This site has been created to call for a new Public Inquiry into the events of 13 March 1996 at Dunblane Primary School, and an investigation into Central Scotland Police and their dealings with Thomas Hamilton. A proper inquiry into what led up to the terrible tragedy is urgently needed. Please lend your support. It is time now to honour the dead with the truth.
We aren’t meant to say Thomas Hamilton’s name. After the Dunblane Massacre it was decided that mentioning the murderer’s name only served to glorify him. What rubbish. We mustn’t forget Thomas Hamilton. I know Dunblane was a one-off tragedy, but there was a background to what happened that has been conveniently wiped out…
A lot of people ask how a conspiracy on the scale I allege could have been covered up, when so many people had to have been involved. Let me explain. Immediately after the massacre happened, there was inevitably a lot of media coverage and a lot of probing questions were asked. Then a curb was put on media reporting by the Crown Office and Lord Cullen. It was said this would prejudice the evidence of witnesses called to the Dunblane Inquiry.
In an article in the Scotsman (5 April 1996) 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sharpen the point, the Crown Office said the remarks of Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, the Lord Advocate, were themselves “not for publication or broadcast”.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.
At the Inquiry, there was the Crown representing the Crown: that is the Lord Advocate, The Lord Mackay of Drumadoon; Advocate Depute Mr Ian Bonomy and Advocate Mr Lake.
Mr Campbell and Ms Dunlop represented the families of the deceased children, the families of the injured children, the children absent from class, Mrs Harrild and Mrs Blake (both teachers).
Mr Gibb represented Mrs Mayor (another teacher - deceased) and the Educational Institute of Scotland.
Mr Stephen represented the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland and Mr Ronald Taylor.
Mr Jones represented Stirling Council and “others”.
Mr Taylor represented Central Scotland Police.
The Dean of Faculty and Mr Kavanagh represented individual officers of the Scottish Police Federation and Lothian and Borders Police.
Mr McEachran represented the Scottish Target Shooting Federation and Mr Scoggins the British Shooting Sports Council.
Who represented the public? Well, the Crown of course. Who organised the cover-up of the truth? The Crown.
Central Scotland Police carried out the investigation for the Inquiry and thus, even if the Crown Office was not involved in the cover-up, Central Scotland Police was given carte blanche to withhold any witness statements they didn’t wish to be seen, for whatever reason.
This material was passed to the Crown who then summarised it and passed it on to the above named representatives, who in turn passed it on to their clients (or at least they passed on some of it). These documents were not released to the press, and nor did Lord Cullen read any of this preparatory material. There were a total of 1,655 witness statements taken, from a total of 1,240 witnesses. Only 171 witnesses gave evidence at the Inquiry, thus the evidence of 1,069 witnesses was never heard.
Lord Cullen wrote his report on the basis of the oral testimony of just 171 witnesses. The fact that some of these witnesses, police witnesses included, lied on oath, was therefore not known to him (or was it?)
All the evidence prepared for the Inquiry was then locked away for an astonishing 100 years, until the Crown Office released some of the documents in October 2005. It was almost impossible to ascertain WHAT had been released, and what withheld.
It was only through making a total of 60 requests for information to Central Scotland Police under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, that I started to discover just how much material had still been held back by the Crown.
So, on 19 December 2005, I made a Freedom of Information request to the First Minister (who, I discovered, is not exempt from the FOISA). I asked for details of the number of statements that are available at the National Archives of Scotland and the number that have been held back. Mr McConnell passed my request on to the Crown Office. Over two months later, on 22 February 2006, the Crown Office replied as follows: “I can confirm that your request is receiving attention and we will respond to you further as soon as possible”. Why is it such a difficult question to answer? I never did get an answer to this question.
So how did they cover-up the truth on the day? Remember that in the gym nearly all the children were dead or critically injured. Their teacher was dead. One child who did not sustain any injury obviously told her parents something of what she saw in the gym, and this was then relayed by her parents to their solicitor. I repeat, they state that they saw two bullet holes in the south wall of the gym, about 2 inches apart and just 6 inches from the ground. Their statement continues, “There were no other bullet holes in that wall and I noticed that there were quite a few bullet holes in the other walls which would confirm my (words are blanked out here…………..) that he fired into the walls at the bottom end of the gym where Hamilton had entered the gym”. So, WHO fired into the walls at the bottom end of the gym when Hamilton (re-entered) the gym through the fire exit door at the south end?
The injured teachers and some of the less critically injured children were hiding in a storeroom off the gym. They weren’t fully aware of what was happening outside that room. However, Eileen Harrild testified that someone entered the gym BEFORE the gunman stopped shooting, and Mary Blake thought the gunman might have surrendered. Basically – and understandably so – they had no idea what was going on.
