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Dunblane:A cover-up,beyond a questionable doubt.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by sterling180, Feb 26, 2007.

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  1. sterling180

    sterling180 Member

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    Hello,yes it's once again,(not for the last time.) going over old ground about this massacre,which occured in the town of Dunblane,in Scotland,11 years ago.However,there have been new developments,in the truth surrounding the accuracy of events,on the 13th March 1996.

    A Special Report into the events leading to the Dunblane Massacre on 13 March 1996, produced by The Sportsman's Association

    Foreword by Frank Cook MP

    Following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 - and grievous tragedy it was most certainly - thousands of pistol shooters in this country were pilloried by the press and politicians. The result was that innocent people were found guilty of a crime they did not commit and, as a result, have since had their sport outlawed and their property confiscated.

    During the passage of the two 1997 Firearms Acts - one introduced by the Conservatives, the other by New Labour - pistol shooters were dismissed, smeared and branded as a cranky gun lobby. Shooters, many of whom had represented their country very successfully in international competitions, including the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, became an easy target for gesture politics. They were made to bear the blame which should have rightly been placed elsewhere.

    This report documents how public anger in the aftermath of the shootings was directed wrongly. Thomas Hamilton's crimes were not committed by Britain's 57,000 pistol shooters, but would have been prevented if the Central Scotland Police had applied the then firearms laws consistently, effectively, professionally and with the kind of judgement we have a right to expect. It draws on extracts from the official report into the shootings produced by Lord Cullen and so far unpublished transcripts of the enquiry, together with evidence either not given to, or apparently ignored by, Lord Cullen.

    The picture painted by this report demonstrates graphically how small, unintended misjudgements and oversights combined to produce a horror that the parents of Dunblane will never forget.

    It is time the public were given the full facts about that tragedy. And it is on that basis I commend this report not just to shooters but to all those who care about the truth, the civil rights of minorities and, more importantly, to all those who care that Governments use power carefully, responsibly and with proper deliberation.

    The Police Failings

    Two types of failings are catalogued under sections One and Two in this report.

    Section One concerns police failures to carry out any 'proper checks' when Hamilton applied for a Firearms Certificate
    Section Two concerns the police failings which allowed Hamilton to possess guns despite being an 'unfit person'.
    Section One - Proper Checks

    Failing Number One

    The first failing was probably the most far reaching. If proper checks had been made by the police from the outset, Hamilton would never have been allowed to buy a pistol and ammunition. Police suspicions about his character and dependability would have also been aroused to such an extent that they would never have dreamt of giving him a Certificate thereafter.

    Thomas Hamilton's first application for a Firearms Certificate was made on 5 February 1977, nearly twenty years before the Dunblane tragedy when he sought permission to buy a .22 rimfire target pistol and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

    Ever since 1920, every Firearms Act has required prospective owners to show 'good reason' why they should be allowed to purchase a gun. In most instances, the only acceptable reason to the police for owning guns was full membership of a legitimate shooting club where applicants could be closely vetted and taught how to shoot in a safe and responsible manner.

    On paper, Thomas Hamilton seemed to be well qualified.

    In answer to Question 15 on his 1977 Firearm Certificate Application Form - "Where do you intend to use the firearms?" Hamilton replied:

    "Callander Rifle and Pistol Club, or other suitable clubs and ranges".

    But it was a lie.

    In his evidence to the Cullen Inquiry, Raymond Reid, the secretary of Callander Rifle & Pistol club said that Hamilton had never been a member in 1977, had never applied for membership in 1977 and that the first time that he had attempted to join the club was just a few weeks before the Dunblane shootings in 1996.To underline the point, Reid also told the Inquiry that when Hamilton tried to join the club in 1996 he never mentioned any previous alleged membership of the club.

    Yet Hamilton's claim to be a member of the Callander Club was the MOST important fact that should have been checked by the police before his application was approved. Tragically, he was never asked to produce his membership card to the officer who was supposed to carry out the formal investigation into his background and character; and neither the Chairman nor the Secretary of the club were asked to verify Hamilton's alleged membership by the officer who approved Hamilton's application. Police systems were obviously inadequate.

    Right from the outset Hamilton was allowed to get away with a lie that he then built on again and again.

    Summary

    Hamilton lied when he applied for his first Firearms Certificate (FAC). Sadly the Police never checked his claim to be a full member of a local pistol club. If this claim had been checked Hamilton would have been exposed as a liar and never allowed to own a firearm.

    Failing Number Two

    If the first failing was bad, the next was inexplicable.

    On Feb 20 1977 Hamilton bought his first gun, a .22 rimfire Vostock semi-automatic pistol. Although developed for the Russian Olympic team, it was not an easy gun to shoot. Less than a month after buying the pistol, Hamilton took it to a Glasgow dealer, Bruce Waugh, and successfully exchanged it for a .22 rimfire Smith and Wesson revolver.

    This transaction was illegal.

    Guns cannot be swapped like stamps or conkers. Sales and exchange of firearms are subject to strict legal procedures, none of which were followed in this case.

    Hamilton did not have police permission to buy the Smith and Wesson. His Firearm Certificate only covered the Vostock.

