Sandra Uttley

Central Scotland Police

By

 

 

TO THE NEWS EDITOR

 

NEW DUNBLANE INVESTIGATION

On 3 Oct 2005, the Dunblane Inquiry documents were made available to the public at the National Archives of Scotland.  They are not a complete set of statements.

Through a series of Freedom of Information requests to Central Scotland Police, I have ascertained that many witness statements were not deposited.  These are statements of witnesses who did not give evidence at the Inquiry, nor was their evidence read out at the Inquiry.

The attached witness statement is one of these [see below].  It is the statement of an off-duty police officer who entered the gym immediately behind the headteacher Ron Taylor and the janitor John Currie.

This is the witness statement of Grant McCutcheon, now a Sergeant with Northern Constabulary.  We spoke on the phone last week and he has confirmed that the detail he gave is correct.  That is, he did not see the revolver Thomas Hamilton used to kill himself with, he saw only one holster (not 4 as we were told at the Inquiry), that Hamilton was wearing a black boilersuit (not black corduroy trousers as Lord Cullen said in his report) and that he did not see ear defenders on the gunman (well who removed them?)

Isn’t it astonishing that this witness was not called to give evidence at the Inquiry.  His role on the day has been airbrushed out of the picture.  It was only through persistent demands to Central Scotland Police that I eventually got a copy of this statement.  Isn’t it astonishing that it wasn’t deposited at the Archives and was probably never intended to be.

It is time now for an independent investigation into Central Scotland Police.  How many more witness statements have they held back from the National Archives of Scotland?  It is nearly 10 years since the Massacre at Dunblane Primary School.  It is time now to honour the dead with the truth.

For further information, contact:
Sandra Uttley
Tel 01947 840071
Email: SandraUttley@aol.com

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Letter from Central Scotland Police

17 Nov 2005

Dear Ms Uttley

Witness statement of Off Duty Police Officer who entered Dunblane Primary School Gym

Recently we wrote to you in relation to a Freedom of Information request concerning the identity of an off-duty police officer who entered Dunblane Primary School gymnasium shortly after the shootings there on 13th March 2005 (sic!).  At that time, we understood that the statements of all those adults who were present at the gym and surrounding area in the immediate aftermath of the shootings there had been deposited in the National Archives of Scotland for the public to consult following redaction to protect personal information.  It has now come to our attention that the statement of the off-duty police officer who was the subject of your request has not yet been deposited.   I am hoping to arrange with the other parties for the deposit of this document in the near future, but in the meantime I enclose a redacted copy in the hope that you will find it of relevance and interest.

Yours sincerely
John Brims
Freedom of Information Officer

STATEMENT OF WITNESS – CIVILIAN

SUMMARY – Off duty police officer delivering his child to the Nursery at the locus, enters gym after shooting

Taken by : DC 290
Date taken : Sunday 17.03.1996
Time: 1640
At : Home Address

STATES:

I am thirty one years of age and have completed eighteen months police service.  I am currently stationed at Falkirk Police Office and have been for the duration of my police service.

I currently reside at the address given with my wife and two children.  My children’s names are ________ aged 4 and _________ aged 2 _________ . _________ attends at Dunblane Primary School Nursery, Doune Road, Dunblane from Monday to Friday (0930 hours to 1145 hours each day).

On Wed 13 March 1996 I was officially rostered for a rest day.

About 0927 hours, same date, I left my house at _______________, Dunblane and conveyed both my children to my vehicle parked outside.  I placed both children into the rear of my Vauxhall Astra red coloured Reg No ___________ and secured them.

I then drove to Dunblane Primary School in Old Doune Road, Dunblane and entered the school yard via the main gates.  I drove up the main drive and parked my vehicle in an area directly at the top of the drive.  There were other vehicles parked there, however I cannot recall what types or colours.  I can recall I had a bit of a job getting a space.

I arrived at the school at about 0932 hours.  I am aware of the time as I knew the nursery class began at 0930 and I knew I was just a bit late, that is how I came to ascertain that time.

I took my children from the car and walked them into the school via the main entrance. I was not aware of any white van or delivery vehicles parked anywhere there at that time.

I entered the main reception area, turned left and walked down a set of stairs.  I did not see anyone at that time nor did I hear anything.

I then turned left again and entered the corridor of the nursery wing.  I then entered the first classroom on the right, the class where I normally leave _________ .   I allowed _________ to enter the class and left with my son.

