The events of 13 March 1996
3.1 In this chapter I will describe the circumstances of the shootings, and the response of teaching staff, emergency services and police to the incident. I will also set out a number of findings in regard to the firearms, ammunition and other equipment carried by Thomas Hamilton.
3.2 About 8.15 am Thomas Hamilton was seen by a neighbour to be scraping ice off a white van outside his home at 7 Kent Road, Stirling. They had a normal conversation. Some time later he drove off in the van in the direction of Dunblane. At about 9.30 am he parked the van beside a telegraph pole in the lower car park of Dunblane Primary School. (See Photograph). He took out a pair of pliers from a toolwrap and used them to cut the telephone wires at the foot of the telegraph pole. These did not serve the school but a number of adjoining houses. He then crossed the car park, carrying the weapons, ammunition and other equipment which I will describe later, and entered the school by way of a door on its north west side which was next to the toilets beside the gym. Had he used the main entrance to the school it was more likely that he would have been seen as there were many persons in the vicinity of the entrance at that time. The main school building had six entrances and two doors controlled by push bars for emergency exit. In addition to the main school building there were six hutted classrooms in the playground. Most of the huts had two doors, not including fire exits.
3.3 The school day had started at 9 am for all primary classes. Morning assemblies were held in the school's Assembly Hall which was situated between the dining area and the gymnasium. The school had 640 pupils, making it one of the largest primary schools in Scotland. The Assembly Hall was not large enough to accommodate the whole school at one time, with the consequence that assemblies were limited to certain year groups in rotation. On 13 March all primary 1, 2 and 3 classes had attended assembly from 9.10 am to 9.30 am. They consisted of a total of about 250 pupils, together with their teachers and the school chaplain. They included Primary 1/13 which was a class of 28 pupils, along with their teacher Mrs Gwen Mayor. This class had already changed for their gym lesson before attending assembly. 25 members of the class were 5 years of age: and 3 were 6 years of age. Mrs Mayor was 47 years of age.
3.4 At the conclusion of assembly all those present had dispersed to their respective classrooms, with the exception of Primary 1/13 who with Mrs Mayor had made their way to the gymnasium, passing the entrance which Thomas Hamilton used to gain access to the school, and entering the gymnasium by the doorway at its north end. A physical education teacher, Mrs Eileen Harrild, had already arrived there along with Mrs Mary Blake, a supervisory assistant, who was to relieve Mrs Mayor in order to enable her to attend a meeting. The children had been instructed to go to the centre and away from the equipment which was at the south end. Mrs Harrild had been talking to Mrs Mayor for a few minutes. As she was about to attend to the waiting class she heard a noise behind her that caused her to turn round. This was probably the sound of Thomas Hamilton firing two shots into the stage of the Assembly Hall and the girls toilet outside the gym. He then entered the gym. He was wearing a dark jacket, black corduroy trousers and a woolly hat with ear defenders. He had a pistol in his hand. He advanced a couple of steps into the gym and fired indiscriminately and in rapid succession. Mrs Harrild was hit in both forearms, the right hand and left breast. She stumbled into the open-plan store area which adjoined the gym, followed by a number of the children. Mrs Mayor was also shot several times and died instantly. Mrs Blake was then shot but also managed to reach the store, ushering some children in ahead of her.
3.5 From his position near the entrance doorway of the gym Hamilton fired a total of 29 shots in rapid succession. From that position he killed one child and injured others. During this shooting four injured children made their way to the store. In the store Mrs Blake and Mrs Harrild tried to console and calm the terrified children who had taken refuge there. The children cowered on the floor, lying helplessly in pools of blood hearing the screams and moans of their classmates in the gym, and waiting for the end or for help. Thomas Hamilton walked up the east side of the gym firing six shots. At a point midway along it he discharged 8 shots in the direction of the opposite side of the gym. He then advanced to the middle of the gym and walked in a semi-circle systematically firing 16 shots at a group of children who had either been disabled by the firing or who had been thrown to the floor. He stood over them and fired at point-blank range.
3.6 Meanwhile a child from Primary 7 class who had been sent on an errand by his teacher, and was walking along the west side of the gym heard loud banging and screaming. He looked in and saw Thomas Hamilton shooting. Thomas Hamilton shot at him. The child was struck by flying glass and ran off. It appears that Thomas Hamilton then advanced to the south end of the gym. From that position he fired 24 rounds in various directions. He shot through the window adjacent to the fire escape door at the south-east end of the gym. This may have been at an adult who was walking across the playground. Thomas Hamilton then opened the fire escape door and discharged a further 4 shots in the same direction from within the gym.
3.7 He then went outside the doorway and fired 4 more shots towards the library cloakroom, striking Mrs Grace Tweddle, a member of the staff, a glancing blow on the head. A teacher, Mrs Catherine Gordon, and her Primary 7 class who were using hut number 7 which was the classroom closest to the fire escape door saw and heard Thomas Hamilton firing from that direction. She immediately instructed her class to get down on the floor, just in time before he discharged 9 shots into her classroom. Most became embedded in books and equipment. One passed through a chair which seconds before had been used by a child.
3.8 Thomas Hamilton then re-entered the gym where he shot again. He then released the pistol and drew a revolver. He placed the muzzle of the revolver in his mouth, pointing upwards and pulled the trigger. His death followed quickly.
