DS Paul Hughes
Subject: CS: Legal-Dunblane Disclosure
Firearms Certificate - Thomas Watt Hamilton
7 Kent Road, Stirling
refer to the above and have to report as follows. On Tuesday, 23rd
July 1991 the Child Protection Unit, Bannockburn, became involved
in an investigation surrounding allegations regarding the above-named's
treatment of a group of children whom he had taken on a summer holiday
camp to Loch Lomond. Hamilton is a self-styled 'youth leader'
and as such runs boys' clubs in Dunblane, Stirling and Dunfermline. During
the course of my investigation I discovered that Hamilton was no stranger
to controversy and similar investigations had been undertaken by this
and Strathclyde Police Forces in the past. Hamilton also features
in local criminal Intelligence files. Throughout my investigation
I met and spoke with Hamilton on a number of occasions. It is as
a result of the impressions left with me by this man that I
feel compelled to make this report. I have recently discovered that
Hamilton possesses a firearms certificate which indicates that he owns
a 9mm Browning pistol and a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver. He
also has permission to acquire a .22 rifle and a 7.62 rifle.
This concerns me. I am firmly of
the opinion that Hamilton is an unsavoury character and an unstable personality.
It emerged from enquiries that he, during the course of the first week
of camp, seemed to become increasingly stressed and had difficulty managing
the group. It was during one such moment that he became extremely
angry and assaulted one of the boys. This particular child was in
fact assaulted three times by Hamilton during the first few days of the
holiday and was eventually removed by his parents. Furthermore,
allegations were made, albeit uncorroborated, by one of the children that
Hamilton induced the child to pose in various compromising positions,
scantily clad in extremely ill-fitting swimming trunks for photographs.
To date these photographs have not been recovered but neither I
nor the officer who interviewed the child have any reason to disbelieve
that the allegations are in fact wholly true. Convincing corroborated
evidence was uncovered which confirms that two boxes containing approximately
36 slides each have not been recovered by the police despite Hamilton's
claims that he handed over all of the photographs taken. Mr.
Hamilton has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal in this regard for
obstructing the police. The foregoing report, in part, conveys
some of the concerns which I harbour about this man. I firmly believe
that he has an extremely unhealthy interest in young boys which to a degree
appears to have been controlled to date. It is his ploy, whenever
challenged, to engage in 'smokescreen' tactics which divert attention
[Ed. ~ "divert the discourse"
- a Masonic ruse.] from the focal issue and this is the purpose
for the profusion of correspondence to MPs, Procurators Fiscal, the Chief
Constable and the like. I would contend that Mr. Hamilton will be
a risk to children whenever he has access to them and that he appears
to me to be an unsuitable person to possess a firearms certificate in
view of the number of occasions he has come to the adverse attention of
the police and his apparent instability. LINK The
Procurator Fiscal at Stirling LINK
has not yet decided on whether or not he will proceed with the case against
Hamilton but at the moment it appears in all likelihood that he will not.
I respectfully request that serious
consideration is given to withdrawing this man's firearms certificate
as a precautionary measure as it is my opinion that he is a scheming,
devious and deceitful individual who is not to be trusted.
Hughes' encounters with Thomas Hamilton
On 23 July 1991 DS (now Chief Inspector) Paul Hughes,
who was in charge of the Child Protection Unit at Bannockburn was informed
of a complaint by a parent about Thomas Hamilton's camp at Mullarochy
Bay which was within the area of Central Scotland Police. This
camp was held for a period of 2 weeks with some 20 boys in the age range
of 6-11 years attending for part or all of the time. It had been
understood that the camp would be supervised by 4-6 adults. In
fact, the only assistance which Thomas Hamilton had was one other adult
who arrived after the first week. There were complaints about
assault and the videotaping of boys. DS Hughes assigned DC
Grant Kirk and a social work colleague. They went to the camp
on 23 July and interviewed Thomas Hamilton under caution. He effectively
admitted the assault but sought to justify it. Once more there
was concern about boys being required to wear black swimming trunks.