I walked my son to an area in the corridor I previously described of the nursery wing and he decided that he wanted to play with some toys that were there.  I stood there as he played at a Wendy House type toy.  I stood there for about three minutes or so, I still didn’t hear anything of the incident.

I was then aware of a group of children, about seven or eight year olds, walking from a corridor which leads onto the corridor I was standing in.  They were being followed by a teacher, I assumed.  She was middle aged, greying hair, wearing a shift.  I cannot describe her further.  She was “shooing” the children on towards myself.  They all passed me and entered the third room on the right.  I believe they call the room the GP room.

The corridor was then empty with the exception of myself and my son and a female.  She was about 5’ 8” in height, late 20s-early 30s, long dark hair and was wearing glasses.  She was of a medium build and was wearing black leggings and a dark coloured top.

At that time, a female known to me as Mrs ________(S35/D) the Deputy Head, entered the corridor where I was, through the double entrance doors.

She was quite calm and informed me that there was a man in the school.  She continued to tell me that he was in the gymnasium and that he was shooting.   I immediately thought that she was talking of someone with an air pistol as I didn’t hear any gun shots.

She then told me that he was in the gym shooting at that time.  I then thought that it was something to be really concerned about.

I told her I was a policeman and asked if I could help.  She replied “Yes please”.  I handed my son to the female in the corridor and asked her to look after him as I intended to go to the gym.

I ran up the corridor of the nursery wing to the main corridor or that area with Mrs _____ at my heels.

I turned right into that corridor and ran up the small set of stairs there, where the janitors office is located.  I saw a female, aged mid to late forties, short greying hair, wearing a shirt and a dark coloured cardigan (witness __________ S385/D).  She had blood on her hands and I could see blood on her head from an area to the rear of her head.  I could see that she was conscious and was moving; however, she was lying at the top of the stairs on the left almost opposite the janitor’s office.

I formed the opinion that she wasn’t in any immediate danger and so I continued to run towards the assembly hall area.  I don’t think I passed anyone en route to the assembly hall.

I entered the assembly hall via swing doors and saw that there was no one within.

I didn’t know where to go from there and so Mrs __________ told me to turn right.  I did so and went through another set of double doors leading to a corridor.  I turned left and ran along the corridor.  There was a flight of stairs half way along the corridor.  I ran up these stairs and on the left side of the corridor further on there was about a group of children in gym kit sitting on the floor with their backs propped against the wall on the left.  I can recall the last child was a young boy.  I cannot describe their ages or descriptions, however, I could tell that they were wearing blue T-shirts and dark shorts.

I saw that all four children had gunshot wounds.  I can recall that the young boy at the end had what appeared to me pellet marks to his left leg.  I could not ascertain where the wounds were or what they consisted of.  I know that all had bloodstained clothing.  The little boy at the end spoke to me (witness ______ ).  He said words to the effect of “HE’S GOT A GUN MISTER”.

I could tell that all were conscious and breathing and I continued to the doors leading to the gym hall itself.

Both doors were ajar.  I do not recall if they were wedged or otherwise.  I entered and saw carnage.  A flurry of thoughts and feelings came on me and I was aware of a strong smell of gunsmoke.  I also formed the opinion that all the children I saw were dead as all were motionless.

I saw a group of bodies to my immediate right at the entrance doors where I stood.  That was the group where the teacher (deceased Mayor) was that died.  I can recall that her body was on top of other children.  I saw that they were dressed in gym kit, blue T-shirt and dark shorts.  I formed the opinion that they were all dead.

I also saw a group to my left, halfway up the left side of the hall.  They consisted of about four or five further children, wearing exactly the same state of dress.  I formed the opinion they were all dead also.  I also saw another group of children half way up the gym hall on the right side.  That group consisted of about four children who looked dead.

I further observed the janitor (witness _______ S27/D) who was standing to the left side of a black figure lying on the floor.  I knew he was the gunman.  I formed this opinion as he had shot himself in the head and together with other factors in my mind I took him to be as such.  As I took all this in and formed my opinions I saw two pistols there.

I saw that his head had been blown away and the contents were behind him.  I was focused on this image.  I then saw the janitor bend down at the gunman’s left side and saw him retrieve a pistol.  It was dark coloured and was not a revolver.  I cannot describe it further.  I also saw a further pistol lying to the left side of the gunman’s body.  That was dark coloured as well and wasn’t a revolver.