3.9 Mrs Mayor and 15 children lay dead in the gym and one further child was close to death. They had sustained a total of 58 gun shot wounds. 26 of these wounds were of such a nature that individually they would have proved fatal.
3.10 In the result the deaths of the victims listed in the left hand column of the Annex to the Foreword to this Report were caused by gunshot wounds caused by Thomas Hamilton's unlawful actions in shooting them. All of these victims died within the gym, with the exception of the sixteenth child, Mhairi Isabel MacBeath, who was found to be dead on arrival at Stirling Royal Infirmary at 10.30 am. While it is not possible to be precise as to the times at which the shootings took place, it is likely that they occurred within a period of 3-4 minutes, starting between 9.35 am and 9.40 am.
3.11 The survivors of the incident were taken to Stirling Royal Infirmary. They are listed in the right hand column of the Annex. They consisted of the remaining 12 members of the class; two pupils aged 11 who were elsewhere than in the gym when they were injured; and Mrs Harrild, Mrs Blake and Mrs Tweddle. 13 of them had sustained gunshot wounds, 4 being serious, 6 very serious and 3 minor. Of the remaining 4, 2 had sustained minor injuries and 2 were uninjured.
The response to the incident
The school staff
3.12 Mrs Agnes Awlson, the Assistant Headmistress, was making her way across the playground from her classroom when she heard several sharp metallic noises and screaming coming from the gym. She ran along a corridor and saw what she thought were cartridges lying outside its doorway. Realising that something dreadful was happening she ran back to the office of the Headmaster, Mr Ronald Taylor, who was making a telephone call. The call began at 9.38 am. He was conscious of hearing noises like indistinct bangs. This puzzled him and his reaction was to think that there were builders on the premises about whom he had not been informed. Mrs Awlson entered his office in a crouched position saying that there was a man in the school with a gun. Mr Taylor cut short his call and made an emergency call to the police, which was received at 9.41 am. He then ran along the corridor to the gym. On the way he heard no further noises. A student teacher told him that he had seen the gunman shooting himself. Mr Taylor's estimate was that some 3 minutes had lapsed between his first hearing the noises and being told this by the student teacher.
3.13 Mr Taylor burst into the gym. He was met by what he described in evidence as "a scene of unimaginable carnage, one's worst nightmare". He saw a group of children on the right hand side of the gym who were crying and obviously less injured than the others. He asked the student teacher to take them out of the gym and give them comfort. He then ran back to his office and instructed the Deputy Headmistress, Mrs Fiona Eadington, to telephone for ambulances. That call was made at 9.43 am. He then ran back to the gym calling for adults, and in particular the kitchen staff, to come and help. He moved through the gym along with the janitor Mr John Currie. He noticed Thomas Hamilton lying at the south end of the gym. He seemed to be moving. He noticed a gun on the floor beside him and told Mr Currie to kick it away, which he did. He also removed the revolver from Thomas Hamilton's hand and threw that aside. By this time the Assistant Headmaster, Mr Stuart McCombie, and members of the kitchen staff were in the gym endeavouring to help the injured children until the arrival of the police. When Mr Taylor went to the store area he discovered the injured who were there. Other members of staff arrived and endeavoured to attend to the injured, who were taken to the Assembly Hall.
3.14 By this time the police and medical teams had arrived. Attention was turned to the difficult problem of identifying the children. Since Mrs Mayor was dead, help was sought from members of staff, including nursery staff, who had looked after the children during the previous year. However, not all of the children had been through the nursery. This was an extremely harrowing experience for all the members of staff who were involved. They had to be taken into and out of the gym on several occasions. The record cards were consulted in order to aid identification. Unfortunately the class register had not been marked for Mrs Mayor's class as the class had proceeded directly to the gym after assembly. A further difficulty was encountered when it was discovered that one child was wearing clothing with the name tag of another child. The record card for another child was not in its expected place but this did not delay identification. Mr Taylor and his staff did everything that they possibly could to assist, far beyond what might reasonably have been expected of them.
3.15 The first ambulance arrived at the school at 9.57 am in response to the call at 9.43 am. It left at 10.15 am with the first patient for Stirling Royal Infirmary, and returned later for more patient transfers.
3.16 A team of doctors and a nurse from the Health Centre at Dunblane arrived on the scene at about 10.04 am, followed shortly thereafter by a community nursing sister from the Health Centre. They were involved in immediate resuscitation of injured teachers and children. They were joined by doctors from the Doune Health Centre and from Callander.
3.17 At 9.48 am the accident and emergency department at Stirling Royal Infirmary was notified of the incident and within a few minutes it was known that multiple casualties or fatalities were possible. A major incident was declared and the planned response to such an event was put into operation. At 10.15 am the first of a number of teams from Stirling Royal Infirmary arrived at the school and took up the process of triage which had been initiated by the doctors from Dunblane. This involved working out the priorities according to an assessment of each victim's needs. A decision was then taken as to fitness for evacuation and the order in which evacuation should take place. At the Infirmary operating theatres had been cleared of planned surgical cases. On their arrival at hospital the victims were handed over to the care of teams of surgeons and anaesthetists. Four of the children had sustained potentially fatal wounds. A team from Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary also arrived about 10.35 am. All of the injured victims had arrived at Stirling Royal Infirmary by about 11.10 am. After initial examination some were sent to the Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary and others required to be transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, for specialist treatment.