    Waugh had no right to sell him the gun without a prior variation to Hamilton's Firearm Certificate.

    This illegal transaction ought to have been investigated. Instead, it appears nothing was done.

    According to Waugh he told Hamilton that he could not swap the Vostock for the Smith & Wesson without prior police permission. Rather he advised Hamilton to return to Stirling and seek such consent.

    But Hamilton was reluctant to do this. According to a letter written by Waugh to a researcher for this study dated the 26 August 1997:

    "He (Hamilton) complained of a heavy workload and said it would be nearly impossible for him to get back to see us for some time and asked if we would phone Central Scotland Police to request, under these circumstances, whether they would give us authority to exchange guns at the time of visit. I believe we received such authority and having completed the necessary paperwork we stressed that Mr Hamilton should take his Firearm Certificate into Central Scotland Police, either on his way home, or at latest early the next day so that the appropriate entries.... could be made to his Certificate by his police force".

    Hamilton did nothing of the kind.

    He neither contacted the police nor visited them to report this exchange. At the same time there seems to have been no police follow up to the alleged over-the-phone variation or even a file note made at the time.

    Worse was to come. On 6 April 1977 the gun dealer notified the Stirling Police of Hamilton's sale/purchase of the Vostock/Smith & Wesson. Again nothing happened to either men. If proper procedures had been followed at this stage, that information ought to have been logged, checked against Hamilton's file - where the discrepancy between the gun stated on his certificate (the Vostock) and the gun now known to be in his possession (the Smith & Wesson) would have been discovered - and immediate action taken againt both men.

    Surprisingly, Lord Cullen made no comment about these events in his report.

    Summary

    The police failed to check their records after Waugh had informed them that Hamilton had purchased a gun illegally.

    Failing Number Three

    The illegal purchase of the Smith & Wesson revolver eventually came to light four months later when Hamilton applied to buy another gun. On an application dated 19/8/77 Hamilton admitted ownership of the Smith & Wesson and sought permission to buy a .22 rifle and a .22 semi-automatic pistol, again citing membership of the Callander club.

    What did the police do when they discovered Hamilton had broken the law?

    A file note attached to his August application and signed 'A.MacKay Insp' dated 26/8/77, speaks for itself.

    "Hamilton seen and warned verbally by me on 26/8/77 that he should not have acquired the .22 Smith & Wesson revolver without first applying for a variation of Certificate. Hamilton fully accepts responsibility but states he was misinformed by the firearms dealer in Glasgow regarding proper procedure. Existing certificate will now require deleting all reference to .22 Vostok pistol.

    This matter was reported by PC Anderson, Stirling, at which time (6.4.77) the necessary amendment should have been made to this certificate".

    Although Hamilton was let off by Inspector MacKay, it still might have been prudent for the police to have checked his version of the transaction with Mr Waugh, if only to discover who was telling the truth about the exchange. After all, if Hamilton was telling the truth that he was misinformed by Waugh about the proper procedures, perhaps Waugh had made similar mistakes on other occasions. In short, were there other firearms floating around Glasgow that were unrecorded and unreported?

    Or maybe it was Hamilton who was lying? That Waugh had indeed told him to report the transaction to the police the moment he got home but that Hamilton had chosen to ignore the advice. What kind of person would do such a thing? And what else might he have done? If there had been a proper investigation of this incident at the time perhaps other lies, like Hamilton's alleged membership of the Callander Club, might also have been uncovered.

    And what about police procedures in the case? Was it usual for Firearms Certificates to be varied over the phone in the way that Waugh and Hamilton alleged? If it happened why wasn't a file note kept of the conversation? Implicitly the police seem to have accepted that something was said between Waugh and a relevant officer. But what and with whom? And why wasn't there an immediate follow up to PC Anderson's report on 6/4/77?

    What we can be sure of is that, in just a few months, Hamilton had:

    1. Lied about his membership of the Callander club.

    2. Lied about what the Glasgow gun dealer had allegedly told him and

    3.Failed to notify the police about the sale and purchase of a pistol, contrary to the Firearms Act.

    If the police had enforced the then existing legislation rigorously, carried out the checks required of them and implemented the law as it stood at the time, Hamilton's Firearms Certificate could have been revoked for any one of these deceptions or failings. Without a Firearm Certificate, Hamilton would have been obliged to dispose of his firearms and would have been unable legally to acquire any further firearms.

    Summary

    Hamilton was allowed to get away with the illegal firearms exchange. All he received was a verbal warning. No proper investigation into this illegal exchange was ever mounted.

    Failing Number Four

    In November 1979 Hamilton applied for a further variation to his Firearms Certificate. He wanted more powerful guns. Once again, few checks seem to have been made and the following month he was given permission to purchase a .357 Magnum revolver and a .270 rifle to hold 100 rounds of ammunition for each firearm and to purchase or acquire 50 rounds for each at any one time. Both guns were bought over the next two days. The .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver was the firearm he later used to kill himself. The rifle was sold before his death.

    On this occasion Hamilton did not plead membership of Callander Rifle & Pistol Club as his "good reason" for wanting firearms. Rather he stated that he was a member of the Dunblane Rifle Club and that he was awaiting membership of the Clyde Valley Pistol Club (CVPC).

