A candle is lit to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy.   Victims' families have campaigned to be told the whole truth.

The Scotsman, Wednesday, 19 March 2003

NEWS                                                                    

DAN MCDOUGALL

FAMILIES of the victims of the Dunblane massacre last night called for further evidence relating to mass murderer Thomas Hamilton to be made public after it emerged that more than a hundred documents relating to the deaths will remain secret.

The Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, released only four police reports on Hamilton in the wake of criticisms against the Crown Office for allowing 110 documents on the case to be kept secret for 100 years.

It emerged last night that the bulk of the secret briefings, about 106 separate files, will continue to be hidden in Scotland's national archive pending further review by the Lord Advocate himself.

The decision has increased speculation that a number of documents relating to the massacre further criticise police officers who investigated Hamilton and question the historical relationship between senior political figures and the killer.

Last night, Frank Blake, whose wife, Mary, a teacher survived the 1996 massacre which left 16 Dunblane Primary School children and another teacher dead, welcomed the release of some of the police reports but said the families wanted all the documentation made available to the public.

Mr Blake said: "We are not entirely happy with this move by the Crown Office.   They have not divulged the whole lot and we want everything made public.   They shouldn't just be divulging part of the evidence.   We want to know why they were put away by Cullen [Lord Cullen chaired an inquiry into the massacre] for 100 years; what was the reason for that?   We want to know what is so important in these papers, what do they have to hide from public view?"

Last month, the SNP's justice spokesman, Michael Matheson, joined other MSPs in calling for a review of the investigation after claims that a number of reports, compiled before and after the massacre, were suppressed because they revealed links between Hamilton and a number of prominent Scots political figures.   The Central Scotland MSP triggered the debate by asking the Lord Advocate to reconsider the time ban, imposed by Lord Cullen after his inquiry, in the light of the new freedom of information legislation.

The official Crown Office reason for the 100-year closure period related to the fact that some documents refer to people who were children at the time and whose identities need to be protected in the newly-released police reports via deletion of their names.

Mr Matheson claimed that the release of four documents was a "step in the right direction" but criticised the fact that more than 100 remain secret.   He said:" I have been calling for many weeks for all the documents with a 100-year rule relating to Dunblane to be made public.   This announcement from the Lord Advocate is a step in the right direction.   However, this decision only relates to four police reports, which means that over 100 documents remain secret.   I hope therefore that this is only a first step by the Lord Advocate and that he intends to make public the remaining documents as soon as possible.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office claimed the other documents could still be released from the national archive but a decision would not be made for some time.   She said: "In light of recent public concern expressed about the 100-year period, all police reports submitted to the procurator fiscal in relation to Thomas Hamilton have been reviewed.   The Lord Advocate considered if it would be appropriate to make these reports available for public inspection and decided that in the exceptional circumstances these reports should be made available.   Once the rest of the documents are catalogued by staff at the National Archives, Mr Boyd will then consider whether more material can be released."

The reports released last night failed to shed any light on why the authorities failed to prevent Hamilton's gun licence being reviewed.   The 230-page dossier of documents had been widely tipped to give information on Hamilton's application for a handgun licence and outline his alleged links to the Masonic movement.

Instead it detailed four investigations conducted about Hamilton between 1988 and 1993 over complaints about alleged abuse and mistreatment of boys at youth camps he ran.

One report raises concerns that Hamilton "induces certain children to dress in very tight tunics which he provides for them outwith the knowledge of their parents", and notes that he took photographs of them in "questionable circumstances".   Details of these investigations were considered by Lord Cullen's inquiry in the wake of the massacre.

 

Dunblane families demand release of further 100 files
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