Hamilton Was Meeting with someone
Why were Central Scotland Police allowed to carry out the investigation when they were implicated? Why did Lord Cullen not read the preparatory material prior to his Inquiry, and fail to call vital witnesses? Who was he protecting? Why did he put a 100 year gagging rule on the information he had access to. The questions are endless and won't go away until they are answered, that will only happen when the Inquiry is re-opened and carried out as thoroughly as that held on Soham.
Sandra Uttley has written an important document that investigates various aspects of the case, in doing so she has put her head above the parapet. The book is very thought provoking and a 'must read' for everyone.
There is no real evidence at all of a highly organised and powerful pedophile
ring in Scotland. There is no real evidence of any high order power base
(Masonic or otherwise) which protected Thomas Hamilton from anything let alone
preferential treatment for obtaining and keeping legal firearms. All evidence is
circumstantial, garbled, incomplete and largely confused. The book outlines a
classic conspiracy theory - in this respect its not even original.
Right from page one this book exposes the appaling cover up by central scotland police into one of the most horrific events the UK has ever seen.
It details huge inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the police, and the total inefectuality of the Cullen report.
I am the current Director of the Sportsman's Association of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (the SA). The SA was formed in September 1996 to defend the legitimate sport of target pistol shooting which was under legislative threat following the atrocity committed at Dunblane by Thomas Hamilton.
The SA commissioned its own booklet entitled: Dunblane, The Untold Truths. I was involved in the production of that booklet. The booklet concentrated on the firearms aspects of the case and detailed the 18 mistakes in application of the then existing firearms laws in Hamilton's case made by the Central Scotland Police over a period of over 18 years from 1977, when Hamilton received his first Firearm Certificate up to the day of the massacre. This information was sufficient to demonstrate that Hamilton was not a fit person to be entrusted with firearms and that he should never have been granted a Firearm Certificate to enable him to possess guns 'legally'.
The failure of the Central Scotland Police to carry out their duties properly had disastrous consequences for those in the school on that day and for their families and for all those affected by the massacre. It also had consequences for decent people everywhere.
Sandra Uttley's book covers a much broader range of topics than did our own booklet and reflects the high quality of the research she has carried out, frequently in the face of obfuscation and obstruction from the 'authorities.'
We are also indebted to the persistence of Mrs Doreen Hagger (who tried for many years to get the authorities interested in Hamilton's activities with young boys - as described in the book) and of Mr William Scott who, single-handedly and after many years of effort, got the authorities to admit that they had no legal authority to place the 100 year closure order on the Dunblane documents.
I have been to the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and seen some of the redacted evidence that is now available to the public following Mr Scott's efforts but this evidence, at least, the bits I have seen, do not tell us much that was not already known. However, Mr Scott and Miss Uttley have managed to obtain the statement made by the off-duty police officer who was present at the school just as the shooting stopped. His evidence about the state of Hamilton's body, how he was clothed, the number and type of pistols he had on or near him at the time differed significantly from that of the Scene of Crime Officer who attended the scene some hours later. the off-duty police officer's evidence was not even presented to the Inquiry nor was the officer asked to testify at the Inquiry. You may say: 'So what? If Hamilton murdered all those children and their teacher, does it matter how many guns he brought with him or how much ammunition he had or, even, how he actually died?' It only matters if the evidence was deliberately tampered with (as would appear to be the case judging by the book. One has to ask why that should have been done and that, alone, is cause for serious concern in my view.
There are many other indications in the book to support the view that the Public Inquiry just did not discharge its official remit, particularly with regard to the persistent rumours that Hamilton had some part in paedophilia in the region. A further inquiry is needed to either substantiate or quell, once and for all, those rumours.
The reluctance of the authorities to finish this job, taken in conjunction with their original imposition of the 100 year closure order, indicates to me that they have 'something to hide.' It is time this matter was properly investigated.
I recommend this book as a source of well-researched information to enable
you to make up your own mind about the Dunblane Massacre. Ihope that you will
read the book and then proceed to pressurise your own MP, wherever you live in
the UK, to 'do something about it.'
The author - who lived in Dunblane for nearly 20 years - has meticulously researched all the evidence and presents a very different version of events from those in Lord Cullen's Report. This is a thought-provoking book that asks many questions, particularly about Thomas Hamilton's relationship with members of Central Scotland Police.
Ian Bell explained: “Scotland’s
most senior law officer threatened editors with proceedings for contempt if they
continued to investigate the circumstances of the Dunblane massacre. As
though to sharpen the point, the Crown Office said the remarks of Lord Mackay of
Drumadoon, the Lord Advocate, were themselves “not for publication or
broadcast”. The curb on reporting is not to be reported”. So all went quiet for
a few months until the Inquiry began.