    In fact, he seems to have gone further, avoiding any mention of the Callander Club whatsoever. Reading the application it was as if Hamilton had never been a member of the club. Yet no-one in the police seems to have made any checks with the Callander Club secretary about whether Hamilton had resigned or had been kicked out. Once again there seems to have been a willingness to accept anything that Hamilton said at face value.

    Nor is it obvious that he even belonged to the new clubs he cited.

    Membership records of the CVPC were removed by the police in the aftermath of the Dunblane tragedy. Unfortunately it is not clear whether they were returned intact.

    The CVPC's records were, anyway, incomplete. A change of secretary in the mid-1980s had resulted in the loss of some club books. Other uncertainties exist.

    Even so, despite travels by a researcher for this study, there is no record in the club cash record books from 12th December 1979 to 13th February 1981 of Hamilton having bought ammunition at the club, paid a range fee at the club or having bought a cup of coffee at the club.

    The first record we could find of Hamilton at the CVPC is a signature in the visitors' book on the 23rd October 1984; almost five years after he was supposed to have applied for membership. Members of CVPC interviewed for this study have no recollection of Hamilton having shot with them. In particular, they have no recollection of him belonging to the club or attending the club at the time he was seeking a variation to his Firearm Certificate permitting an upgrade to full-bore target shooting. On the other hand, the police claim to have evidence confirming his membership of the club.

    Lord Cullen is unusually imprecise on these points using the words "probably" and "perhaps" respectively (Cullen para 6.30) about Hamilton's alleged membership of the Dunblane Rifle CLub and the Clyde Valley Pistol Club during this period.

    Summary

    No check was made into why Hamilton had apparently left a local pistol club. Had such a check been made earlier misleading statements would have been discovered. Nor is it clear that he ever joined other clubs as he claimed. Even the Cullen report is vague.

    Failing Number Five

    More worryingly, there is evidence that even if these membership claims had been true they were still insufficient to constitute a 'good reason' for possessing fullbore firearms as neither the Dunblane Rifle Club nor the Clyde Valley Pistol Club ranges were licensed for anything above .22 calibre.

    The Range Safety Certificates relating to both the Dunblane Rifle Club and the Clyde Valley Pistol Club (CVPC) only allowed .22 rimfire firearms to be used. There seems to have been no police challenge to Hamilton's claim that membership of these clubs was a compelling 'good reason' to possess fullbore firearms.

    It appears that Hamilton was given permission to acquire a .357 Smith & Wesson without the authorising officer knowing the limitations applicable to these ranges.

    Although Lord Cullen made no comment about this application it now appears that not all the facts about this application and its subsequent approval have received the publicity they deserve which has been to the detriment of the shooting sportsmen and women who have consequently lost their sport.

    Handwriting experts consulted for this study believe that some of Hamilton's written answers on his November 1979 application form are not in his handwriting. It is suggested that sections have been completed by someone else - probably a police officer.

    There is no mention of this in Lord Cullen's report.

    Of course, there is probably a wholly innocent explanation for this form filling. Most of us find officialdom difficult. Police officers should not be criticised for helping a member of the public.

    Whatever the innocence of the explanation, however, it still remains remarkable that nothing has been said about this handwriting discrepancy. Especially, as it now seems that Hamilton could not have used either gun at the clubs or ranges he listed.

    Summary

    Neither of the clubs Hamilton claimed to have joined, or was about to join, possessed range facilities for fullbore firearms. Hamilton was allowed to possess guns of a higher calibre than .22, and did not have access to any range in the area on which they could have been used. The police failed to check these facts.
     
  2. sterling180

    sterling180 Member

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    Poor judgement was compounded by poor management. Detective Sergeant Hughes was
    never invited to explain his misgivings to the senior officers responsible for renewing or revoking Hamilton's Firearms Certificate nor was he consulted about the rejection of his advice. No conversation (Cullen, para 6.42) between those responsible for renewing or revoking Hamilton's Firearms Certificate took place with Hughes and no copy of Hughes' memo about Hamilton's unsuitability to possess a Firearms Certificate was recorded in Hamilton's firearms file or entered into Criminal Intelligence Records.

    Lord Cullen subsequently called this and other omissions:

    "a glaring deficiency in the operation of the force's information systems" (Cullen, para 6.72)

    Others might be harsher in their judgements.

    Summary

    Internal police procedures were deficient in logging information.

    No record of DS Hughes' investigation of Hamilton's treatment of the boys at his clubs in 1991 was entered into Hamilton's Firearms Certificate File.

    Failing Number Twelve

    Eventually, during his investigations into Hamilton's possible abuse of young boys, Sergeant Hughes discovered that Hamilton had a Firearms Certificate. On 11 November 1991 he thus wrote to CID headquarters urging the withdrawal of this Certificate.