I also said to the janitor as he stood up to put the pistol down on the floor.  I saw him place it at his feet.  He was standing some 5-6 feet at the side of the gunman’s feet.  He told me he just wanted to get the gun away from him.

I also saw, at the same time as all this, that the gunman was gurgling and breathing heavily.  I formed the opinion that he was still alive but obviously nearing death.  He was wearing a black boiler suit and he had a tan coloured leather holster around his waist on the left side.  He appeared to be wearing a dark coloured anorak which had fallen open.  I didn’t notice his footwear.  I saw magazines, black coloured, lying about him.  I do not know what number.  I did see spent cases of ammunition lying about his body also.  I could not put a number on them.

I didn’t see ear defenders on the gunman at all.

I saw the janitor (witness _________ ) walk towards me at that point.  I also saw the headmaster (witness __________ S64/D) standing in the centre of the hall looking in the direction of the gunman.  I saw that he appeared to be stunned and motionless.  He then looked at me and asked me who I was.  I told him I was a policeman.

He ran up to me and started shouting at me “What can we do?” a couple of times.  I tried to make a sensible decision then and take in all that I saw and had seen.  I couldn’t decide if I should commence first aid on anybody or whether to contact any of the emergency services.

I decided to choose the latter.  I told him, the headmaster (witness ________) to see if he could administer first aid on anyone and told him specifically how to stop the flow of blood from a wound.  I told him to find some rags or other suitable materials for this purpose.

As Mrs _________ was still standing behind me I told her I needed to use a telephone.  She told me to follow her and that she would get me an outside line somewhere.  I followed her to a room I believe is the headmaster’s office.

Mrs _________ obtained an outside line and passed the telephone over to me.  I dialled the telephone number 456000 and spoke to a male recipient of the call.  I think this was the operator at headquarters.

I asked for the control room and was diverted there.  I told him that I was PC _______ and that I was at Dunblane Primary School.  I continued and told them that there had been a major firearms incident and that there were at least a dozen dead or wounded.  I told him that we needed ambulances.

I think he then passed me onto a Sergeant (non witness _________ ) and he asked me what was happening with the gunman.  I told him he was dead and he told me that we “didn’t need the firearms team out”.

I told him that I would keep the line open and remain there.  Whilst I was on the telephone I saw the first of the Dunblane police officers arrive (police witnesses _________ S30/D and ___________ S31/D).  They were running from the reception area towards the assembly hall (west).

After they had run out of sight, police witness _________ returned to my position and I handed the telephone to him.  I didn’t identify myself to him and I don’t think he knew me.

I then went back out the main entrance (north side of building) as I knew that ambulances would be arriving.  I knew I had to clear their passage into the school.

I ran out to carry out this task and en route passed a white van, possibly a Bedford make and the same size, style as a Sherpa van.  I cannot recall if there was anything written on the sides or anywhere on the vehicle.  The engine was still running and I think it was a diesel engine. It was unattended.

The van was parked on a raised car parking area to my left (west) between the nursery corridor and the portable classrooms on the right (west).

I saw a woman (unidentified) whom I cannot describe in any way at all.  She was standing halfway along the nursery corridor on the exterior of the building.  She looked as if she might be heading for the main entrance to the school.

I shouted to her if she knew where the driver of this van I’ve described was.   She said he was in the kitchen (witness _______ ).  I went into the kitchen via the exterior doors (north side).  I saw a male person there with some documentation on him (witness ________ ).  He was dressed in a purple coloured uniform and was about 5’ 10” tall, mid to late 40’s, slim build, grey hair, short.  I can recall he had a grey moustache as well.

I told him to move his van.  I left the kitchen first followed by this male.  I saw him getting into this van and he drove off towards the main entrance gates.

I then ran around the same route this driver had taken and saw a blue coloured Ford Granada.  It was the square shaped Granada.  I did not look at the registration number of the car.

It was driving southwards and I first saw it as she was at the top of the main drive turning to her left (eastwards).  She, the driver (unidentified), turned to her left and I stopped her there.

She was seated, obviously, round faced, mid 30’s, short dirty fair coloured hair.   She also had a boy seated in the rear of her vehicle.    He was seated in the rear passenger side.   I could not describe him at all other than he had short dark hair.