There is just no way that anyone viewing the documents
at the Archives would be able to do this kind of work sitting in a library
reading through reams and reams of papers on their own, with nothing to compare
them with. Furthermore, it is piecing together LOTS of information that leads to
the possibility of Hamilton being part
of a paedophile network, the
possibility that Hamilton was being tailed that morning, and the possibility
that he was shot and killed on scene and did not commit suicide. Nothing
is stated that makes this obvious. I'm sorry, but the documents weren't sealed
for 100 years for nothing. They slapped a 100 year ban on the lot out of
laziness, when there were only selected sections that actually gave the game
And when we do, it is a bland reference to the “lone paedophile” who carried out the “Dunblane massacre”. If Hamilton was alive, he might have given us some clues as to why he did what he did.
Almost £3m in compensation has been paid out to victims of the tragedy, which inspired the introduction in the UK of the some of the tightest handgun legislation in the world.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has dealt with 139 claims, but still has 111 more to process
At the Dunblane Inquiry, Central Scotland Police were
deemed to have been 'incompetent' - which was bad enough - when in actual fact,
there were corrupt police officers shielding Hamilton.
But I must stress here that I don't think the cover-up of the truth was to protect a few bent coppers. I am always quoted as saying that Hamilton was part of a 'police sex ring' and although that is true, that is what I believe, it is only part of the picture. The higher authorities would not go out of their way to protect half a dozen bent cops.
THE DUNBLANE SHOOTINGS AND GUN LAW
On the 13th. March 1996, Thomas Hamilton (43) walked into Dunblane Primary School armed with 4 legally held weapons. In the space of 3 minutes he shot 3 staff and 28 pupils. Of these 1 staff member died and 16 children were killed.
For parents, police, Government ministers and the gun lobby the question is whether the private ownership of handguns should be banned. A variety of views are held.
THE PARENTS VIEW :
Michael North, whose daughter Sophie was killed at Dunblane, wrote the following comments in the Sunday Times [13.10.96]
"It is time to turn the tide against gun culture. Hand-guns were designed for one purpose only -to kill. They weren't banned after Hungerford because of the pressure of the gun lobby. Public safety was sacrificed to preserve a privilege for a minority who have had a disproportionate influence on our law-makers. Campaigning for a total ban on hand-guns will ensure that this country becomes a safer place."
THE POLICE VIEW :
Tough action on guns is urged by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which supports banning people from owning hand-guns other than .22 single-shot weapons.
THE GOVERNMENT VIEW :
John Major was deeply affected by his visit to the scene of the ~Dunblane shootings.
Michael Forsyth, the Scottish Secretary (whose constituency includes Dunblane), argues for a ban on privately owned hand-guns except .22 single-shot sporting pistols.
Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, noted the difficulties of imposing restrictions ( compare this with the similar problem of combat knives).
THE GUN LOBBY :
The powerful gun lobby have argued that the Dunblane and Hungerford incidents are isolated incidents; that a ban would not stop a psychopath from acquiring a weapon. Equally, a ban would deprives 100's of thousands of the pleasure of shooting. The gun lobby argue that there is a lack of evidence to show that licensed weapons are used in violent crimes.
1994 - 1996 = 196 MURDERS AND MANSLAUGHTERS IN BRITAIN.
Nearly 50 % of domestic killings were with legally held weapons.
Nearly 20 % of homicidal killings were with legally held weapons.
Sunday 2nd October 2005 Update
The article below was taken from the Scotland on Sunday: Sun 2 Oct 2005. It is largely self explanatory but I fear our masters have not released all - I shall see what the next few days brings and if necessary provide a helping hand.
Mick North, the father of one victim, has seen the files.
Dunblane: files show police flaws
By MARCELLO MEGA
SECRET files on the Dunblane massacre that are finally opened to the public tomorrow will confirm incompetence among police and prosecutors, but demolish widespread claims of conspiracy and cover-up.
The father of one of the victims has already been given access to the files, which he says prove that police failed to take proper action against Thomas Hamilton despite numerous separate incidents that were cause for concern.
Dr Mick North, whose only daughter Sophie was one of the 16 children murdered with their teacher in March 1996, examined all 106 files which were originally "closed" for 100 years but will be open to inspection from tomorrow.
North says the papers explain away several sensational theories about the killings, including one suggestion that police officers had been tipped off that Hamilton was about to go on a rampage. The truth, he says, is that off-duty officers were simply dropping off their own children at the school.
But North concludes that the "arrogant" decision to try to lock away the papers for a century fuelled many wild and hurtful theories.
The thousands of documents were viewed by North in the Crown Office HQ in Edinburgh and include thousands of pages of police and witness statements, medical reports and autopsy examinations.
North said: "The documents I viewed in many ways confirmed what I already believed I knew about the role of the police and the involvement of the procurator fiscal service."
Hamilton's behaviour in the years before the massacre caused great concern and the documents prove a lack of joined-up thinking among police and prosecutors.
North said: "You have a situation where a number of reports are being received by the police of behaviour towards children that is worrying, and these reports outline similar types of behaviour.
"Yet every incident was viewed in isolation. Someone was behaving inappropriately, repeatedly showing aggression towards children, and the margins of the system were not flexible enough to allow the matter to be investigated properly."
North's examination of the documents has also reinforced his concerns about the Cullen Inquiry into the massacre itself. "One of the clearest conclusions I can draw from the vast quantity of documents I viewed is that the inquiry did nothing to address this key point: how should society deal with an individual like Hamilton?" he said.