DS Hughes had not encountered Thomas Hamilton before
but learned that he would be likely to be quick to complain. He
therefore decided to become involved in the investigation and visited
the camp on 25 July in the company of DC Kirk. The main purpose
of this visit was to return camera equipment which Thomas Hamilton had
surrendered 2 days before, but it also provided DS Hughes with an opportunity
to look at the camp himself. As regards the assault Thomas Hamilton
admitted under caution to slapping a child across the face. His
justification was that the boy had been disruptive, a bully, had assaulted
another child, had thrown a stone which hit another child in the eye
and needed chastisement. He also admitted to slapping the same
boy across the leg and grabbing him. Concerns had also been raised
about the nature of the photographs which he had taken and about a trip
to an island where the children had been forced to take part in the
making of a videofilm on the lines of "The Lord of the Flies".
In particular one child was forced to lie in cold water against his
will. The children were cold and wet and were dressed only in
swimming trunks during a rain shower as Thomas Hamilton prevented them
from putting their clothes on. When he was asked to provide photographs
he had taken Thomas Hamilton denied that he had taken any still photographs.
During his visit DS Hughes became concerned about the
lack of supervision at the camp. Half a dozen boys were running
around the camp area but the others were out of sight. They were
about 400-500 yards away at a jetty and out of clear view of the camp.
It took DS Hughes some 3 or 4 minutes to walk down to the jetty where
he found the boys, the youngest being only 6 years old, jumping from
the jetty into a boat and back out again. The water there was
deep and not one of the boys was wearing a life jacket. Thomas
Hamilton did not know the boys were there. When he was questioned
about the potential for accidents he said that they were capable of
looking after themselves and that he could provide any assistance in
the event of an accident. Some of the parents had removed their
children after DC Kirk's first visit to the camp.
One of the boys who was interviewed later said that
he had been singled out by Thomas Hamilton, taken alone to an individual
tent and photographed in red-coloured swimming trunks. DS
Hughes feared that this boy was being singled out for special treatment
and perhaps for future abuse. Thomas Hamilton denied any
such intention and denied taking such photographs.
On 30 July and in response to a request from the police
he handed over 6 boxes of slides and about 150 still photographs. There
was reason to believe that he deceived the police. DS Hughes discovered
at the shop in Stirling where Thomas Hamilton had handed in what was
to be developed that he had in fact received eight boxes of slides:
and that a ninth had recently arrived for him. DS Hughes
did not take possession of that box at that time, but at a later date
when it was handed over by Thomas Hamilton.
In the result there were two boxes of slides which
were never recovered by the police. Among the photographs which
were recovered there were a large number of the particular boy who was
plainly a favourite and had been given special jobs on the camp.
However, there were no photographs of him wearing red swimming trunks.
A processor in Livingston had also contacted the shop in Stirling in
order to express her concern about the content of some of the photographs. It
is impossible to know whether the boxes which were not recovered by
the police contained photographs which would have given rise to even
greater concern. As regards the photographs which were recovered
by the police, although there were various different poses by boys wearing
black swimming trunks there was no explicit indecency. DS
Hughes considered that Thomas Hamilton had been untruthful about the
photographs. The nature of them made him concerned about the "stability"
of his personality and his unhealthy interest in children.
At this stage DS Hughes himself became the target of
complaints by Thomas Hamilton who wrote to the Chief Constable, the
Deputy Chief Constable, his MP and other persons about him. DS
Hughes continued his investigations and when he had gathered all the
information which he considered relevant he decided to try to interview
Thomas Hamilton under caution and give him an opportunity to respond
to the allegations. As he himself was the subject of a complaint
he sought advice from colleagues and the Procurator Fiscal at Stirling
as to how he should proceed.