    "I am firmly of the opinion that Hamilton is an unsavoury character and unstable personality.... I would contend that Mr Hamilton is a risk to children.... and that he appears to me to be an unsuitable person to possess a Firearm Certificate in view of the number of occasions he has come to the adverse attention of the police and his apparent instability... I respectfully request that serious consideration is given to withdrawing this man's Firearms Certificate as a precautionary measure..." (Cullen, para 6.41)

    It was a view endorsed by his superior, DPI Holden, who wrote on the memo:

    "I do agree with DS Hughes' appraisal of Mr Hamilton. Do we have any latitude for progress in respect of the revocation of his certificate?" (Cullen, para 6.42)

    The answer was disappointing. Senior officers argued that, as Hamilton had never been convicted of any crime, it was neither possible nor fair to revoke his Firearm Certificate.

    But gun ownership is not an unconditional right. Applicants must prove their fitness and competence. This obviously goes beyond whether someone has a serious criminal record. The police failed to use the discretionary powers given to them by parliament.

    Summary

    DS Hughes recommendations, endorsed by DPI Holden, that Hamilton's Firearms Certificate should be withdrawn were overturned by senior officers who failed to enforce the law properly.


    Failing Fourteen

    Sensing Hughes' hostility, Hamilton resorted to the same tactics that he had used against PC Gunn two years earlier, making a formal complaint about Hughes to the Chief Constable and writing to local MPs and councillors claiming unfair persecution.

    In his report exonerating Hughes of these complaints, Chief Inspector Ferguson wrote:

    "I have completed 30 years police service, a long number of these as a CID officer. Throughout these years, I interviewed many aggressive people, many reluctant witnesses, many complainers against the police but I can honestly say the interviews with Mr Hamilton were the most exasperating of my career" (Cullen, para 4.46)

    Predictably, when Ferguson refused to support Hamilton's complaints, he too was abused. Finally, the Chief Constable sought legal advice whether to sue Hamilton for defamation (Cullen, para 4.46) Yet never once did any of these senior officers remove Hamilton's Firearms Certificate.

    We do not know what they thought about him in private although it would be fair to guess that some would have regarded him as a trouble making nuisance, a quasi-paedophile, a 'nutter' with a persecution complex. But whatever they thought in private, in public they allowed him to accumulate even more firearms and considerable amounts of fullbore ammunition.

    Summary

    No records of Hamilton's harassment of DS Hughes and CI Ferguson or of DS Hughes' subsequent exoneration were made in Hamilton's Firearms Certificate file.

    Failing Fifteen

    Further complaints were received by the police about Hamilton's boys clubs in 1992 when they unsuccessfully sought a warrant to search his house (Cullen, para 4.58); in October 1993 when he was again interviewed about photographing half dressed boys (Cullen, para 4.60); and in December 1994 (Cullen, para 4.63). Other organisations also had misgivings.

    Summary

    No record of complaints to police in 1992 about Hamilton's boys clubs were made in his Firearms Certificate file.
     
  3. sterling180

    sterling180 Member

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    Failing Thirteen


    Failing Sixteen

    So far we have covered Hamilton's illegal acquisition of a firearm, the failure of the police to check his claims of club membership, the way he was allowed to acquire firearms without sufficient verification and his history of acrimonious disputes with the police and the failure of police systems to either log these incidents or remove Hamilton's Firearms Certificate.

    But Hamilton also infringed other firearm laws - and still the police failed to act.

    In May 1989, Mrs Doreen Hagger became upset after her son had attended one of Hamilton's summer camps. She was sickened by claims that he had rubbed suntan oil over some boys and then asked them to do the same to him. On the 16th of that month, she assaulted Hamilton as he left a boys club meeting, pouring suntan oil over him in the presence of a journalist and a press photographer. According to Mrs Hagger, she wanted to be taken to court so that her claims that he was a closet paedophile would trigger a proper investigation. Instead, Hamilton refused to make any complaint and remained calm and polite (Cullen, para 4.37)

    Around the same time as the above incident, Mrs Hagger also reported Hamilton to the Stirling Police after discovering that he had taken two pistols and a rifle to the home of a boys' club member in Linlithgow. Photographs were subsequently taken of the family posing with the firearms.

    When Mrs Hagger's complaint was received by the police a sergeant from the Bathgate station interviewed the family who seemed to have mixed recollections about the event, not feelilng frightened but at the same time, not feeling entirely happy with someone bringing firearms into their home. The sergeant did not feel that Hamilton's conduct was normal. He did not think that a Firearm Certificate holder should act in that way. He sent a report to Inspector Nimmo of the Stirling Police. Eventually a report was sent to DCC McMurdo stating:

    "It may be quite a harmless display of weapons, but nevertheless an action which leaves a lot to be desired" (Cullen, para 4.69)

    Once again, however, no formal action was taken and no copy of Inspector Nimmo's memo was put into Hamilton's firearms file or entered into Criminal Intelligence Records.

    The law is quite clear. Firearms are neither toys nor trophies and certainly not props for Bonny and Clyde style family photos. Firearms owners must act responsibly.