"Too often the inquiry appeared as a process run by the Establishment largely for the benefit of the Establishment in an attempt to minimise damage and to reassure the public that there was not too much to worry about. Yet the arrogant decision to hide these documents away has left a festering sore that has never healed."
North also says the documents prove that police misled the inquiry about when parents were told their children had died.
"Parents of the children who died were not informed until 2:30pm at the earliest, yet the police said the time was 1:30pm. It's impossible to know why this discrepancy occurred because it was not examined, but it's inexcusable because the same documents reveal all the identifications were complete by 1pm.
"In fact, I learned that by 10.20pm staff had identified about half of the children, yet it seems a decision was made that their parents should not be informed until the process was complete.
"There was no explanation of that. Presumably it was for operational reasons in that it made their job easier, but it was not necessarily in our interests."
Despite his concerns, North insists the documents laid to rest many of the conspiracy theories around the shooting.
One of the most persistent was the suggestion that Hamilton received favours from friends in the Central Scotland Police force that enabled him to keep his gun licence.
North said that while Hamilton had friends in the force, the documents he had viewed did not suggest they had provided significant support to him.
One officer acknowledged Hamilton was in the habit of contacting him to "discuss matters he [Hamilton] feels are important" and to inform him where and when his youth camps would take place, but insisted there was no more than that to their relationship.
He added: "One of the most striking things about the documents was the voluminous correspondence Hamilton entered into, particularly with the police. He wrote incessantly to senior officers and to politicians and copied them in on letters to others.
Considerable interest has also centred on the presence of an off-duty police officer at the school at the time of the shootings and about the fact he was never identified or called to give evidence when he played a significant part in the immediate aftermath.
Conspiracy theorists have suggested the police were tipped off that an armed man was heading for the school and that officers were dispatched - and even that Hamilton had not taken his own life but was shot by the police.
North said the truth was far simpler. "There were actually two off-duty officers at the school, simply because they were dropping their own children at the nursery, which didn't start until 9.30am. One of them left and returned home, although he went back almost immediately on hearing there had been an incident to check his child was safe.
"The other officer was elsewhere in the school when he heard the disturbance. Understandably, he went to see what had happened and was one of the first people into the gym.
"He saw the janitor kick a gun lying close to Hamilton's body away from him and called to him not to move anything else as he understood the importance of preserving the scene."
Doubts have also been expressed about the manner of Hamilton's death, but North said the forensic pathologist's report leaves no room for doubt that Hamilton took his own life with a single shot.
It has also been suggested that Hamilton was part of a paedophile ring, supplying his photographs of scantily clad boys to fellow members, and that some might have been police officers. North said the documents contained no evidence of such activity.
North said: "I do realise that some might feel I've fallen hook, line and sinker for the official version of events.
"But having seen the entire collection of files, I believe it would have been impossible to fillet out selected documents so successfully without the gaps becoming obvious to a careful reader. There simply is no evidence of any conspiracy to prevent the truth emerging or to protect any individual."
North, who would have been celebrating Sophie's 15th birthday today, said: "I hope lessons have been learned, about how society should deal with someone in a community who behaves persistently in an alarming manner, and about how a public inquiry should treat those directly involved in a tragedy.
"It was arrogant in the extreme to hide these papers away for 100 years without consulting those of us most closely affected. Our interest did not cease because Lord Cullen had written his report.
"I realise that some questions do remain, but I am satisfied that nothing untoward contributed to that. There seems little point in continuing to bang our heads off a brick wall. It is time to put the matter to rest."
Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 16:17 GMT BBC NEWS
Dunblane report inquiry call
Floral tribute after Dunblane massacre
100 yr ban
Scotland's most senior law officer is being urged to explain why a police report on the Dunblane massacre was allegedly banned from being published for 100 years.
An MSP called on Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC to comment on Sunday newspaper claims it was suppressed because it revealed links between Thomas Hamilton and a number of prominent Scots.
The SNP's Central Scotland MSP Michael Matheson (left) wants the ban reconsidered in light of the new freedom of information legislation.
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd - to hear call for review
Forty-three-year-old Thomas Hamilton, broke into Dunblane primary school on 13 March 1996 and opened fire on a class in the gym, killing 16 children and a teacher. In addition to those killed, he injured 12 other children and two teachers before killing himself. Mr Matheson said he sought clarification from the Lord Advocate whether the report was classified to protect the identities of children Hamilton is alleged to have abused.
"There is also a suggestion that the report may be being kept secret in order to protect a couple of well-known individuals who had an association with Thomas Hamilton.
"The other question I'm raising is whether it's appropriate for this 100-year ruling to apply given that we have now moved to a system of freedom of information."
Mr Matheson said he would consult Scotland's future Freedom of Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion over the ban's legitimacy. He said: "It really is a question of whether it's appropriate that this kind of ruling should be being made given that we're meant to be in a free society."
The MSP would not comment on the identity of the people allegedly mentioned in the report. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said it was extremely unlikely that access would be given to anyone when the identification of child victims was at risk.
Robertson sues over Dunblane killer allegations
By Dan McDougall
LORD Robertson has started a landmark legal action against a Scottish newspaper over internet allegations falsely accusing him of helping Thomas Hamilton, the Dunblane killer, obtain his gun licence.
