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Skye shooting: Everything we know so far about tragedy on the island

Police tape off a car as part of the crime scene in Dornie. Photo: Jason Hedges
Police tape off a car as part of the crime scene in Dornie. Photo: Jason Hedges

The sequence of events on Skye that led to the shooting of father John MacKinnon and led to three others being rushed to hospital has devastated the community.

Emergency services were first called to Tarskavaig on the island shortly before 9am on Wednesday August 10, which we now know was in response to reports of Rowena MacDonald being stabbed.

While medics airlifted her to hospital in Glasgow for treatment, a sequence continued with linked events in the Teangue area of the island and Dornie on the mainland.

Rowena MacDonald was airlifted to hospital in Glasgow following the incident.

Her husband Finlay MacDonald has now appeared in court charged with attempting to murder her, the murder of Mr MacKinnon, who was his brother-in-law, and the attempted murder of a couple in Lochalsh.

Below we have listed everything we know so far about the events that have shocked people on Skye, the Highlands and across Scotland.

Finlay MacDonald in court on four charges

Finlay MacDonald first appeared in private in Inverness Sheriff Court on Friday August 12, two days after the series of incidents on Skye and in Lochalsh.

The 39-year-old has been charged with the murder of John MacKinnon alongside the attempted murder of his wife Rowena MacDonald and the attempted murder of a couple in Dornie.

He made no plea during this appearance.

MacDonald returned to court via video link at Inverness Justice Centre on Friday August 19, where he again made no plea. He was fully committed and remanded in custody.

Police outside the home address of John MacKinnon at Teangue in Skye.

Died while trying to save others

Local accounts said Mr MacKinnon was shot while trying to save others.

The father-of-six was reportedly trying to prevent his attacker from getting hold of the gun.

In a statement released through police, Mr MacKinnon’s family have paid tribute to the “much-loved” community member, describing him as “a loving husband, father-of-six, brother, uncle and grandfather”.

John MacKinnon was pronounced dead at the scene after he was shot at his home.

Second shooting

After the incident in Teangue, the gunman drove about an hour to Dornie in Kyle of Lochalsh.

There, osteopath John Don MacKenzie and his wife Fay were attacked and shot repeatedly.

The incident was brought under control by three police officers, including off-duty inspector Bruce Crawford, who rushed to the scene to assist.

Mr MacKenzie remains in critical condition at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, while Mrs MacKenzie has been discharged from Broadford Hospital on Skye.

John Don MacKenzie and Fay MacKenzie were two of the victims in the incident in Skye.

Gun belonged to shooter

As investigations begin to examine what happened during the incident, police confirmed the gun used in the shootings was owned and registered to Finlay MacDonald, who is accused of carrying out the attacks.

It was also confirmed by Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett that a taser was used by police. A 50-strong task force, involving officers from across Scotland, is investigating.

The Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster is currently looking at firearms regulation in Scotland with Gordon Matheson, pastor of Sleat and Strath Free Church of Scotland, giving evidence.

Mr Matheson told MPs that MacDonald’s own family did not know he had a firearm.

Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett delivers a media statement and takes questions.

Donations flood in for victims

In the days following the incident, fundraisers have been set up in support of the victims.

More than £51,000 has been raised in aid of Mr MacKinnon’s family after local minister Gordon Matheson launched an appeal.

Meanwhile, Sleat Community Trust has raised more than £26,000 for Mrs MacDonald and her children.

The trust wrote: “Rowena is recovering well and she and her family would like to extend their thanks to those who have sent well wishes and provided support over the last few days.”

Rowena MacDonald was injured at her home in Tarskavaig.

Better support needed for Skye

Communities on Skye have been devastated by the events. In the aftermath, local SNP MP Ian Blackford called for a review of gun control.

However others, such as Councillor John Finlayson, have stressed better support and mental health facilities are needed for rural areas.

While giving evidence to MPs, Pastor Gordon Matheson has criticised the slow response to the needs of the community.

He said the two-hour wait for armed police from Inverness meant help arrived “too late”, sharing that there were also issues transporting Mrs MacDonald to hospital during the immediate aftermath.

Mr Matheson added that the follow-up support being offered is sorely lacking, with the majority of sessions being held infrequently and from a distance.

Councillor John Finlayson.

‘Life has changed forever’

While the busy summer tourist season on Skye continued uninterrupted, for many on the island life will never be the same again.

Visitors have spoken of their disbelief about how such a tragedy could happen in the community.

Meanwhile, former councillor John Gordon has called for funding to be devoted to the island to help residents recover.

And current Skye councillor Calum Munro has encouraged anyone who needs support to reach out to agencies for help.

‘Many will feel like life has changed forever’. The Skye tragedy was the talk of Portree.