DUNBLANE KILLER

EXCLUSIVE
By Gina Davidson
GOT    GUNS FRO M TOP TORY
Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday March 23 1996 - Front-page lead
Rifkind's pal sold guns to killer
THE man who sold guns to Dunblane killer Thomas Hamilton is a close friend of Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, the Evening News can reveal today.

Gun shop owner Robert Bell, who lives in Balerno, is chairman of the Conservative party for Edinburgh Pentlands constituency - the seat held by Mr Rifkind.    Today Mr Rifkind backed Mr Bell and said he was a man he held in high regard.

Election

"I have known Bob a long time and he is a very responsible businessman and a man I have deep respect for," he said.

Mr Bell, who is reported to have said he would sell the guns again despite the murder of 16 children and their teacher, will play a key role in Mr Rifkind's campaign at the next General Election.   [Ed ~ A safe seat that Rifkind would lose.  You at least deserve plaudits for that, Robert.]

Mr Rifkind denied the pair's friendship would affect his position on gun laws.   "The fact that I know Bob is not going to affect my stance," he said.

But the Foreign Secretary, in the Capital to celebrate the Conservatives' council by-election win in Baberton refused to state his views on gun law because of the public inquiry launched by the Government.

Today Labour MP for Edinburgh South, Nigel Griffiths, said: "This endorsement of Mr Bell by Mr Rifkind is really rather premature.   I think that Lord Cullen should be investigating the role of all those who were supplying guns and ammunition to this monster.   Clearly the issue of the responsibility of people who sell guns has to be examined thoroughly."

Hamilton bought his arms and ammunition from Mr Bell at his gun shop D Crockart & Son, King Street, Stirling.   He has been an occasional customer for many years.

Pistols

Today, Mr Bell refused to comment on his friendship with Mr Rifkind.   After the gym-hall Massacre, he said Hamilton's purchases from his shop were authorised under firearms regulations.

"His conduct on each occasion was correct in every respect," he said.   Hamilton had been at Mr Bell's shop only a few weeks before he shot 28 calmly primary one children and their teacher in Dunblane Primary ten days ago.

Mr Bell would not say whether the three 9mm pistols and the revolver found at the scene were bought from him.   But he confirmed his shop had the permit to sell handguns and that Hamilton had the correct licence.

The Cullen Inquiry will start taking evidence in June.

Lord Cullen's report will cover the events leading up to the tragedy, the licensing of guns, school security and the working of Hamilton's mind.

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Malcolm Rifkind

Dunblane Massacre
Click here to view the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue
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The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 Massacre
We know that the above victims were killed by Thomas Hamilton, but, although we may not care, we do not know for sure who killed Thomas Hamilton, and why that person was carrying a revolver at the time!
Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Victoria Clydesdale
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
Charlotte Dunn
Mhairi MacBeath
Melissa Currie
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
List of the victims of the Dunblane Massacre
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