‘It’s shocked the place to the core’ – Highlands community reacts after attacks

·4 min read
‘It’s shocked the place to the core’ – Highlands community reacts after attacks

Armed attacks which led to the death of one man and left several others injured have shocked a Highlands community “to its core”, SNP MP Ian Blackford said.

A 47-year-old man died following a spate of incidents on the Isle of Skye and in the Dornie area of Wester Ross on Wednesday.

An attacker, armed with a gun, also injured three other people who are in hospital.

The suspect, a 39-year-old man, has been arrested in connection with all of the incidents, which police said they believe are linked.

Mr Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said he was one of many in the community who were horrified by the attacks.

Speaking in the aftermath of the incidents, he said: “For people to hear the news of today’s incidents that have taken place in three separate occasions, I think it’s really shocked the place to the core, it’s shocked people that this sort of thing can happen.

“It’s a terrible, terrible day that these things have come to Skye and Lochalsh.

“It takes some time for some of these communities to recover from this and it’s really important that we make sure all the support is there for the families.”

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes described the news as “one of the worst days that I can recall in the history of Skye and Lochalsh”.

Kate Forbes comments
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, described the news as ‘one of the worst days that I can recall in the history of Skye and Lochalsh’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, who gave birth to a baby girl last week, said: “West Highland communities are close-knit, we are warm and welcoming, and this will shatter us to the core.

“It feels like our very heart has been ripped apart.

“I, and I am sure many others, never thought we would see such an awful day.”

The first attack happened at a property in the Tarskavaig area of Skye shortly before 9am on Wednesday.

Police found a 32-year-old woman with serious injuries, who was then taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

About half an hour later, gun shots were reported at another property in the Teangue area of the island, about eight miles away, where the 47-year-old man was pronounced dead when emergency services arrived.

The violence then spread to the mainland when there was another gun attack in Dornie.

A man was found with serious injuries and taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for treatment and a woman, whose condition is unknown, was taken to Broadford Hospital.

Local resident Gordon Matheson, who lives in Teangue, said the day had been “profoundly difficult” for the community.

“Families have suffered tremendous loss today,” he said.

Skye councillor John Finlayson described the news as tragic for the community.

He said: “I know how close-knit and big-hearted the communities in Skye and Lochalsh are and we will come together to support each other through this devastating time.

“I would like to thank the emergency services for everything they have done, and continue to do and our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that have been affected by the events of today which have hit everyone in our communities so hard.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland on Thursday, Mr Findlayson added: “I’ve never known tragedy like this and there’s two communities affected here: one on Skye and one on the mainland.

“I don’t think anyone on Skye or Lochalsh would have expected that.

“From what I hear there were a huge number of ambulances, police, fire service and helicopters in the area.

“Everyone was really alarmed. A lot of people didn’t appreciate what was happening.

“Now that we’re more aware of the tragic circumstances, I think everyone is still in shock and it is unbelievable.

“It’s a sad day, it’s a tragic day and a very tough day for us all.”

Another local councillor, Drew Millar, said the firearm incidents “shocked not just Skye and Lochalsh but the entire Highlands”

He said Highland Council has sent trained staff to support the affected families.

Local Tory councillor Ruaraidh Stewart said Skye and Lochalsh is a very close, resilient community which is “shocked and saddened by today’s incidents”.

“My heart breaks for the families involved in today’s tragic events,” he said.

“My prayers are with the bereaved family and the victims who are in hospital with serious injuries. I would like to thank the emergency services and the staff of Highland who have supported the families involved.”

Wester Ross councillor Liz Craft said: “I am devastated and shocked at what has happened.

“Our communities will be heavily impacted by this and we will do all we can to support them through.”

On behalf of Highland Council, convener Bill Lobban said: “We will be providing support to the communities and our partners in every way possible.”

He thanked emergency services for stopping the attack from spreading further than it did.