At 8.10pm on Tuesday 16 May 1989, there
was an incident involving an assault on the person of Thomas Hamilton,
the leader in charge of the Boys' Club, which uses the small Linlithgow
Academy gym hall between the hours of 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday evenings.
As Hamilton left the premises,
he was confronted by two ladies, Doreen Hagger LINK
and her friend Janet Reilly, who emptied the contents of two buckets
over him. The contents turned out to be a fairly obnoxious concoction
consisting of sun tan oil, liquid manure, flour, fish manure, vinegar,
wallpaper paste and any rubbishy stinking stuff they could lay their
hands on. The end result was that Hamilton was soaked by the substance
and required assistance to clean himself and the attendant mess.
The janitorial staff provided such assistance as was necessary.
The incident was technically an assault and as a result
the police were called to the school by the janitor. Hamilton
was interviewed at length by the police but surprisingly declined to
press charges against the ladies involved.
Linlithgow mother Doreen Hagger
and her friend Janet took the law into their own hands to try and stop
Hamilton's club and camp. Mrs Hagger told Hamilton: "I'm
sorry I couldn't get a wee boy to rub it in", referring to the
sun tan oil, as she and her friend threw the obnoxious bucket creations
over him, before Mrs Hagger kicked him up the backside. LINK
Her 11-year old son Andrew
was among the boys who attended Hamilton's camp on Inchmoan Island,
Loch Lomond in the summer of 1988. [Andrew had some time before
told the police when investigating Hamilton that the boys at the camp
were asked by Hamilton to rub sun tan oil over him. Hamilton
slept in the same tent as the boys.]
Mrs Hagger said she was not a lawbreaker but felt so
distressed by what Andrew told her about his stay at the camp - which
was being investigated by Strathclyde Police - that she wanted to end
up in court so that a judge would hear her story and a proper investigation
would take place. The women told the police it was ridiculous
that they were not being charged.
Earlier in 1989, Hamilton, who ran Falkirk Boys Club
in Graeme High School, had his let withdrawn by the Regional Council,
for which Central Scotland Police were probing.
son had previously been thrown by Hamilton into the loch off a boat
wearing a lifejacket, frightened for his life, having fallen into a
harbour in his earlier years. Mrs Hagger visited the camp in 1988
and stated in her complaint to the police that her son was forced to
wear swimming trunks - and nothing else. "It was pathetic,"
she said. "The boys were standing about blue with the
cold, Others were sobbing and crying, wanting to go home.
Hamilton wouldn't let them."
- ENDS -
Linlithgow Boys' Club
A recommendation was made to the Head of the Community
Education Service in Lothian Region Council that the club should be
de-registered on the grounds that the ratio of leader to members was
unsatisfactory; that there was no parental committee; that other regional
councils could not recommend Thomas Hamilton's clubs; that he was not
affiliated to the Scottish Association of Boys Clubs; and that there
was no insurance. However, despite this, Thomas Hamilton was granted
a further let for the year starting in the autumn of 1988.
In May 1989, a further complaint was made about Thomas
Hamilton and was later presented on behalf of Mrs Doreen Hagger by her
councillor. The complaint was that there had been inappropriate
activities at the camp on Inchmoan Island. Mrs Hagger was one
of the parents of boys who had attended that camp and, following her
son making a complaint, she had gone to the island and eventually agreed
to assist Thomas Hamilton with the camp. At a later stage, when Inspector
Keenan interviewed her son it emerged that Thomas Hamilton had allegedly
rubbed suntan oil on the boys at the camp and had asked them to do so
all over his body, on some occasions when he was not wearing pants.
She did not witness this herself. She became extremely opposed
to his activities and decided to do her utmost to persuade others of
his unsuitability to supervise boys clubs.
On 16 May 1989, Mrs Hagger, along with Mrs Janet Reilly,
who had also assisted at the camp on Inchmoan Island, assaulted Thomas
Hamilton by pouring various substances including suntan oil over him
as he was leaving Linlithgow Academy at the end of one of the meetings
of the club. In her evidence Mrs Hagger said that she wanted to stop
Thomas Hamilton organising another camp. She wanted to be taken
to court for assaulting him so that there would be a proper investigation.
She arranged for a press reporter to be present with a photographer
so that she could obtain the maximum publicity from the incident.
She also wanted Lothian Regional Council to revoke the let at Linlithgow
Academy. To her great disappointment Thomas Hamilton refused
to make any complaint against her and remained calm and polite.
It is reasonably plain that Mrs Hagger's actions led
to the Regional Council becoming aware that the 1988 camp had been the
subject of police investigations. Through the confusion between
the original report to the Procurator Fiscal at Dumbarton (who had already
decided to take no proceedings) and the report by Inspector Keenan the
education department of the Regional Council was given to understand
that a decision on proceedings against Thomas Hamilton was still pending. On
this basis the Regional Council considered that it had a duty to protect
the children which justified them in suspending the let while investigations
were proceeding. In these circumstances they suspended the let
in May 1989.
Thomas Hamilton responded by making a complaint to
the Ombudsman, but the latter decided not to carry out an investigation. He
stated that he did not consider that any criticism could be levelled
at the Regional Council having regard to the high duty of care where
children were involved. It may be noted that in this case the
existence of parental complaints, in combination with the fact that
there had been a police investigation, were sufficient to tip the balance
against the complaint. In due course the Regional Council
was informed that no action was to be taken against Thomas Hamilton. He
was told that if he submitted an application it would be considered.
Despite this, the Regional Council had developed a policy whereby any
space which he sought would be allocated for community use so as to
be unavailable for him. The assistant Director of Education, Mr
J Perry, said in evidence that they had a feeling that his organisation
was not suitable but they could not prove it.