Dunblane gunman, Thomas
Hamilton, may have taken his own life in a "ritual"
after carrying out the massacre he had
planned for months, the Cullen Inquiry
The assessment was
given by a forensic psychologist, Professor David
Cooke, on the 23rd day of the inquiry.
Only one more
witness remains to be called, and the inquiry
was last night adjourned until 8 July.
from the remaining witness, a consultant forensic scientist,
Dr John Baird, the inquiry
will hear final submissions from lawyers.
inquiry heard from Prof Cooke,
of Glasgow's Caledonian University, yesterday, that Hamilton
might have fallen into a class of sexual sadists who turned to
violence when their self-esteem was challenged. And
the way he took his own life - switching weapons to a .357 revolver
~ the first policeman on the spot said in his statement
was no revolver.],
after killing 16 children and their teacher
with a Browning semi-automatic pistol - had ritual
would speculate that he formed the [suicide] intention before
he killed the other people", said Prof Cooke. "But
that is purely speculation, based on the fact he changed weapons
killing himself - it seems ritualistic."
Cooke told the inquiry on Thursday
that Hamilton was probably not a psychopath,
but showed signs of a sadistic personality disorder and paedophile
interests, and may have killed the children to take
"revenge" on their parents.
he said yesterday: "There seems to be good evidence that
he was planning this for several months beforehand. The
fact that fewer boys were going to his clubs, the fact that he
was being refused access to places to run these clubs, the fact
that he was in debt, would all impact on his self-esteem."
rather than suddenly "flipping", his murderous rampage
was likely to have been the outcome of long-term personality difficulties.
professor told risk-assessment pre-screening was unlikely to predict
"dangerousness" with a high degree of reliability. Because
mental disorders could flare up rapidly, reviewing firearms
holders only once every five years would give him "concern".
bringing this period down to every three years, or even annually,
would still not necessarily pick up such mental problems.
inquiry also heard how some doctors
believed they should behave like "conscientious objectors",
and have nothing to do with the firearms certificate
present, gun licence applications need a counter-signature and
doctors are one of eight categories of people specified for this
a consultant surgeon, Arthur Morris,
chairman of the BMA, said many doctors felt a GP's
endorsement could carry a weight it did not warrant - because
of the unpredictability of human behaviour even for experts in
medical expert called for screening which would involve police
surgeons - who would study a detailed questionaire
filled in by a gun licence applicant's
Hugh Davies, past president of the Association
of Police Surgeons and an independent consultant
forensic medical examiner, said this would at least pick up those
with a history of mental illness or similar signs of unsuitability.
should not be required to countersign applications as this could
damage the doctor-patient relationship, and could even put GPs
at risk of revenge through a refusal.
regard to such a questionaire, there should be an onus on an applicant
to show that he was fit to hold firearms
- rather than was the case with the present system, where the
police had to show he was not.
don't think it's practically possible to have a full medical examination
for every person who applies for a certificate," said Dr
Davies, a consultant to the Northants and Warwickshire
from the logistical problems that posed, a doctor could not foresee
future outbreaks of extreme behaviour like Hamilton's.