The Scotsman

The Scotsman Letters Page
Letters to the Editor

The Scotsman, Monday, 27 April 1998

Cullen Inquiry

Sandra Uttley

Sir, - Your editorial (21 April) observed that Dr Ian Oliver, the Grampian police chief "does not seem to realise that the buck stops with him".  Perhaps he is reflecting on the fate of William Wilson, the chief of Central Scotland Police, after the Cullen inquiry into the shootings at Dunblane.

The buck did not appear to stop with him.  On the contrary, he was not even questioned at the Cullen inquiry about his leadership of that force.  He got off scot-free.  Perhaps Dr Oliver expected to follow his example.

The Cullen report details all the reasons why Thomas Hamilton should not be granted a gun licence, but not why Central Scotland Police continued to renew his firearms certificate.

Dr Oliver was head of Central Scotland Police for 11 of Hamilton's 19 years of gun ownership, yet he was not questioned at the Cullen inquiry either. LINK

Sandra Uttley

The Scotsman, Saturday, 2 May 1998
Cullen Inquiry

William Burns

Sir, - Sandra Uttley (Letters, 27 April) says "the Cullen report details all the reasons why Thomas Hamilton should not have been granted a gun licence, but not why Central Scotland Police continued to renew his firearms certificate".

Perhaps her understanding of the inquiry falls short of the view of others: that it was a show forum to cover up the involvement of Freemasons to facilitate Hamilton's repeated applications for a gun licenceLINK and disregard the concern of senior police officers that he was an unsavoury character with an unstable personality.LINK

William Burns
Shore Road
South Queensferry



See Sandra Uttley's letter to William Burns, below, responding to the above letter, and William Burns' reply thereto.

Go to the Sandra Uttley Index LINK

Sandra Uttley
2 Post Office Buildings

4 May 1998

K15 0BB

Dear Mr Burns

I hope you don't mind me writing to you, in response to your letter to The Scotsman (2 May LINK).  In your reply to my letter of 27 April, you suggest that "my understanding of the inquiry falls short of the view of others: that it was a show forum to cover up the involvement of Freemasons ..."LINK

You made this same point in a previous letter in October 1996 in which you referred to the Cullen Inquiry as the civic equivalent of a "show trial", a whitewash, set up in the hope of appeasing a devastated community".LINK  Needless to say, it failed to appease many of us and I agree with you (and Ian BellLINK) that it served to "divert a discourse".LINK  It is whether that discourse would have involved Freemasons or plain and simple police incompetence or some other reality, that concerns me.  Not knowing the truth about Thomas Hamilton's relationship with Central Scotland Police is not only an injustice to the bereaved parents, but prevents any true recognition of how a police force can indirectly implicate itself in a crime that happens in its area.  This means that the work of prevention can never be done.

I am reassured that there are still some individuals out there who care about what happened at Dunblane to keep on writing to newspapers about it. Your letters consistently show a sympathy and understanding that is sadly lacking from others.  My reason for writing to you is not only to thank you for that, but to ask that if you do have any information supporting your views, could you please contact me at the above address.  Sadly, I suspect that like myself, you are frustrated that Lord Cullen "restricted the argument" and that we are unlikely to ever know the truth.LINK  However, I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Sandra Uttley

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

William Burns
18 Shore Road
South Queensferry
EH30 9SG
6 May 1998

Sandra Uttley
2 Post Office Ramoyle
FK15 0BB

Dear Ms Uttley

Thank you for your letter of 4 May 1996 regarding my letter in The Scotsman on 2 May 1998.

I am pleased you accepted it in the manner intended.   You are perfectly correct; I am, like yourself, extremely frustrated that Lord Cullen "restricted the argument" and presided over an unmistakably comprehensive whitewash.

For what it is worth, I have enclosed copies of my correspondence with the Cullen Inquiry prior to and during its session, which, if nothing else, illustrates that I was busy at that important time presenting my very real fears to the hearing, in that it was nothing more than a cover-up; but to no avail.LINK  Despite my accusations to Cullen during the progression of the hearing, or rather retrogression, that it was simply a whitewash, and my suggestions to him that all witnesses should be asked if they were/are Freemasons, absolutely no action was taken by Cullen in that direction.

Taking into account that Hamilton's Masonic affiliation was widely publicised in the media, even before the hearing began (see the enclosed copy of the Page 2 lead of The Scotsman, Friday, 22 March 1996LINK), not only my own but the general public's anxiety must have been well known to Cullen, so he has no excuse whatsoever for presiding over what I have long referred to as the civic equivalent of a "show trial".

I have also enclosed a copy of a letter I received from Paul Todd, who wrote to me in response to a letter by me that was also published in The ScotsmanLINK.  He seems to share my fears almost entirely.

I phoned him, as requested in his letter, but he was not at home so I left my phone number with his aswering machine.  However, he did not get back to me, so I left it at that.

The Martin Short he referred to in his letter is the author of the book, "Inside the Brotherhood" (again see the enclosed copy of the Page 2 lead in The Scotsman, Friday, 22 March 1996); which was a thoroughly revealing piece on Freemasonry in Britain and was serialised on television a few years later prior to the "Dunblane massacre", as it insensitively became known.

Nevertheless, I can only express an earnest hope that some of the enclosed will be useful.  If so, you have my approval to use it whichever way or show it to whomever you choose - including Cullen himself if you so wish.

Yours sincerely

Copyright © 2020 William Burns. All rights reserved.
Opinions of Men
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