The secretary general of NATO has lodged a writ with the Court of Session in Edinburgh demanding £200,000 compensation over the claims, plus the full costs of the action.
The writ claims that comments posted on the message board of the Sunday Herald newspaper’s website, accusing him of signing a firearms certificate recommendation for Hamilton and using his influence to force the police to ignore their suspicions about the killer, were "false and calumnious".
Lord Robertson, the former defence secretary, also claims the allegations could hinder his chances of finding another job when he stands down as the head of NATO later this year.
The comments made on the website on 9 February were prompted by an on-line discussion forum for readers relating to public concern that certain documents relating to the Dunblane massacre of March 1996 were to remain classified for 100 years.
Under the headline: "Should the Dunblane dossier be kept secret?", the newspaper website invited readers to comment on speculation that prominent Scots were closely linked to Hamilton, asking: "Is the secrecy a smokescreen?"
An allegation was posted on the board by a reader incorrectly claiming that the then Mr Robertson had signed a firearms certificate recommendation because he was Thomas Hamilton’s MP.
Mr Robertson actually represented Hamilton South, was never Thomas Hamilton’s MP and never signed such a document.
The writ says that a second message posted by a different reader said: "As for that Robertson bloke! Never did trust him. How did he get that job as head of NATO?" Another contributor claimed: "People are being protected here."
In his writ, Lord Robertson claims that due to a lack of website policing, the offending comments remained on the newspaper’s internet message board for more than three weeks and were read by an estimated 600,000 people before they were removed.
It is not known if the identity of the individuals who made the statements will be made public but they are alleged to be registered users of the Sunday Herald message board. The newspaper refused to comment.
Lord Robertson’s representative, Martin Smith, a leading libel lawyer, was unavailable for comment. Lord Robertson’s spokesman at NATO said: "It is a private matter."
In 1996, Mr Robertson told Lord Cullen’s public inquiry into the Dunblane massacre that he became concerned about Hamilton’s militaristic camps after his own son attended Dunblane Rovers, a boys’ club run by Hamilton, in 1983. He spoke of his fears to Michael Forsyth, the MP for Stirling (where Hamilton lived) and the Scottish secretary at the time of the massacre.
Mr Robertson kept him informed about Hamilton’s clubs, sending documents highlighting parents’ concerns. These documents are banned from public view under Lord Cullen’s 100-year rule.
There has yet to be a test case in Scotland of whether a company is responsible for information posted on internet message boards. Gordon Deane, a partner in commercial litigation with Shepherd & Wedderburn, said: "The nature of the internet means documents published and uploaded in one country can be viewed and downloaded all over the world, exposing publishers to the libel laws of potentially any nation which provides internet access."
Cullen Inquiry Whitewash
Billy Burns recently petitioned the Scottish Parliament to open up to the public Lord Cullen’s 100-year Closure Order on files in relation to his pseudo-inquiry into the Dunblane massacre. (http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/petitions/public/index.htm listed at PE652)
Billy’s own correspondence was included in the order. Burns comments: “Lord Cullen can elicit little sympathy from the public for the way he conducted his inquiry into the Dunblane massacre in 1996.
I wrote to him on 27 February 2003 after a prominent Sunday Times journalist brought it to my attention that my correspondence with the ‘Cullen Inquiry’ before, during and after it commenced, had been put on a 100-year closure order, along with 105 other files.
“It was claimed that the reason the ‘gagging order’ was put in place was to protect the names of children who were victims of sex-abuse. Lord Cullen at the time of the Inquiry said there was no evidence of child sex-abuse, but now, seven years after his Inquiry, he has used the fact that there was evidence of child sex-abuse to try to justify his unwarranted 'gagging order’.
"This just did not wash with me. My letters to him did not mention a single name of a child sex-abuse victim - for I did not know any names. My letters dealt strictly with the potential, then actual Masonic cover-up, keeping in mind the many reports at the time that the mass killer, Thomas Hamilton, was a Freemason.
“I asked Lord Cullen to recuse himself if he was a Freemason. He denied he was a Mason following the question posed. I then asked him to instruct every witness to the Inquiry to declare if they were Masons, because too many sinister loopholes were created for Thomas Hamilton over a number of years to enable him to retain his gun licence and continue running boys clubs. Hamilton was given this seal of approval despite many misgivings from worried members of the public, certain police officers and others.
"As it happened, Lord Cullen did not recuse himself, even though, as I have recently discovered, he is numbered 1702 on the membership list of the ‘Speculative Society of Edinburgh’, which is an exclusive off-shoot of Freemasonry. In fact, Masons from Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2, founded the “Speculative Society” in Edinburgh in 1764.
"As the inquiry got under way, “Spec” member Lord Cullen did not ask any witnesses whether they were Masons or not, thereby digging a hole deeper and deeper for himself as his Inquiry actually regressed.
"When I learned of the 100-year 'gagging order', I wrote to Lord Cullen, demanded his resignation from the judiciary. He had been promoted to the Lord Presidency for his sins, the top law lord in the country. After receiving my letter, it was reported he was to be moved to the House of Lords. I had no intention of allowing him to take refuge in the Lords so I wrote a letter to him, addressing the envelope to the Judicial Department in the Lords, so that employees in that department were fully aware of the scandal surrounding the Dunblane cover-up. Since sending that letter, his elevation has been shelved to prevent his dirty (white)washing begriming the red benches."
