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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Earlier in 1989, Hamilton, who ran Falkirk Boys Club in Graeme High School, had his let withdrawn by the Regional Council, for which Central Scotland Police were probing.

Doreen Hagger's 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.

Doreen Hagger assaults Thomas Hamilton
Incident at Linlithgow Academy on 16 May 1989

Doreen Hagger

Doreen Hagger

This information was gleaned from the 19 May 1989 edition of the Lothian Courier and the 30 March 1989 edition of the Falkirk Herald and also from the Cullen Inquiry transcript. The two newspaper articles were put on Lord Cullen's non-statutory, therefore illegal 100-year closure order. Under pressure from the public, the Scottish Executive finally ordered the release of the documents on Monday, 3 October 2005.
Copyright © 2016 William Burns. All rights reserved.
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Read the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue. LINK
Dunblane Angels
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The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 massacre.
List of the victims of the Dunblane massacre
Victoria Clydesdale
Mhairi MacBeath
Charlotte Dunn
Melissa Currie
Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
We know who killed the above victims, 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!
Why did Lord Cullen try to bury William Burns' letters to him for 100 years? LINK