of missed warnings that left Hamilton
free to kill
ADAMS and TOM GORDON October 04 2005
did not carry out routine checks on two decades of criminal intelligence
about Thomas Hamilton which could have prevented
the Dunblane massacre.
files released to the public for the first time yesterday
reveal numerous criminal allegations were held on file
against the man responsible for killing 16 children and
their teacher, but officers failed to revoke his firearms
report by the former deputy chief constable of Strathclyde
Police showed investigations into Hamilton's
behaviour and allegations of child abuse and impropriety with guns
dated back to the early 1970s. However, these were not checked
when he applied for his certificate to be renewed.
Hamilton walked into Dunblane
Primary School's gymnasium on March 13,
1996 and opened fire using weapons he was licensed to
Also included in the 3000-plus files, was the revelation
that the date was a final deadline for Hamilton
paying council tax arrears of £228.98, and was the
last day before the then Central Regional Council executed
a warrant allowing it to freeze at source any wages he
might have, and his bank account.
Cullen's inquiry had already heard of the growing desperation
of Hamilton as he struggled with rising
debt and speculation about his sexuality. A financial analysis
showed he had total bank and building society assets of three pence,
an overdraft of £6472, and owed £1500 to Barclaycard and
£722 on a Debenhams charge card. He had very little income.
files from the inquiry into the massacre
were to be kept confidential for 100 years
to protect the families of the victims but, in the face of public
pressure, ministers and the lord advocate
decided to release them with the names of witnesses removed. [Ed.
~ The public were told that the reason for the (nonstatutory, therefore
illegal) closure order was to protect the
names of child sex abuse victims.]
show a litany of allegations raised about Hamilton
and failures by the police, procurators
fiscal and local authorities to act upon them.
first granted a firearms certificate in 1977, "albeit during
the 1970s he was investigated by police
following allegations of indecent
conduct towards boys", one of the files says.
The Strathclyde Police report explains that
responsibility for checking and disseminating intelligence held on
Hamilton fell "between two stools"
and that there was no evidence his file had been consulted by divisional
commanders before approval.
newly released information also indicates earlier intelligence and
"pertinent details" on allegations were later removed from
police files in line with their routine
Contrary to firearms policy at the time, officers routinely
failed to check his membership of gun clubs, ambiguities
in his references, and intelligence held on him.
1988, Hamilton is alleged to have made veiled
threats to a woman by stating he had four guns and saying she should
watch what she said to the police.
The report found this information was not contained in his file.
the same year, he is alleged to have handed out handguns and semi-automatic
weapons to the sons of a family he knew. This was reported to
Lothian and Borders Police but neither a
witness nor Hamilton were interviewed.
files also reveal that, despite investigations by police
into three of his boys' camps after allegations of verbal and physical
abuse, the procurators fiscal took no proceedings.
In 1989, a police officer filed a report
suggesting he had committed lewd and libidinous offences and called
for a warrant to search his house for photos of boys forced to wear
swimming trunks. The fiscal
said there was insufficient evidence.
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