    If DS Hughes' advice had been properly filed and Inspector Nimmo's misgivings recorded it is possible that Hamilton's Firearms Certificate would not have been renewed in February 1992 when he was also given authority to purchase a second .357 revolver. As it was the Chief Superintendent, who approved this renewal, had never seen a copy of the Hughes' memo and knew little of Hamilton's reputation (Cullen, para 6.44)

    Summary

    A complaint was made that Hamilton took some of his firearms into the home of a member of one of his boys clubs. Yet again, no details of this complaint were ever registered in his file. No formal action, such as giving Hamilton an official warning, was taken.

    Failing Number Seventeen

    Still the same failings kept happening. In 1993 there was a further police investigation of Hamilton's activities. The investigating officer, DC Taylor, spoke to a former county commissioner for the Scouts who described Hamilton as "a bully with grandiose ideas". Taylor concluded that Hamilton had been up to no good with the boys and, although he encountered nothing to give him concern about Hamilton's fitness to hold a Firearm Certificate, nevertheless believed that he had been guilty of criminal conduct with youngsters. Yet if Hamilton was suspected of abusing children surely the police should have tried to find ways of debarring him from owning a firearm, perhaps by checking his firearm applications and shooting record?

    Summary

    As with the failure to log DS Hughes' concerns and Inspector Nimmo's misgivings, none of DC Taylor's suspicions in 1993 were logged in Hamiton's Firearms Certificate file or with Criminal Intelligence records.

    Failing Number Eighteen

    In 1995 Hamilton's Firearms Certificate once again came up for renewal. According to the Cullen report DC Anne Anderson was assigned to the role of enquiry officer. It was her first enquiry. When she met Hamilton she had a "strange feeling" about him; she felt disturbed by the way he looked at her and felt slightly intimidated. She was not happy about signing the form but there was nothing in criminal intelligence files to confirm her instincts and a senior officer, whose evidence on this point Lord Cullen chose not to believe, told her that there was nothing against Hamilton and that nothing could be done. With hindsight it was perhaps the last chance to have prevented the tragedy.

    And so a man suspected of being a danger to children, who had harried police officers, who had been thrown out of the Scottish Scouts Movement, and who had acted irresponsibly with firearms was allowed to own four pistols and buy several thousand rounds of ammunition just weeks before he killed 16 children and their teacher.

    Eighteen serious police failings that have been forgotten while 57,000 law-abiding people have lost their businesses, friends and property.

    Summary

    A further police investigation into Hamilton's activities in 1993 was never entered into his CID file and thus DC Anderson was not able to confirm her suspicions about Hamilton when she checked his file.

    Failings Eight & Nine

    Failure led to more failure. In 1995 - barely a year before the tragedy and with suspicions about Hamilton's suitability to own firearms mounting (see later) - his Firearm Certificate was routinely renewed, apparently once again without the proper checks being made or the appropriate questions being asked. Inexplicably the police did not question the fact that:

    1. The lack of purchases of ammunition on Hamilton's certificate showed that he was not shooting to any significant extent.

    2/ As Hamilton haad not used his previous variations for the purchase of a 7.62 rifle and a .22 rifle why did he still need them?

    Three years on we have never received an answer.

    Summary

    His lack of ammunition purchases recorded on his Firearm Certificate and lack of attendance according to club records make it clear that he was not shooting to any significant extent. Yet no conclusions seem to have been drawn from these facts and the police carried forward Hamilton's .22 and 7.62 rifle variations when he was not using them. Once again they failed to follow the spirit of the law.

    SECTION TWO - An Unfit Person

    Failing Number Ten

    So far we have only looked at one aspect of the police's dealings with Hamilton - their failure to enforce those sections of the firearms laws concerning the 'good reason' for possessing firearms.

    Yet at the same time as Hamilton was being granted authority to possess firearms and ammunition contrary to the intentions of the firearms laws, there were also growing misgivings within the Scottish police force about his 'fitness' to own any form of firearm.

    However, in another catalogue of misjudgements or office failings, none of these doubts were properly filed or recorded.

    Worse still, an impassioned plea from one senior officer for the withdrawal of Hamilton's Firearms Certificate, nearly five years before the Dunblane tragedy, was rejected.

    During his Inquiry Lord Cullen discovered a disturbing number of incidents involving Hamilton which troubled police officers but which led to nothing. Most of these incidents related to a chain of boys' clubs set up and run by Hamilton. But they also included instances of abuse and aggression towards the police.

    In 1973, four years before acquiring his first Firearm Certificate, Hamilton had been appointed an Assistant Leader with the Scottish Scout Movement. Within a year he had been sacked and blacklisted by the Movement who feared his intentions towards the boys and doubted his general competence. No mention of this event was recorded in Hamilton's Firearms File when this fact came to light.

    Thereafter Hamilton ran a succession of private boys clubs - 15 between 1981 and 1996. In 1988 he held what he called his 55th summer camp for boys.

    During this time, as with his Firearm Certificate applications, he frequently lied to the police and educational authorities about the management of his clubs and his qualifications. Although there were widespread suspicions aobut his motives and behaviour there was a recurring difficulty about gathering sufficient evidence to justify a formal prosecution against him for indecency or child abuse. Misgivings and unease were one thing, hard evidence frustratingly hard to come by. At different times, various police officers sought a warrant to search his home, considered charging him with obstruction of the police, submitted reports to the Procurator Fiscal's office about him, and on two occasions, contemplated legal action for defamation.