I told her that there was no point stopping at the school as there had been an incident that necessitated ambulances to arrive to help injured children.

At that point she manoeuvred her vehicle and drove off back down the main drive.

I then ran down the driveway towards the main old Doune Road and stopped at the entrance to await the arrival of ambulances.

I was still not aware of any white van parked in the areas I’ve run through.

I stood at the entrance for about a minute or so at which time a Police traffic vehicle arrived from Tesco’s direction (west).  He drove up to me and I asked him to park his car somewhere not in the route leading to the gym.  He parked on a pavement on the east side of the main drive somewhere near the gates. He was Sergeant __________ (non witness).  He was unaccompanied.

Soon thereafter, my next door neighbour, witness __________ (S235/D), arrived on foot from the same direction as the previous vehicle.

He came up and asked me what had happened.   He told me that his wife (non witness _________ ) had telephoned him and told him of what she had heard had happened. He came down to assist.

I told him that I had seen his eldest daughter and his son as she, the daughter (non witness __________) had been one of the group who walked towards me whilst I stood at the nursery corridor.  I also knew that his son (non witness _________ ) was in that nursery corridor in one of the classrooms.  I told him they were alright.  He told me he was going into the school to look for them and he walked off towards the school.

Thereafter there was a succession of police vehicles arrived at the school via the main gates. There were marked and unmarked vehicles.  I did not recognise any of the drivers or personnel.

I again directed them to areas which would not block the route an ambulance would take.  At that point the first ambulance arrived.  It was manned by a male and female (witnesses ___________ S34/D and S33/D).   I knew it was the Callander crew as they told me.  I directed them to the path leading to the main entrance and I ran in front of the vehicle.

The male ambulance crew member (witness _______ ) departed and asked me if the situation was genuine.  I told him yes and informed him that we would need more ambulances and asked him to contact his control.  He did that and I saw him speak into his radio set.

I gave them verbal directions from the main entrance to the gym itself and I saw them enter the school.

I ran back to the main entrance/exit; however I failed to notice anyone specifically en route.  I spoke to the occupants of a car that had arrived.   They told me they were doctors and I sent them up to the gymnasium.  I could not describe the vehicle or any of the occupants.

Another ambulance arrived travelling from the direction of Tesco’s.  It stopped at the pedestrian entrance to the school.  I ran out towards them and signalled for it to come to me.  It did so and I noticed a vehicle behind same.  It was being driven by a male (witness __________ Ambulance Officer), early 40’s, dark balding hair wearing a black bomber jacket with two pips thereon.  The passenger I cannot describe.  I believe the ambulance crews were from Stirling.

They drove up the drive (south) and I saw a policeman in uniform standing at the top of the drive.  He directed the ambulance and the vehicle behind along the east side of huts on the west side of the school yard.  I believe that takes you to another entrance to the gym (west side of the gym hall).

After that due to the quantity of traffic and personnel arriving at the school I cannot recall anything further other than the activity.

A short time later a traffic policeman came to my position to relieve me.  I ran back up through the main entrance to the school and I saw Inspector (non witness) in the dining hall area.  I asked him if there was anything I could do to which he replied that I could stand between the dining room and reception area.  I was told to guard this area and to keep out unwanted persons.

Sergeant ________ (non witness) gave me his yellow bib which I put on.  I stood there until 1230 – 1300 hours. I saw about four injured children being conveyed from the assembly hall to the main entrance exit.  Two of the injured were conveyed by trolley accompanied by ambulance staff however I couldn’t describe any of them at all.  Two children were carried out in the arms of others, however I couldn’t describe them in any way at all.

About 1230 - 1300 hours, same date, I asked witness __________ (S505/D) if I could go as I wanted to get to my children.  He obliged with this request and I uplifted my children from the nursery, along with ___________    I then went to my vehicle; however, I was told by Constable ________ that I couldn’t get out the entrance/exit as parents were being brought through.  I walked home via the pedestrian access.

I met up with ___________ (non witness), an off duty policeman, who had not been in the school but was in Dunblane.  He gave me a lift home.

On that day I was wearing black jeans, green/brown coloured boots, blue denim long sleeve shirt, with a green/white coloured striped T-shirt underneath.  I was also wearing a khaki corduroy coat.

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Dunblane

Central Scotland Police

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