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Shooting tragedy girl laid to rest

A teenager who "touched the lives of so many people" has been laid to rest almost two weeks after she died in a shooting at a remote cottage in the Highlands.

Sophie Taylor, 16, was remembered as "bubbly, caring and loving" as a celebration of her life was held.

Around 1,000 mourners packed the Lecht Ski Centre near Tomintoul in Moray to hear of a girl who was "beautiful" with a "brilliant sense of humour".

It is thought Sophie was shot accidentally by her boyfriend, 18-year-old trainee gamekeeper Calum Murray, who then turned the gun on himself.

They were both found dead on April 12 on the Glenavon estate near Tomintoul, which is used for game shooting, deer stalking and fishing.

Michael Baker, who conducted the service, said: "Tragically we are here because of a terrible accident. I hope as we come to celebrate such a young life, 16 years, but still 16 years well lived, that we'll take the opportunity to reflect, to grieve, to come together as a community to say that last goodbye."

Sophie's parents David, 41, and Katie, 44, along with her brother David, 18, chose three songs to play during the service. The first song played was Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars before Mr Baker introduced Sophie's "lifelong friend" Sarah Foster.

Miss Foster told of going to the same schools, joining Sophie on family holidays to Spain and working together at the Glen Avon Hotel, saying: "Our paths will go different ways now but I will always remember you as a bubbly, caring, loving girl and I know you were very happy in the last few months."

A tribute was read by Mr Baker on behalf of Sophie's family which described her as their "beautiful baby girl" with an "encapsulating smile". The tribute also told of how she had started to go out with Mr Murray. "He was loving and respectful towards her, they were happy together. Calum soon became a part of everyday life," they said.

The funeral of her boyfriend took place on Saturday at Leochel Cushnie parish church near Alford, Aberdeenshire.

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