“The only satisfactory way to now appease the relatives and friends of the victims of the massacre and of the child abuse - and, indeed, to appease the entire Scottish people who have all been excluded from the fundamental rights of citizenship as a result of the pseudo-inquiry - is to conduct a brand new inquiry under the auspices of a cross party panel of MSP's and nominated lay members whose lives were touched by the massacre. The same panel must also conduct a full-scale Inquiry into Lord Cullen's status and behaviour before, during and after his risible inquiry, and into his placing of the 100-year 'gagging order' on the evidence.
“As a consequence of my letter to Lord Cullen, asking him to resign, my name and address were summarily airbrushed from the already inaccurate description of the file held by the National Archives of Scotland. After I wrote a letter of complaint to them, it was changed again and now has the following more accurate description:
'1996 Apr-Jul Additional Productions
Correspondence between William Burns, South Queensferry, and Lord Cullen and the Clerk to the Inquiry concerning possible connections with Freemasonry of Thomas Hamilton, Lord Cullen himself, witnesses to the Inquiry and civil servants; also extracts from inquiry transcript relating to possible links with Freemasonry, and letters to and from Thomas Hamilton concerning running of boys clubs, rebuttals of allegations made against him and his claims against Central Regional Council and Central Scotland Police (R77).'
"I lodged a Petition with the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament and sent copies to every MSP, exposing the flagrant cover-up. At the hearing on 29 November 2003, I made the following oral submission to the PPC: "I don’t think there is anyone in Scotland who now believes that the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane Massacre was anything other than a Masonic whitewash. The 100-year 'Gagging Order on my correspondence with the Cullen Inquiry confirms that. This Committee was provided with copies of my documents so cannot ignore the existence of this solid evidence.
"At the time of the Inquiry, Lord Cullen claimed there was no evidence of child sex-abuse in relation to Thomas Hamilton and his connections, but seven years later he uses the fact that there was evidence of child sex-abuse to put a “Gagging Order” on the files, claiming it was imposed to protect the names of victims, even though most of the files buried do not mention any names of victims.
"My own files are in that category. It must be clear to the Committee that the only reason the content of my letters to Cullen were 'gagged' was precisely to keep the Masonic implication out of the equation; therefore out of the public eye.
"'There is no statutory basis for the closure of orders created by Scottish public bodies.' These are the words of the Lord Advocate, not mine. They were produced in a publication on 18 March 2003 by the Scottish Executive - News Online, under the heading: 'Dunblane police reports released.'
“That disclosure alone makes a mockery of the Clerk to the Committee, Steve Farrell’s 'view' that it is not within the competence of the Parliament to overturn or interfere with the terms of such an order. The Scottish Parliament is the ONLY with the power to create a framework for imposing closure orders; but it must do so in the public interest, not in the interest of collaborators in secret societies.
"The Lord Advocate goes on to say: 'The Public Records (Scotland) Act 1937 makes provision for the preservation, care and custody of the public records of Scotland. The terms of the legislation are permissive [i.e., lenient, tolerant or liberal, reflecting a belief that there should be as few restraints as possible].'
'Preservation, custody and care of records' does not mean the exact opposite; the 'smotheration, stash and snare' of public records.
"The report continues: 'By contrast, in England and Wales the Public Records Act 1958 (as amended by the Public Records Act 1967) sets a statutory "closure period" of 30 years, after which records must, with limited exceptions, be made available to the public. The 1937 [Scottish] Act DOES NOT impose similar obligations on Executive departments, but IN PRACTICE those procedures are followed in Scotland.'
"'In practice' means nothing and could well be replaced with 'convenience', "habit", 'obsession', 'fixation', 'weakness', and a number of other meaningless slogans. Even tradition has no authority in law. Just because something is widespread 'practice, it does not create a power that Parliament has denied or has not legislated for.
"Since there is no framework for closure orders in Scotland, I am calling on Parliament to enact unequivocal legislation to prevent people with a vested interest from burying evidence and diverting the onus onto everyone from judges to procurators fiscal to the police to clerks and to every Tom, Dick and Harry chosen for the purpose, so that the real culprits can distance themselves from their illicit undertakings.
"This closure order was enforced not to protect the names of children, who are adults now, but to protect the names of very high-profile Masons and paedophiles."
On being questioned by members of the PPC, I brought to their attention the fact that, in the Cullen Inquiry transcript, three people giving evidence referred to Thomas Hamilton's connection with the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane. At page 286, Grace Jones Ogilvie, a neighbour of Thomas Hamilton, said Hamilton used to get a van from Central Region for camps at Loch Lomondside and Queen Victoria School. At page 1,803, Ian Steven Boal, who was a teacher and a friend of Hamilton's, told how he was helped by Thomas Hamilton to get a job at Queen Victoria School. At page 2,267, Robert Mark Ure, an ex-husband of a friend of Thomas Hamilton, evidenced that his estranged wife had been to the rifle range at Queen Victoria School with Thomas Hamilton.