    Yet at the same time he was not only allowed to keep his Firearm Certificate, but also to acquire additional guns.

    In 1988 the police were asked to investigate complaints about one of Hamilton's summer camps on Inchmoan Island, Loch Lomond. On 20 July 1988 two police officers from the Strathclyde force paid a visit. Although they found the site messy and one of the officers, PC Gunn, was uneasy about Hamilton in a vague and indefinable way (Cullen, para 4.25) they found nothing criminal. Despite allegations that Hamilton had slapped one or two boys for alleged bullying or being cheeky, the evidence was contradictory and unreliable.

    But Hamilton disliked the tone of the investigation. In what soon became his standard response to anyone who delved into his private life, Hamilton began making complaints to PC Gunn's superior officers, claiming that the constable was an incompetent liar.On one occasion he called at Gunn's station and only left after Gunn threatened to arrest him. In November of the same year Hamilton made an official complaint about PC Gunn who was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. In his evidence to the Cullen Inquiry, Gunn complained that Hamilton was untrustworthy, vindictive, wholly unreasonable, malicious and obsessive and that he (Gunn) had considered suing Hamilton for defamation until deciding that there would be little point in doing so (Cullen, para 4.30)

    Summary

    No record of Hamilton's investigation by PC Gunn in 1988 or his subsequent persecution of that officer was made in the Firearms Certificate file.

    Failing Number Eleven

    Two years later there was a similar incident with a different officer.

    On 23 July 1991 the Child Protection Unit at Bannockburn received a complaint about the running of another summer camp, this time at Millarochy Bay, Loch Lomond.

    The complaints concerned assault and the video taping of boys, aged 6-11.

    Several officers visited the camp on the 23rd. Two days later the head of the Unit, DS Paul Hughes, also visited the camp to see it for himself. Thereafter DS Hughes asked Hamilton to provide him with the slides and still photographs that he had taken of the boys. Some boxes were never handed over. Although the photographs that were recovered by the police showed boys in swimming trunks there was no explicit indecency. This did not stop Hughes becoming increasingly concerned about Hamilton's personality and what he perceived as his unhealthy interest in children.

    In a re-run of the previous incident, these investigations provoked Hamilton to start a letter writing campaign of abuse against Hughes.

    But Hughes was undeterred and decided to formally interview Hamilton about his conduct towards the boys. However, because he was now the subject of an official complaint by Hamilton, the Detective Superintendent took advice from the Procurator Fiscal's office as to how he should proceed. The PF advised that Hamilton should only be asked to attend on a voluntary basis.

    No-one who knew Hamilton was surprised when he then declined to do so.

    Hughes then drew up a lengthy report including ten draft charges against Hamilton.

    But again nothing happened after the Procurator Fiscal's Office decided that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the charges. Hamilton's conduct, it seems, had bordered on the criminal, but had not quite crossed the line.


    All of the following,was extracted from some of the files,that were given a 100 year closure-order,on to them,10 years ago.Just think,that 10 years later,some of this classified information,is made public.

    More will be available in the future,I hope.
     
  4. sterling180

    sterling180 Member

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    Written by Mike Wells November 6th 2006

    GREAT SCOTT

    After the Dunblane massacre in 1996 all documentation pertaining to the enquiry and the witness statements presented to Lord Cullen in October 1996 were unlawfully subjected to a 100 year closure order. Shooting enthusiasts were outraged, even John F Kennedy’s assassination was only subjected to a 50 year closure and that will become public domain in 2013, hopefully in my lifetime.

    William Scott became interested in the 100 year closure order in 1999, after he learned of Lord Burton’s question in the House of Lords. Lord Burton requested that Central Scotland Police Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes report be lodged in the House of Lords library. Lord Burton’s request was refused. William a retired businessman began to start digging, he spent seven years writing letters to the British Government and the Scottish Parliament. Calling for a new Public Inquiry, as William holds the then Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and the Crown office responsible for the unlawful closure order.

    There is more to justify a new inquiry than detailed in William’s followingletter.
    Lord Cullen did not read any of the police reports nor did he have a hand in selecting those who would give evidence to the Inquiry. His report therefore was prepared from evidence given to him by selected witnesses and can therefore be considered seriously flawed.


