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Central Scotland Police
Central Scotland Police
Police lambasted for 'incompetence' in allowing Hamilton to keep guns

DUNBLANE: Parents of victims issue emotional pleas over firearms

By Jim Rougvie

THE failure of Central Scotland Police to investigate properly Thomas Hamilton's background and their failure to take away his guns amounted to "dereliction of duty of the highest order," counsel for the families of the dead children said yesterday.

Colin Campbell QC, suggested the massacre of 16 children and their teacher in Dunblane primary school might not have happened if the police had done their duty.

He told the Cullen Inquiry: "Good reasons for the revocation or refusal of his licence abounded.  Very sadly, it is clear they were ignored and but for the firearms department's culpable failure to remove these weapons, this terrible tragedy would not have occurred."

Mr Campbell accused the former chief constable, Douglas McMurdo, who rubber-stamped Hamilton's last licence in 1995 which armed him for the massacre LINK, of having exercised extremely poor judgement in rejecting a memo detailing concerns about Hamilton. LINK

Mr Campbell said Mr McMurdo, now assistant chief inspector of constabulary, had insisted during his evidence there were no "contra indicators" about Mr McMurdo's competence and the culture and ethos prevalent in the firearms department of Central Scotland Police."

He said both Mr McMurdo and a senior subordinate had acted "in accordance with the general custom and practice in the department - namely that in the absence of something incontrovertible such as a serious conviction or a pending case - the police would not take the responsibility, they would not even begin to exercise the discretion entrusted to them by parliament of evaluating known evidence."

This, said Mr Campbell, could only be the result of a slack and irresponsible culture built up over the years in which the firearms licensing system operated on a purely administrative basis, by administrators unwilling to take decisions on which public safety depended.

Mr Campbell said the warning signs about Hamilton were ignored.  "The overall system, such as it was, was riddled with defects and inadequacies.  Many played a contributory role.

"The system was woefully inadequate in failing to give a complete picture of Hamilton.  Worryingly, Mr McMurdo did not see why a complete picture was necessary.  What seems to have happened is that isolated incidents were considered on their own and then forgotten, or at least ignored, when further incidents occurred."

Yesterday, the families of six of the children killed or injured by Hamilton issued an impassioned plea for the gun lobby to be ignored over the introduction of a virtual ban on the private ownership of firearms.

Sometimes struggling to hold their composure, the families said their children had paid the ultimate price for people being licensed to hold guns.

Pamela Ross, the mother of Joanna, five, who was killed in the massacre, read a prepared statement which said: "Many people have said we have shown extraordinary courage and dignity and have asked how we have begun to cope.

"For us, the simple answer is that we are only beginning to learn to live with the reality of what has devastated our lives.  Each day we live with the loss we have suffered, and nothing in future will ever allow us to feel that our lives are complete."

"There will never be a point at which we can say we are coping and everything is fine again, because it never will be.  We will never get over it, and we just need the strength to live with it for the rest of our lives.

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THE SCOTSMAN - Wednesday, July 10, 1996
Good Cops Bad Cops
Dunblane Whitewash
Dunblane City Sign
Scotland Map


Dunblane Public Inquiry
Click here to view the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue.
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
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
Ed ~ Why did Lord Cullen try to bury my letters to him for 100 years?  Read the letters.
Dunblane 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!
Dunblane In Memory
Dunblane Cover-up
How many more non-Spec Law Lords are Masons nevertheless?
Acknowledgement :
Credit to Tom Minogue for unearthing the Spec roll of dishonour and also its founding members.
Law Lords who are members of the exclusive, secretive, Masonic and highly suspect Speculative Society of Edinburgh (Spec):
WWW Dunblane Whitewash
WWW Dunblane Whitewash