One woman present that evening was 41-year-old
Lyn Thompson, a mother-of-three who has lived in the town all her life.
As she puts it: "I don't think we'll ever know the
answers, but that doesn't stop any of us from asking ourselves and each
other time and time again: how could he have done what he did?"
Michael Ryan is, of course, the unemployed labourer
who, in August 1987, left his home in Hungerford and set out for
Savernake Forest, a nearby beauty spot.
There, just before midday, he produced an arsenal of
weapons, including a 9mm Italian Beretta pistol, a Chinese-manufactured
assault rifle and a semi-automatic rifle, and shot 33-year-old nurse
Susan Godfrey, who was picnicking with her small children, Hannah, then
four, and James, two.
It marked the start of a seven-hour massacre in which
Ryan - 27 at the time - killed 16 people, including his neighbours, a
police officer and his own mother, and injured 15 others.
At 6.52pm, after barricading himself in the John
O'Gaunt school, which he had attended as a child, he killed himself.
At once, his monstrous acts entered the annals of
criminal history and ensured that the name Hungerford now sits alongside
Lockerbie and Dunblane in the nation's consciousness, inextricably
identified with horror.
The killing spree paved the way for changes in the
Now, a few days before the 20th anniversary of that
terrible day, the residents of Hungerford are steeling themselves for
the renewed feelings of anguish and fury which such a milestone will
Of all the town's residents, Lyn Thompson probably
knew Michael Ryan the best.
He was her next-door neighbour, and during the
shootings he started a fire which gutted both their houses.
"I always thought he was a strange man," says Lyn. "A
few months before his rampage I asked if I could have the old swing that
was sitting doing nothing in his back garden.
"I was a young mum without much money and I knew my
children would love it. He looked at me with blank eyes,
simply said: "No," then walked off.
"His mother was lovely but she'd spoiled him. His
father had died in 1984 after a long battle with cancer and he was an
only child. "I thought it was better for her that he shot her, too. If
she'd lived, the shame would probably have killed her anyway."
Today, Hungerford appears to have recovered.
On market day, the high street is bustling and
residents are sitting outside cafes in the enjoying the sunshine.
Daily life in this middle England town drifts along
to the rhythm of school fetes, coffee mornings, the pony club and dog
Should you hope to find a large memorial on the high
street to those who lost their lives, you would not be in luck.
Instead, it is discreetly placed next to the town's
football ground, away from the town centre.
The neat terraced cottages of South View, where
Michael Ryan lived, look like ideal family homes.
Over the years, the entrance to this road had been
widened and four new flats have been built to replace the houses he
But they are in keeping with the original design and
it is hard to imagine now that anything significant ever happened here.
Yet so close-knit is the community here that almost
everyone in this town knows someone who was affected by the shootings.
For instance, the town's mayor Peter Harries, who
will be hosting the town's official memorial service on August 19, is
the father of Carl Harries, a young soldier who was commended by the
coroner for his bravery on that tragic afternoon.
Now 41, Carl is serving as an Army captain in Basra.
His mum Shirley Harries, 61, says: "Carl came face-toface
with Michael Ryan. He's since said all he remembers was a "blank face,
"Carl ducked through a hedge, then spent the
afternoon running from one victim to another, calming people and
"He helped get 22-year-old Sandra Hill out of her car
after she'd been shot in the head. Sadly, she died in his arms.
"He also resuscitated Ian Playle and tried to save
the lives of Jack and Myrtle Gibb.
Trevor Wainwright, 53, was the local policeman at the
time of the massacre and continued to serve in Hungerford Police until
six years ago.
His father and one of his colleagues were killed by
Ryan: his mother was shot but survived.
Now a tax inspector who still lives in Hungerford
with his wife Ruby, 43, a housewife, and their 14-year-old son Daniel,
Trevor still finds it impossible not to dwell on the past. "A few days
after the shootings, I woke to the front page headline: PC Signed Own
Father's Death Warrant. I took one look at it, and burst into tears," he
says, his voice trembling.
"The story was in reference to the fact that a few
months before the massacre I'd dealt with a variation to Michael Ryan's
firearms certificate. "The bitter irony that he'd used his guns to kill
my father and colleague hit me as soon as I heard about his rampage. And
there it was being bandied about in the Press.
'"The thought of how I felt on that day still brings
tears to my eyes."
At the time, Trevor had been the local bobby for 15
years and was familiar with most people in the town, including Ryan. He
is still baffled as to why he "flipped".
"I often passed him walking his dog on Hungerford
Common," he recalls. "Although our dogs would run about together, he
never really said much. <[>"He had a reputation for being a bit of a
"But if you'd asked me to make a list of the people
in the town who I thought were in the slightest bit capable of doing
what Michael Ryan did, his name wouldn't have been on it."
Ryan was a victim of bullying and was an under-achiever
who was overly protected by his mother.
He was a fantasist who told his family he had a
girlfriend he was due to marry, but who proved to be nonexistent.
He claimed to various acquaintances that he had a
private pilot's license, ran a gun shop and had taken a trip on the
Orient Express, all of which were shown to be lies.
He invested in a military camouflage jacket and told
people he'd once been a member of the 2nd Parachute Regiment, another
Ryan had spent his spare time at Savernake and had
boasted to colleagues of creeping up on picnic parties without them
Shortly before the killings he acquired three semi-automatic
guns, quit his job and joined the Tunnel Rifle and Pistol Club in
On the day of the shootings, Trevor was enjoying a
day off and cutting a friend's lawn in a nearby village.
He was told about the rampage by a friend who'd seen
it on the news and immediately returned to Hungerford.