The Procurator Fiscal, Mr K Valentine, advised him
to invite Thomas Hamilton to the police office on a voluntary basis
for an interview under caution. Thomas Hamilton refused to
be interviewed. DS Hughes then delivered his very substantial
report to the Procurator Fiscal on 6 September 1991. This report
included 10 charges drafted against Thomas Hamilton. They had
a brief discussion. Mr Valentine doubted whether the report revealed
sufficient evidence of criminality to merit court proceedings. However
he decided to have further enquiries made and to have the boys precognosced
before reaching a final decision. He was troubled by the contents
of the report and the situation that was revealed. He was concerned
to have it confirmed that the situation had been drawn to the attention
of other agencies that might have an interest.
One of the Procurator Fiscal Deputes prepared a note
indicating that, in his view, there was not a great deal to substantiate
many of the charges proposed by the police, with the possible exception
of the charges of assault and a charge of breach of the peace based
on Thomas Hamilton shouting and swearing at the boys. When the
precognitions were obtained it was noted that none of the parents had
anything to add to their statements and some of them had shown concern
at the thought that Thomas Hamilton was being suspected of anything
untoward. They had not stopped their children going to his clubs.
On 18 November 1991, having considered all the material,
Mr W Gallagher, Procurator Fiscal Depute, decided that no criminal proceedings
should be taken, marking the papers "no pro:no crime libelled:
not in the public interest". On the same date he wrote to
Thomas Hamilton advising him of his decision and informing him that
the police had been instructed to return his photographs to him.
Mr Gallagher's view was that in relation to some of the allegations
the evidence did not indicate criminality and, where criminality was
indicated, the circumstances, taken at their highest were not such as
to require prosecution in the public interest. Mr Valentine
and Mr Gallagher had discussed DS Hughes' report on several occasions.
Both took the view that while the contents of the report had troubled
them they were of the view that the conduct had approached but not crossed
the border of criminality.
Miss Laura Dunlop in her closing submission also maintained
that proceedings could have been taken against Thomas Hamilton in respect
of charges 2-7 of those framed by DS Hughes. Mr Bonomy pointed
out that the evidence plainly indicated that the child who had been
struck by Thomas Hamilton had obviously been behaving in a violent and
Once again the question of whether proceedings could
have been taken against Thomas Hamilton does not turn on any matter
which is properly within my province to review. There is no question
of the decision not to prosecute turning on any view of the law which
can be seen to be mistaken. Thus there is no basis for my entertaining
criticism of the decision taken by the Procurator Fiscal.
During the course of these investigations DS Hughes
discovered that Thomas Hamilton had a firearms certificate. While
the papers were before the Procurators Fiscal and anticipating that
no proceedings would be taken against Thomas Hamilton, he submitted
a memorandum dated 11 November 1991 to the Detective Superintendent,
CID Headquarters, in which he requested that serious consideration should
be given to withdrawing the firearms certificate as a precautionary
Thomas Hamilton made a formal complaint about DS Hughes
which was investigated by Chief Inspector Ferguson. His
report completely exonerated DS Hughes. In his report Chief Inspector
Ferguson stated: "I have completed 30 years police service, a long
number of these as a CID Officer. Throughout these years I interviewed
many hard criminals, many aggressive people, many reluctant witnesses,
many complainers against the police but I can honestly say the interviews
with Mr Hamilton were the most exasperating of my career".
Not satisfied with this result Thomas Hamilton complained about the
way in which Chief Inspector Ferguson had carried out his investigation
but nothing came of this. The Chief Constable sought advice from
the Department of Administration and Legal Services of Central Regional
Council about the raising of proceedings for defamation against Thomas
Hamilton in respect of his statements about officers of Central Scotland
Police, but it was considered that such proceedings would not deter
him and would give him the opportunity to air his views about a conspiracy
between the Scouts, the police and the Regional Council.
Thomas Hamilton also complained to the Ombudsman about
the conduct of Central Scotland Police and to the Social Work Department
claiming that his activities had been harassed and disrupted and his
character had been defamed. The Ombudsman dealt with this complaint
by pointing out that the police lay outside his jurisdiction, and that
defamation was a matter for a court of law.