These referrals to Queen Victoria School were mysteriously ignored in Cullen's Report. Why were questions not asked about who made it possible for Hamilton to have easy access to and influence in QVS. Being a boarding school for children of the military, apparently sten guns were occasionally used on the range.
According to a former school master at QVS, Hamilton had free access to the rifle range. He also disclosed that he had been complaining for years about very high profile people arriving at the school (Friends of QVS they were called), some of whom took children away from the school for weekends to play out their perverted, sordid, sexual fantasies on children. Hamilton was the mediator for this paedophile ring. This schoolmaster was prevented from giving evidence at the Cullen Inquiry and was soon moved away to a remote part of Scotland.
What you had here was a Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Forsyth who, by virtue of office, was on the Board of Directors of QVS, and was also responsible for the appointment of Cullen to conduct the Inquiry. There is Prince Philip, a Freemason, the patron of the Board of Directors of QVS and is an honorary member of the exclusive, secretive and highly suspect Speculative Society of Edinburgh. Then there is Lord (Donald McArthur) Ross, the then Lord Justice-Clerk and Cullen's superior in the judiciary, who was also on the Board of Directors, and is also a "Brother" of Cullen's in the Masonic Speculative Society of Edinburgh, numbered at 1642.
Five weeks after the hearing of my petition, I still had not heard a peep from the Public Petitions Committee so I decided to write to them, stressing my concern about the inordinate delay in replying - notwithstanding the Committee's (inappropriate and unconstitutional) approach to Colin Boyd, the Lord Advocate to ask why the 100-year "Gagging Order" was imposed.
Even forgetting for the minute that the Lord Advocate has no legitimacy in Scottish law whatsoever to agree to the imposition of unlegislated closure orders in Scotland, it would take no time at all for even a primary schoolkid to follow instructions, pick up 106 files, single out the second-last one filed at 105, read the straightforward content, and declare: "I have no idea why these files have been gagged for 100 years?
But we are not depending on schoolchildren here to utter a response. We are depending on politicians and the legal profession. In a reply from the PPC dated 9 December, I was advised:
"As you are aware, at its meeting on Wednesday 29 October 2003, the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee considered the petition that you submitted on 26 June 2003. At that meeting the Committee agreed to write to the Lord Advocate seeking (a) further details of the framework under which a decision to impose a closure order of 100 years can be made, (b) confirmation as to why certain evidence that does not name specific children also appears to be subject to this 100-year closure order, and (c) an indication of the timescales for publication of the full catalogue of Cullen Inquiry material by the National Archives of Scotland and for any subsequent decisions on the release of material and variations of the closure period.
"We are still waiting for a response from the Lord Advocate's Office; once this has been received it will be further considered by the Committee. You will be informed when the petition is considered further and the outcome of that consideration."
After the hearing, the Committee agreed (not with me, but with one another) to approach the Lord Advocate to seek further details. I retaliated: "That could take another 99 years!"
It is now over two months since the PPC approached the Lord Advocate. Rather than elaborate further, I will quote the words of William Shakespeare in 1 Henry VI, iii, 1592: "Defer no time; delays have dangerous ends."
If the above information does not on its own rouse us, the public, into calling for a fresh inquiry into the events leading up to the Dunblane massacre and the ensuing whitewash, we are all guilty of something a lot more serious than complacency; we are all guilt of complicity. To sin by silence when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.
That aside, only time will tell what the outcome will be. In the near future, however, I envisage many clandestine figures in the Judiciary and in Parliament, with something to hide, clumsily tripping over their cloaks and falling on their daggers.
Return to opening page
Instead, it turns out that the killer, Thomas Hamilton, 43, was mentally deranged by a severe form of a rare medical condition, Hashimoto's disease, which is well known to result in paranoia and aggression (Sunday Times, 31 i '99, 'Rare illness may have sparked killings', p. 2). The condition has just come to public attention because Hashimoto's disease
Police as target
Rejected from gun club
I am firmly of the belief Thomas Hamilton did not commit suicide – as it is difficult to shoot yourself TWICE through the roof of your mouth; one shot to exit just above the left ear, the other to lift the brain out the top of the head and be found lying just behind the prostrate body.
Crime scene examiner falsely claimed Hamilton was standing when he fired the fatal shot as he claims evidence of two shots was found in the ceiling! But his brain was lying just behind his head indicating it had – skidded along the floor to that spot.
An off duty policeman who entered the Gym very shortly after the shooting saw the janitor remove a semi-auto pistol from the hand of Hamilton and he instructed the janitor to "Put it down!". He also noted that there was just one other pistol and again noted "not a revolver" beside the prostate and still gurgling body of Hamilton.
But the Crime Scene Examiner claimed Hamilton had "4 hand guns in holsters" and that he had his thumb on the hammer of a 9mm Browning with no magazine and one round up the spout – and all this after he was alleged to have fired two rounds from a 357 S&W Magnum revolver to kill himself!
A Professional Assassin
Then there is further compelling evidence that will be revealed to the public shortly which indicates very clearly that (Watt) Hamilton - the hated pedophile, did not murder the children either; a professional assassin like "Joe" did the job.
So they are my conclusions and will I believe shortly be proven to be correct. if you go to http://www.shootersnews.addr.com/snpalatest.html you will see the latest finding we are able to confirm about the mystery man "Joe"/Ari