    24/10/06

    Dear

    A similar letter to the one you are now reading has been sent to all Members of both Houses of Parliament and to all Members of the Scottish Parliament.
    In the past some have signified their support for establishing a new inquiry into the Dunblane Tragedy without wishing to personally instigate proceedings. I should like to move forward. If after reading this letter you are of the view that there is a case for setting up a fresh inquiry please let me know. I shall then endeavour to arrange meetings between interested parties. I assure you that none of the names forwarded to me will be made public before the setting up of a new inquiry is announced after which disclosure will of course be inevitable.
    My interest in this subject began in November 1999 when I was informed that Lord Burton had requested that a report to the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane Tragedy be placed in the House of Lords library. Lord Sewell refused the request as the report was subject to a 100 year closure order. I thought this unusual so started to make enquiries. Correspondence continues to this day.
    The Crown Office claimed that the closure was to protect the identity of children. It is now known that tens of thousands of pages were subject to closure and it is beyond belief that each and every one could contain the names of children. Why could a felt tipped pen not be used? This has now been done to allow the release of some of the papers. Why were they closed in the first place?
    Lord James Douglas-Hamilton in a written Commons reply, confirmed by Lord Cullen, stated that “There was in fact very little evidence of any acts of indecency on the part of Thomas Hamilton. So far as can be established no incident amounting to sexual interference with male children was reported to the police while Hamilton was alive.” Who are the children whose identity needs to be protected? Are there other reasons for the closure?
    A Police Inspector Keenan assured a very concerned parent that he had evidence from other boys who said the same as her son and that Thomas Hamilton would be prosecuted. Why did this not happen and why were Lord James Douglas-Hamilton and Lord Cullen not aware of Inspector Keenan’s findings or if they were why did they conceal the fact?
    The legality of the closure is open to question. The Lord Advocate and Crown Office officials write profusely to all those who enquire about the closure. Usually they receive a standard letter which commences with a detailed account of how the Inquiry was set up. This is irrelevant information that was never asked for. There follows a description of the guidelines and criteria followed in the administration of closure orders but nowhere any mention of where the authority came from to permit closure.


    2 The following comments should be of interest.
    Colin Boyd Q.C. when Lord Advocate wrote on many occasions that “I have provided Mr. Scott with an explanation as to how the decision was taken to impose a closure period of 100 years on the documents to the Dumblane Inquiry.” An explanation as to how the decision was taken in no way explains where the authority came from to allow closure of these documents.
    The decision to impose the closure order was taken at a meeting on 13th January 1997. At that meeting was the Clerk to the Inquiry and representatives of the Scottish Records Office, the Police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Lord Cullen informed me by letter that those who attended that meeting did not have the authority, individually or collectively, to impose a closure order.
    The Police were represented at that meeting on 13th January 1997 by Detective Chief Superintendent Ogg of Central Scotland Police. At the time, as widely reported in the press, many considered it wrong that Central Scotland Police undertook the investigation of the massacre when it was conceivable that their incompetence or mis-judged favouritism was ultimately influential in permitting the Tragedy to occur. This may just be coincidence but it has been alleged that Mr. Ogg was in some way involved with the salvage of a cabin cruiser owned by Thomas Hamilton. It certainly seems wrong that a senior member of the Police Force which was severely criticised a few months earlier should have been in a position to close for 100 years documents that that might damage the careers or reputations of some of his colleagues.
    The Lord Advocate, now retired, was content to allow the widespread belief that there was legal authority for the closure until he was forced to admit that there was no statutory basis for the 100 year closure. He had no other option after the Keeper of the Records of Scotland informed me that there was no statutory basis for the closure.
    In a letter to a Member of the Scottish Parliament Colin Boyd Q.C. admitted that there was no document to give authority for the closure. It is strange that papers can be hidden for 100 years without some form of written authority.
    Ms. Lynda Clark Q.C. when Advocate General for Scotland wrote that “under Scots law there is no legislation which provides for a hundred year closure.” She further wrote “that understanding of the way in which closure of public records is operated is not the same as legal authority.”
    Mr. Leolin Price Q.C. wrote “in recent years guidance, guidelines and the like are issued by departments and treated as if they are law; but they are not.”
    I realise that you may consider the matter of the closure academic and not worth troubling about. If this is so consider this; at present the situation is that bureaucrats, free of any parliamentary control, can hide documents which may contain evidence of their incompetence or criminal activity for 100 years.
    The fact that the closure is most probably illegal makes a strong case on its own for holding a fresh inquiry but there is much more than that.

    3 At the time of the shooting there was an off-duty police officer in the school. He did not give evidence nor was his statement presented to the Inquiry. When I queried this the Lord Advocate stated that his presence was not required as a student teacher saw Hamilton shoot himself. The student teacher was not called to give evidence either although parts of his statement were read out at the Inquiry. Nowhere in the evidence given to the Inquiry did the student teacher state that he saw Hamilton shoot himself.
    You may be wondering why I have brought up the subject of how Hamilton died since the majority no doubt consider the way of his going of little consequence. I bring it to your attention because it raises the very serious question as to the truth of what was put before the Inquiry and ultimately the findings of Lord Cullen.
    It was intended that the statement made by the off-duty police officer be hidden for 100 years but was released under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. He recounts in great detail his movements after arriving at the school and the people he met on his way to the gymnasium so his description of the situation in the gym should not have been ignored. Was there a reason for this?
    The off-duty officer said that Hamilton had one holster, that there were two pistols and that he was wearing a black boiler suit. The scene of crime officer giving evidence to the Inquiry said that Hamilton had four holsters, that there were two pistols and two revolvers and that he was wearing black corduroy trousers. Was one lying or were they both telling the truth?
    There seems no reason why either of them should lie so how could they both be telling the truth? They could both be telling the truth if the body had been tampered with.
    Was the body moved? There is evidence to suggest it was.
    Dr. J. Beattie, then Consultant Paediatrician at Stirling Royal Infirmary, at a press conference on the evening of 13th March 1996 informed the journalists present that he did not see Thomas Hamilton’s body. When giving evidence at the Inquiry he stated that there were a number of dead and injured children and one dead adult in the gym. He confirmed that the dead adult was the teacher Mrs Mayor. Where was Hamilton’s body?
    In an attempt to resolve the matter I wrote to Dr. Beattie at Yorkhill Hospital where I believed he was now working. I asked if he could confirm that Thomas Hamilton’s body was not in the gymnasium of Dunblane Primary School at 10.15am on 13th March 1996. I did not receive a reply so not knowing if he had received the original I sent a copy. Still no response. As I was not really sure that he was at Yorkhill I sent an e-mail to the Hospital with a request to whoever opened it to please inform me if Dr. Beattie was on the staff. This produced a response but not one I should have expected from a member of the so-called caring profession. I received a most aggressive e-mail from Dr. Beattie who threatened to have me charged with harassment if I or any member of my group contacted him again. I wonder what gave him the impression that I was part of a group. I exchange information but in no way can that be described as being part of a group in the sense that Dr. Beattie used it. He said that he was not going to reply as he would not add to conspiracy theories which