The people that we know for certain entered the gym immediately after Hamilton’s death were the headteacher, the student teacher, the janitor and the off-duty police officer. Of these four people only the headteacher gave evidence at the Inquiry. We know the names of the student teacher (David Scott) and the janitor (John Currie). Through my own private investigations I ascertained the name of the off-duty police officer (Grant McCutcheon) and obtained a copy of his statement from Central Scotland Police under the FOISA. It is astonishing that this statement was withheld from the Inquiry. Mr McCutcheon should have been called as a witness at the Dunblane Inquiry because his evidence contradicts that of the janitor John Currie and the Scene of Crime Officer Malcolm Chisholm. ALL the evidence should have been examined. The Inquiry was set up under the 1921 Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act to find out the full truth about an event that had caused serious public concern and enormous distress.
On the day itself, the bereaved parents were locked away in a staff-room for up to five hours before being told their children were dead. Central Scotland Police claimed this was to ensure the identity of all the children before telling the parents. However, all of the children bar one had been identified by midday. It is much more likely that the scene of crime was being tampered with during those five hours, in order that the police and the Crown got their story straight, ie. that Hamilton had turned the gun on himself after a three minute shooting spree.
If the truth is – as I believe – that Hamilton was shot and killed on scene, far too many uncomfortable questions would have been asked about how the person who killed him got there so fast. Indeed, the question needs to be asked: was Hamilton's murderer the same person who committed the massacre? Was Hamilton simply the patsy?
At the Inquiry, a picture emerged of wholesale incompetence by Central Scotland Police in their handling of Thomas Hamilton and his firearms applications. DCC McMurdo took the flak. All the representatives damned the maladministration of firearms procedures at Central Scotland Police. Who would dare to make further criticism when certain officers had already been excoriated?
Well, further criticism is necessary, because it is possible that illegal activity was going on in Central Scotland Police – and Central Regional Council for that matter – during Hamilton’s long years of gun ownership and access to boys. In her summing up on Day 25 of the Inquiry, Ms Dunlop said, “He described himself to particular individuals,for example Mr Moffat, as a gym teacher. He referred to himself as having qualifications in gymnastics when the evidence discloses in fact the only qualification he’d had was that of an assistant coach and……….”
Lord Cullen tried to stop her there, with “Under supervision”, to which Ms Dunlop replied, “Under supervision of adult females”. This had been carefully concealed throughout the previous 24 days of the Inquiry, but Ms Dunlop at least saw to it that it was mentioned in her summing up. However, Lord Cullen chose to ignore this in his final report. The fact is, that in the original inquiry papers, the truth about Hamilton’s gymnastic qualifications was detailed for all to see, and the truth is that Central Regional Council had known he wasn’t qualified to teach boys or to teach them unsupervised.
How much influence Hamilton’s local councillor Robert Ball – a lecturer at Stirling University – brought to bear on this can only be guessed at. Given how strong an advocate he was for his constituent though, Mr Ball could be said to have assisted Thomas Hamilton in getting lets of school premises for his clubs, when Hamilton was in no way qualified to train boys in gymnastics.
But I digress. In her summing up, Ms Dunlop refers to the extent to which the events of 13 March 1996 were planned. Although there was evidence of Hamilton having quizzed a small boy about arrangements at Dunblane Primary School and had stockpiled ammunition, she continued, “it may be thought that there was a degree of compulsiveness about the location”. Highly unlikely if the massacre was pre-planned and Hamilton was being primed in his role for the previous two years... As Ms Dunlop concludes, “The evidence in this area is perhaps in some respects contradictory”. But bear in mind that Hamilton had quizzed a former police officer about whether all stations kept firearms and was informed that only those that were manned 24 hours a day did. Thus Dunblane Police Station would not have kept firearms. This would all still fit with him being groomed for his part on 13 March 1996 for the previous two years.
The CCTV sightings of Hamilton’s van on the morning of 13 March 1996 show him exiting the Burghmuir Roundabout on to the Kerse Road. Kerse Road is NOT the exit that leads “on to the road to Dunblane”. It leads to Bannockburn. Why did Hamilton take that exit? Was he meeting with someone? I don’t know, because the Crown Office refuse to answer my question about why DC Capes was allowed to give wrong CCTV evidence. After 2 years the Crown Office conceded that DC Capes had 'made a mistake' about the times. When I then questioned why DC Capes would lie about the direction Hamilton took, the Crown Office simply refused to answer my question. There was no more prevarication or ridiculous excuses. Just a simple refusal to answer a perfectly reasonable question.
Did Hamilton plan to flee after what went down that day? (remember, if Hamilton was not the gunman, but the patsy, he wouldn't have a clue what it was he was really getting involved in that day). Hamilton attempted to pay for the hire van in advance. He also bought some new shirts. Does this indicate an intention to commit suicide, or something else? As Ms Dunlop concludes, “It is difficult in fact to make much of the evidence about the shirts given that there was in fact the purchase of new shirts at all”. And what did he do with all these new shirts? In the Property Register of the search done on Hamilton’s house on 13 March 1996, the only item of clothing found was a jacket. She continues, “There is also evidence of his having booked the school for the Easter camp…(and) there is evidence of his attempt to book the minibus for the 14 and 19 March”. No, it is clear that Hamilton didn't anticipate for one minute that he was going to die on 13 March 1996.
