Daily Mail, Wednesday, March 10, 2004
By Marcello Mega

Eight years after gunman Thomas Hamilton massacred 16 children and their teacher, a father who lost his daughter expresses grave concerns about the ensuing inquiry, and raises six key questions

Dr Mick North

Dr Mick North



"It is clear that Thomas Hamilton had friends within Central Scotland Police"

STARTLING new claims that senior police and legal figures ordered a cover-up over the Dunblane school massacre emerged last night.

Dr Mick North, whose daughter was murdered in the tragedy, is to write to the Lord Advocate [Colin Boyd], Scotland's top law officer, with allegations that the evidence was suppressed or never heard.

In an astonishing attack, Dr Mick North branded the original inquiry into the 1996 massacre of 16 schoolchildren and their teacher as a "piece of theatre" and an "exercise in damage limitation".LINK

He said: "If it wasn't an outright cover-up or whitewash, it was at the very least a paint job by the establishment to brush out some of the worst failings of a system that had allowed Thomas Hamilton to remain free and keep his guns despite serious allegations about his conduct."

Sixteen Primary One pupils were gunned down along with teacher Gwen Major when Hamilton burst into the Dunblane Primary School gym shortly after morning assembly.

Speaking days before the eighth anniversary of the atrocity, Dr Mick North said: "It is clear now that at the time there was a strong desire not to undermine public confidence in the police.

"To achieve that, questions that ought to have been asked were not raised, and witnesses who should have been called were not heard.   All the senior lawyers were playing a role and I wonder now if they were looking after our interests."

In the years since the official Dunblane Inquiry chaired by Lord Cullen, Dr North, a retired university lecturer, has received vital information about key witnesses who were never called to give evidence in public.LINK

He will write to Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, drawing his attention to six key points:

  • The failure to hear evidence from Cathleen Kerr, a neighbour of Hamilton's who saw him emerge from a grey-coloured car outside his home on the morning of the shootings.   The driver has never been traced.
  • The failure to account for Hamilton's exact movements from the time he left his home to drive to Dunblane Primary School - a 15-minute journey that took him more than three-quarters of an hour.
  • Why an off-duty police officer was mysteriously at the school on the morning of the shootings was never called to give evidence.
  • The failure by police to identify Hamilton as a paedophile who was almost certainly involved in supplying photographs of virtually naked boys which he took on camps.
  • The failure by police to establish who Hamilton's friends in the police were.   A number of witnesses testified that police ars often stopped outside his home.
  • The failure to investigate links, revealed by three witnesses, between Hamilton and the Queen Victoria School, a military school at Dunblane with a small shooting range that Hamilton used and where it is claimed by a former teacher [Glenn Harrison LINK] that boys were abused.LINK

Dr North's attack came as a senior Conservative caused outrage among anti-gun campaigners by suggesting children should be taught how to handle firearms.  Shadow homeland security minister Patrick Mercer said a ban on handguns introduced after the Dunblane killings had "no effect" on spiralling gun crime.  He said children in rural communities should have lessons in using non-lethal weapons such as air rifles as a prelude to using shotguns in later life.LINK

Other campaigners have already lobbied the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Executive for a fresh Dunblane Inquiry.  Some parents believe there was a Masonic conspiracy to protect powerful friends of Hamilton, who were widely believed to be Freemasons.

Dr North has had misgivings about theinquiry, chaired by Lord Cullen, now Scotland's most senior judge since its first day of hearing evidence, but this was the first time he has spoken of his disquiet.

He said: "I lost confidence early in the hearing when I believe a senior police officer lied in evidence about the time at which parents had been told their children were dead.  He brought it forward by between an hour and 90 minutes.  The only explanation I could see was that his version made the police look better.

"Most parents had been kept in the staff room until 3.30pm, about six hours after the shots were fired, before learning their children were dead.  Some parents later came under pressure from police officers to change the time they had given in their statements.

"It seems ridiculous now that the Crown Office was running the show when we know that the Central Scotland Police and the procurator fiscal had most to hide in relation to Thomas Hamilton.

"We were dealing with a man who had been brought to their attention on a number of occasions, having displayed violence and inappropriate sexual conduct with children.LINK

"He had not been prosecuted and was allowed to hold guns legally, yet the Crown was picking the witnesses who'd be heard."

Dr North is also deeply unhappy about the 100-year closure order that was made by Lord Cullen on 106 sets of documents relevant to the killings.

He said: "Did we simply have an over-cautious judge, or is there something sinister being kept from the public in the documents I haven't seen?"

He said he had watched with interest the tragic events that unfolded at Soham and been aware of uncomfortable parallels with Dunblane.

Dr North said: "As far as I'm aware, no one at Humberside Police was a friend of Huntley's, but their chief constable has apologised for their failings.

"It's clear that Hamilton had friends within Central Scotland Police, yet William Wilson, the chief constable at the time, denied he had anything to apologise for.

"The parents would love to see Wilson give evidence but, like many other relevant witnesses, he wasn't called."

Copyright © 2016 William Burns. All rights reserved.
Dunblane cover-up
Dunblane Whitewash
Dunblane City Sign
Scotland Map


Dunblane Public Inquiry
Dunblane Massacre
Read the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue. LINK
Dunblane Angels
St Blane's Church Dunblane
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