msnbc.com
updated 4/14/2011 4:39:49 AM ET 2011-04-14T08:39:49

An 18-year-old gamekeeper in training in the Scottish Highlands is believed to have accidentally shot dead his 16-year-old girlfriend and then killed himself out of remorse, according to reports.

The Herald newspaper reported Sophie Taylor, 16, died from gunshot wounds at a cottage on the Glenavon estate near Tomintoul, which is known as the highest village in the Highlands.

It said her boyfriend, Calum Murray, 18, was thought to have then shot himself in a tragedy that was witnessed by two friends.

The Aberdeen-based Press and Journal newspaper reported that the young couple had been sweethearts since meeting last summer at a Highland games event.

A lifelong friend of Taylor, Connor McPherson, told the paper that the teenager had "really liked Calum a lot."

Connor's father, Dru McPherson, said their death were like "a Greek tragedy."

"The story around the village is that there were two couples there and the two males were cleaning their guns and the gun went off in the house and killed Sophie, at which point Calum got up and went out to the front porch and shot himself," he told the Press and Journal.

"The only saving grace is apparently there was the other couple there who witnessed the whole thing. There will be no conjecture with this one. It's all sorted out," he added.

'Devastated at the loss'
Taylor's parents David, 41, and Katie, 44, said in a statement that they were a close family and were "completely shocked to have lost her so prematurely," the Herald reported.

"We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful daughter Sophie, who will be greatly missed by us, her brother and her grandparents as well as her many friends," the statement said.

"Sophie was bright and bubbly and loved spending time with her family and friends. We are immensely proud of her," they added.

The statement said Taylor had hoped to become a social worker.

The Herald said Murray was attending North Highland College in Thurso and had been posted to the estate as part of his training. The college principal, Dr Gordon Jenkins, described him as a "model student."

The paper said on Tuesday Taylor and a friend cooked had dinner at around 6 p.m. local time as Murray and a colleague arrived at the cottage.

It said police were called about 45 minutes later by ambulance service personnel, who said two people had been shot dead.

Police said no one else was being sought in connection with the deaths.

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