    4 of course is exactly what he did. If he had stated that the body was in the gym and explained his previous statements that would have been the end of the matter.
    I wrote to Mr. Haire who was a member of the first ambulance crew to arrive at the school. He phoned me and we had a long friendly conversation but at the outset he told me that his boss had informed him that he could give me no information about events of 13th March 1996 due to the Data Protection Act. He gave me the name and address of a senior officer in Stirling who he thought might be able to assist me. Before I could write to Stirling a letter arrived from Mr. G. Gordon, General Manager of the Scottish Ambulance Services based in Dundee. He requested that I made no further attempt to contact Mr. Haire or any other member of the Ambulance Service. I pointed out that he only employed Mr. Haire; he did not own him. Mr. Gordon admitted that this was the case and that Mr. Haire was free to talk to whosoever he wished in his own time. Mr. Haire did not reply to a further letter. Why should a letter from me to a member of the Ambulance Service in Callander land on the desk of the General Manager in Dundee?
    I wrote to the student teacher who according to the Lord Advocate saw Hamilton shoot himself. He did not reply.
    Finally I wrote to a local G.P. who had attended the school on the morning of 13th March 1996. He did not reply.
    Naturally if Thomas Hamilton’s body was moved it has to be asked why.
    If it was suicide then there would have been no need to move him. On the other hand if it was suicide why so much secrecy?
    Did somebody shoot him? If so why was that person not hailed as a hero? Could the reason be that he did not wish his identity known?
    SKY News showed a bullet hole in a glass door. Experts suspected that the bullet was fired from outside the gym. They have been unable to confirm this as SKY will not release the film to enable it to be examined closely.
    Was Thomas Hamilton a blackmailer? He certainly appeared to be living above his means.
    Was there a previous attempt to kill him when his boat caught fire and sank in Loch Lomond? This is the same boat that DCS Ogg was involved with.
    There are other matters that the Cullen Inquiry did not fully investigate.
    On the morning of 13th March 1996 Thomas Hamilton was seen talking to a man in a grey car. That man was never traced.
    The Inquiry was told that Hamilton left Stirling on the road to Dunblane and that he took 45 minutes to reach the Primary School. He did not leave Stirling by the direct route to Dunblane which is supported by the fact that he took 45 minutes to reach his destination whereas it is normally a 15 minute drive. Where did he go and who did he meet in that time?
    Hamilton had many visitors arriving in expensive cars. Who were these people and why were they visiting Hamilton? Why were they never identified?
    Hamilton appeared to have connections with Queen Victoria School. A housemaster was forced to resign after notifying his superiors of his concerns for the young people he was responsible for. Why was this not investigated?

    5 It is clear that there are real concerns over the investigation, conduct and findings of the Cullen Inquiry which can only be satisfied by the holding of a fresh inquiry.
    I realise that there are those who believe that the matter should be allowed to rest and that nothing should done that might cause more anguish to the bereaved parents but they more than anyone should surely wish to know the truth about events prior to and on that dreadful morning of 13th March 1996.
    A properly conducted fresh inquiry is required to look into all aspects of Hamilton’s life, associates and finances and in particular the conflicting evidence, the witnesses that were not called and Hamilton’s movements on the morning prior to the shooting. This would once and for all answer the questions that have been posed since Lord Burton made a simple request to have a police report placed in the House of Lords library many years ago.
    I trust you will support the call for a fresh inquiry and that I can look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,

    William W. Scott
     
  5. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Joined:
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    True West...Hotel California
    Accept these premises and the rest follows therefrom.
     
  6. Lucky

    Lucky Member

    Joined:
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    Calgary, near Rocky Mountains - Canada
    And then he went and shot to **** a school full of children, yet another failure. The police are duty-bound to protect us, so I've heard (even thought their oath makes no mention of protecting civilians). And there wasn't a single police officer there protecting those kids. That's simply inexcusable.
     
  7. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,385
    Wow.

    Sounds like banning guns and not finding the truth was the order of the day for Lord Cullen.
     
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