"I arrived to see residents cowering behind bushes on
the common and to hear Ryan's gun going off in the distance," he says. "I'll
never forget the smell of gunpowder, which lingered heavily in the air.
I went to the police station to work and one of my colleagues said my
father was dead and my mother was in hospital.
"A friend took me to Princess Margaret Hospital in
Swindon where I waited in the corridor, watching as other victims
"It was carnage. Some had been shot in their cars,
others as they passed Ryan in the street; some were alive, some dead.
'It was an hour before I heard Mum was going to be
"Dad, I was later told, died instantly. He was still
sitting dead in his car, which had now become a crime scene.
"Thankfully, someone had put a blanket over his head."
In those bleak early days, it played on Trevor's mind
that not only had he signed Ryan's gun licence, but he'd also changed
the date his own parents, who lived in Kent, were due to visit.
Moving their visit to a day later than originally
planned meant they drove straight into Ryan's path.
Trevor's colleague, PC Roger Brereton, the first
officer at the scene, also lost his life.
'The day a newspaper printed that cruel headline was
one of the darkest days of my life.
"My mother helped put things in perspective.
"Despite having lost her husband and undergone
treatment for bullet wounds to her breast and fingers, she phoned me
from her hospital bed as soon as she saw it. "You pull yourself together
and get down here to visit," she said.
"When I got there, we cried together.
"The whole event was just one of those awful twists
of fate, a totally random event. I picked myself up as best I could and
I was back at work within a few weeks."
Three months after the shootings, by which point a
few people were beginning to move away from the area because of what
happened, Trevor's mother moved into town.
"She knew she wouldn't be alone with her grief there,'
says Trevor. "She coped admirably.
"For many years, images of Dad slumped dead at the
wheel of his car continued to pop up unexpectedly on television.
"I see the shootings as a part of Hungerford's
history and I don't think it would be right to brush it under the carpet.
"There is a memorial service planned for this month,
which I will be attending."
His sentiments are shared by housewife Sylvia Pascoe,
At the time, she was a St John Ambulance worker and
was awarded the Life Saving Medal of the Order of St John for saving her
then 14-year-old neighbour, Lisa Mildenhall.
Lisa was shot in South View in front of her house at
a range of five metres. After hearing gun shots, she had run outside and
Her sister Marie, then 13, ducked for cover but Lisa
froze and was shot four times.
Sylvia, who still lives in Hungerford with her
retired husband John, says: "I don't believe the massacre should ever be
forgotten or not spoken about, even in decades to come."
At 12.55pm on the day of the shootings, Sylvia, who
still lives in South View, doing the housework in her dressing-gown when
she heard the sound of breaking glass.
"My son Robert burst through the back door saying our
neighbour Lisa had been hurt," she recalls. "I ran out and into next
door's kitchen where Lisa was slumped, bleeding profusely."
In the 45 minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive,
Sylvia stemmed Lisa's bleeding.
Later, she'd discover that as well as the bullet
wound to her leg, Lisa had also been shot in the hip and twice in her
"The first ambulance couldn't get to us because
Michael Ryan was outside pointing his gun at them," she says.
"Two paramedics finally reached us by jumping over
the garden fence."
While Lisa was taken to hospital, Sylvia joined her
neighbours and huddled upstairs in a bedroom for four hours.
Her children later told her they'd come face-to-face
with Ryan while playing in front of the house.
He'd stood pointing a gun at them with a band of
bullets strung around his chest before opening fire.
Thankfully, none of them were hit.
During the hours they were huddled upstairs, Ryan
continued on his rampage. Among others, he killed his neighbour Ken
Clements, PC Brereton, his mother Dorothy when she pleaded with him to
stop shooting, Francis Butler, shot while walking his dog, and Douglas
Wainwright, George White and Eric Vardy, all shot while driving past.
"Around 4pm, a police marksman called out to us from
a field opposite, telling us to run from the house," recalls Sylvia.
"Bodies littered the street and blood-stained cars
were abandoned. We had to dodge around Mrs Ryan's body, as well as that
of our other neighbours.
"We headed towards the line of police at the bottom
of the road and were ushered into a shop for safety.
"We stayed there all night, and at 2am I remember
looking out to see police carrying away my neighbours in body bags. All
I felt was total shock.
"In the weeks following the shootings I remember
noticing that the town had gone strangely quiet and it was five days
before the birds began to sing again.
"For years, whenever I said where I was from, people
would immediately start talking about Michael Ryan. That has stopped now.
"Although essentially the children and I were fine,
what happened really affected my husband. He felt very guilty that he
hadn't been there to protect us."
Even deeper scars are evident at a petrol station in
nearby Marlborough, which was Ryan's second port of call. Owner Zubair
Dean knew Ryan as one of his regular customers.
Shortly after killing Susan Godfrey, Ryan drove into
the petrol station and fired at Zubair's then wife Kakoub, who was
serving that day.
Although the gun did not go off and Kakoub escaped
unhurt, the mental trauma left her unable to work again.
The couple have now divorced and it is obvious the
shootings and his wife's resulting ill health played a significant role
in the breakdown of their marriage.
The mayor of Hungerford at the time, Ron Tarry, is
now 81. Just as he did then, he is taking it upon himself to speak to
the Press in order to shield those who don't want attention as the
When he became mayor in the spring of 1987, he'd
expected the usual round of rotary lunches, garden parties and
Instead, Ron, who lives in Hungerford with his wife
Beryl, 78, in the same bungalow he's lived in for 40 years, found
himself trying to hold together a traumatised community.
He says: "The events of that day still live with us
all. How could anyone who was here ever forget what happened on that