Mr Campbell, in his summing up, states “What appears to have happened is that isolated incidents were considered on their own and then forgotten or at least ignored when further incidents occurred. In this regard, sir, I note, and indeed Mr McMurdo agreed with this, that the bulk of what is now known about Hamilton after this whole Inquiry was known to the police before the 13 March”.
The bulk of what we discovered about Hamilton after 13 March WAS ALREADY KNOWN by Central Scotland Police before 13 March 1996. This is a very important point. Was a friend – or friends? – of Hamilton’s diligently removing items of criminal intelligence on him all that time? Keeping his firearms file clean? It is certainly a possibility. Hamilton had friends within Central Scotland Police, as Clive Wood testified to in his evidence on Day 4 of the Inquiry.
Mr Wood himself was not asked any particularly probing questions. As an STV cameraman, he regularly visited Hamilton in his STV logoed car. Outside of Hamilton’s friends within Central Scotland Police, Clive Wood was Hamilton’s longest standing associate. They had known each other since about 1981. Mr Taylor, representing Central Scotland Police, obviously wished he had asked further questions of Clive Wood, given that Wood in his evidence made reference to Hamilton’s “police friends”.
On Day 25, in his summing up, Mr Taylor states, “Clive Wood, for example, was never asked to comment on the quality of his relationship. He might well have given valuable evidence in this regard. When Mr Wood was in the witness box it was not known to the parties that there was an intent to use the information on character as a basis for analysis by a psychologist and psychiatrist. Generally when witnesses applied labels they were not asked to explain what they meant”. The man representing Central Scotland Police was obviously a little piqued that he hadn’t had the chance to question Clive Wood more about his friendship with Thomas Hamilton, when Wood himself had referred to Hamilton’s friends within the police.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the public inquiry headed by Lord Cullen in the summer of 1996 was conducted improperly. Many guilty people walked free. It was always the case that they would. The Inquiry was not a criminal prosecution – it was a show trial. An attempt at justice being “seen to be done”.
On the whole, it was cleverly conducted, including a weeping Deputy Chief Constable (Douglas McMurdo), an unflappable witness who refused to have words put into her mouth (Doreen Hagger), a varied selection of Thomas Hamilton’s friends who were desperate to tell us what a boring man he was (which obviously explains why they spent so much time with him), some extremely insignificant witnesses who testified to train tickets being bought, and some vital witnesses such as the staff of Dunblane Primary School who were caught up in this horrific tragic incident. There were certain witnesses who were notable by their absence, for example, the student teacher David Scott, whose statement was read out at the Inquiry by DCS Ogg. And the off-duty police officer who was first on the scene…
October 2005 I've always thought it very sad that the Scottish Legal Establishment managed to orchestrate the cover-up right under the noses of the parents and all the journalists at the actual Inquiry. It is more than sad, it is tragic, that they put the finishing touches to the cover-up in such a public way.
Even without reading the material that is now available at the National Archives of Scotland, glaring inconsistencies are evident from reading the Transcript of the Inquiry, which has been available on the internet since early 2001. How many people have read and studied that? Doreen Hagger and I spent many months tearing apart all the evidence and isolating the lies and inconsistencies. We did this in the comfort of our own homes, and consulted each other by email, instant messaging and telephone repeatedly throughout the day whenever we isolated an obvious problem in all the material we were viewing. 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 away.
In my correspondence with Lord Cullen and the Crown Office over the last few years, I have asked some very direct questions and received very few replies. However, in one letter dated 11 September 2003, the Clerk to the Inquiry, Glynis McKeand, replied to me on behalf of Lord Cullen, “… it was open to those representing parties to the Inquiry… to cross-examine the witnesses who were called, and also to seek leave to call witnesses. Copies of all the documents available to the Inquiry team, such as witness statements, were also available to the representatives of the parties to the Inquiry, so as to ensure that they were in a position to make informed decisions about how to cross-examine witnesses and about whether to seek to lead any further evidence”. This is tantamount to saying to the bereaved families – “tough, you had your chance for justice and you blew it”.
In my reply to Lord Cullen on 26 September 2003, I wrote “…I wish to clarify that I was writing on my own behalf”. Further on in my letter I said, “…I appreciate that copies of all the documents were made available to the representatives of the parties to the Inquiry… and it is of great concern to me that so many questions that should have been asked by these representatives were not. However, that is a separate matter. I am writing to you again because you were the person responsible for an independent investigation into an event which has caused considerable public concern”.
All my concerns have been repeatedly ignored. Ms McKeand again replied on behalf of Lord Cullen on 10 October 2003. Again she invited me to “make a complaint or an allegation about improper conduct on the part of any person in connection with the Inquiry”. Good, I thought, I will. However, the second part of the sentence contains the sting. My complaint “should be addressed to the Crown, and in particular the Deputy Crown Agent at the Crown Office, so that it can be investigated”. As I know there has been a cover-up of the truth and I know that the Crown Office masterminded it, why would I expect them to carry out an open and thorough investigation now?