Thomas Hamilton's home -
System identifier: ID: 16354
Profile of a lone gunman.
Byline: John Smith, Stephen Breen and Michael Paterson
Article: THE gunman who slaughtered 16 children and
their teacher was a disgraced former Scout leader who was obsessed with
guns and young boys. LINK
Thomas Hamilton used to take photographs of boys wearing
only their underpants, it emerged yesterday.
The 43-year-old bachelor, who was described by neighbours
as "weird" and "solitary", also shot video film
of young boys parading in their swimming trunks. The
walls of his bedroom were plastered with pictures of boys.
Yesterday Hamilton snapped after 15 years of what he
saw was persecution from the local authorities, police and parents worried
about what went on at his boys' clubs LINK
and summer camps. LINK
For years it was the largely unspoken
fear in the community that he was either molesting boys, or at least
obtaining some sexual gratification from watching and photographing
them half naked.
More recently, tired of years of police investigation,
and council crackdowns on lets of premises, Hamilton circulated parents
in Dunblane denying that he was abusing children.
What emerged yesterday was a picture of a homosexual
who entertained a string of young men at his council home in the Braehead
area of Stirling. Hamilton had no convictions for sexual
offences, but was cautioned by Lothian and Borders police some 18 months
Hamilton ran a football team and youth club in Dunblane,
and organised summer trips for youngsters. He was a member of
Dunblane Gun Club, and had a licence to keep weapons.
One parent whose son had been to summer camp with Hamilton
at Loch Lomond said he told her that he had been at Hamilton's home
and had been shown a rifle.
Former members of the football
club described Hamilton as "a weirdo" and "a pervert".
Young members of the club described a bizarre ceremony
which preceded the selection of the team.
John McFarlane, 17, said: "He was a total pervert.
He made me take off my top and show my chest size to see who had the
biggest chest out of all the boys. If you had the biggest chest
you were allowed to pick the team. I left just after he did that,
that was it for me."
Andrew McInnes, 16, was forced to go through the same
procedure. He described how Hamilton would organise summer trips
to Loch Lomond but he was not allowed to go because his mother had heard
rumours about Hamilton. LINK
Barry Nicol, 24, said that Hamilton ran a shooting
range for boys between eight and 15. "Everyone said he was
a bit of a weirdo and there was speculation that he was a child molester. He
was a very slow and methodical man who used to pause between sentences
when he was speaking. He used to go round to see my parents to
tell them about the club.
"He was quite well liked even though there was
this speculation about him being a child molester. LINK
When I heard he had done this I wasn't surprised because of what I'd
heard in the past. He might have cracked up but you can never
tell about things like this."
A photographer from Stirling, Sandy Leathley, said
he had learned of Hamilton's obsession for guns when Hamilton had employed
him as a photographer for six weeks two years ago. His work
had included taking photographs of youngsters involved in sporting activities
at three clubs run by Hamilton at local schools.
Mr Leathley said: "One day he asked if I wanted
to see his two handguns. He said he had some live ammunition
as well. I said no as he seemed to me to be very proud of
Yet Hamilton was told a month ago he was not fit to
join a gun club because his behaviour had been dangerous at a trial
for would-be members. Three weeks into a six-month probationary
period, he was asked not to come back to Callander Rifle and Pistol
The secretary of the 50-a-year club, Raymond Reid,
said Hamilton had not followed safe procedures when he was at the club.
"He would swing the gun around a wee bit, and not just point it
in the same direction as everybody else. If you do that once,
you are out the door.
"We decided he was not fit to join - he was not
a safe gun. But he did have his own guns and the certificates
to prove it.
Four police forces investigated Hamilton after allegations
from parents about bullying by Hamilton at clubs he ran in Dunblane,
Falkirk, Linlithgow and Alva.
Concerns were also expressed about his allowing youngsters,
aged from around nine to early teens, to run around stripped to the
A mother from Dunfermline said she had complained to
the child protection unit at Fife police over reports she had received
from her son when he returned from a holiday camp at Dunblane High School.
Among complaints passed to the police was one that
Hamilton had spanked children if they were naughty; the complainer was
eventually told no action would be taken because there was insufficient
A Dunblane mother recalled making a complaint to Central
Scotland police along with a neighbour who had a youngster at a youth
and football club run by Hamilton at Alva sports centre. "He
handed out leaflets for a school camp in Dunblane for kids who would
show 'the correct aptitude'. It became apparent that it was the
quiet ones that he was choosing. Then we became concerned when
we heard he was taking pictures of half-dressed boys."
She continued: "My husband approached him, and
he said there was nothing wrong. He said that the police had it
in hand, and not to worry." [Ed
~ Was her husband a Mason? Dunblane has an exceptionally
large percentage of its citizens in the Masons.]
She added: "He [Hamilton] gave me the creeps.
He told people he was married and he came to the pool one night and
told me a boy there was his son. I knew he wasn't".
It was The Scotsman which
first drew attention to Hamilton - in November 1983 - when we reported
that 70 parents in Dunblane had been bewildered by the abrupt termination
of his let of Dunblane High for a boys club, Dunblane Rover Group.
Hamilton said that "serious allegations"
- never spelled out - had been made about him.
In a letter to Central Region, with a 70-signature
petition, a representative of parents of boys attending the club, complained
that Hamilton had been the subject of "malicious back-stabbing." All
the parents, he said, were proud to have Hamilton in charge of their
boys because of his excellent qualities of leadership and integrity.
Hamilton took the case to the Local Government Ombudsman
- and won his case. LINK
The Ombudsman, holding that Central Region had been guilty of an injustice
to Hamilton, said "the evidence that the group was well run and
was supported by parents was ignored in favour of complaints which proved
to be little better than gossip."
The finding was to set Hamilton in conflict with Central
Region, and disputes with other councils over lets for premises filled
the ensuing years.
He was also to complain of persecution from Central,
Strathclyde, Fife and Lothian and Borders police forces.
Concerns raised by parents over a summer camp on Loch
Lomond in 1988 prompted an investigation by Strathclyde police and Central.
At the beginning of 1989, the procurator-fiscal at Dumbarton said he
was taking no action in the case.
In May 1992, Hamilton wrote
to his local MP, Michael Forsyth, now the Scottish Secretary. [Ed.
~ Not to mention that Forsyth was President of the Board of Her Majesty’s
Commissioners of Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, with which Hamilton
had sinister connections. LINK
Or that Forsyth and the Lord Advocate Lord Mackay of Drumadoon,
chose the made-to-measure judge, perfect for heading the Dunblane Inquiry
whitewash within a day of the massacre. LINK]
I have received today the formal reply from Central
Scotland Police after a wait of six full months. Nowhere in the
letter is there any attempt to explain the initial need to demand, with
threats, camera equipment, and the need to launch a pervert hunt on
the basis that I take photographs of children."
He added: "It is one matter to look into a complaint
of a bully being smacked on the back of the knees with the flat of my
hand, and quite another to launch a pervert hunt on the basis that taking
pictures of children is in itself a cause of concern."
Only last week, Hamilton, who had penned many thousands
of words of complaint to chief constables, council leaders, and parents,
was to write his final letter. The former Scout leader, who never
got over being forced out of the Scouts some 20 years ago - again with
the reason never explained - wrote to the Queen. [Ed
~ The Queen is patron of the Scout Association.]