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The following material was excerpted from The Public Inquiry into the Shootings at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996 issued by the Honorable Lord W. Douglas Cullen and submitted 30 September, 1996 to the Secretary of State for Scotland, The Right Honorable Michael Forsyth, MP. This original report consists of twelve chapters and six appendices. Here is the link to the full report: "The Full Report of The Public Inquiry into the Shootings at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996.
What follows is my excerpt from the report. English spelling of certain words has been retained. The "voice" in the report is that of Lord Cullen. All of the material in italics or red was made that way by me. I am not sure if it helpd or made reading it more difficult. I wanted certain statements to stand out because I comment about them in discussing Hamilton's astrology.
About 8.15 am Thomas Hamilton was seen by a neighbour to be scraping ice off a white van outside his home at 7 Kent Road, Stirling. They had a normal conversation. Some time later he drove off in the van in the direction of Dunblane. At about 9.30 am he parked the van beside a telegraph pole in the lower car park of Dunblane Primary School.. He took out a pair of pliers from a toolwrap and used them to cut the telephone wires at the foot of the telegraph pole. These did not serve the school but a number of adjoining houses. He then crossed the car park, carrying the weapons, ammunition and other equipment which I will describe later, and entered the school by way of a door on its north west side which was next to the toilets beside the gym. …The school day had started at 9 am for all primary classes…The school had 640 pupils, making it one of the largest primary schools in Scotland. …On 13 March all primary 1, 2 and 3 classes had attended assembly from 9.10 am to 9.30 am. …They included Primary 1/13 which was a class of 28 pupils, along with their teacher Mrs Gwen Mayor. This class had already changed for their gym lesson before attending assembly. 25 members of the class were 5 years of age: and 3 were 6 years of age. Mrs Mayor was 47 years of age.
…[they] had made their way to the gymnasium… Mrs Harrild had been talking to Mrs Mayor for a few minutes. As she was about to attend to the waiting class she heard a noise behind her that caused her to turn round. This was probably the sound of Thomas Hamilton firing two shots into the stage of the Assembly Hall and the girls toilet outside the gym. He then entered the gym… and fired indiscriminately and in rapid succession…. From his position near the entrance doorway of the gym Hamilton fired a total of 29 shots in rapid succession. From that position he killed one child and injured others… He then advanced to the middle of the gym and walked in a semi-circle systematically firing 16 shots at a group of children who had either been disabled by the firing or who had been thrown to the floor. He stood over them and fired at point-blank range.
Meanwhile a child from Primary 7 class who had been sent on an errand by his teacher, and was walking along the west side of the gym heard loud banging and screaming. He looked in and saw Thomas Hamilton shooting. Thomas Hamilton shot at him. The child was struck by flying glass and ran off. It appears that Thomas Hamilton then advanced to the south end of the gym. From that position he fired 24 rounds in various directions. He shot through the window adjacent to the fire escape door at the south-east end of the gym. This may have been at an adult who was walking across the playground. Thomas Hamilton then opened the fire escape door and discharged a further 4 shots in the same direction from within the gym…He then went outside the doorway and fired 4 more shots …Thomas Hamilton then re-entered the gym where he shot again. He then released the pistol and drew a revolver. He placed the muzzle of the revolver in his mouth, pointing upwards and pulled the trigger. His death followed quickly.
… Mrs Mayor and 15 children lay dead in the gym and one further child was close to death. They had sustained a total of 58 gun shot wounds. 26 of these wounds were of such a nature that individually they would have proved fatal.
While it is not possible to be precise as to the times at which the shootings took place, it is likely that they occurred within a period of 3-4 minutes, starting between 9.35 am and 9.40 am.
Family, Education and Livelihood
It was clear that…The events of 13 March 1996 should be seen against the background of certain events in Thomas Hamilton's life and in particular the last 23 years. …After dealing with his family, education and livelihood I will go on to his relationship with the Scouts, his long-standing operation of boys clubs and the circumstances in which he came into contention with local authorities and the police. Finally I will examine his alleged conduct in regard to firearms.
Thomas Hamilton was born in Glasgow on 10 May 1952. He was the son of Thomas Watt and Agnes Graham Hamilton or Watt. He was named Thomas Watt. Shortly after his birth his parents separated and in 1955 they were divorced. He and his mother moved to the home of his maternal grandparents in Cranhill, Glasgow. On 26 March 1956 he was adopted by them and his name was changed to Thomas Watt Hamilton. In 1963 he accompanied his adoptive parents when they moved to 11 Upper Bridge Street, Stirling. He grew up in the belief that his natural mother was his sister.[italics mine—author] In 1985 [when Thomas was around 33 years old] she moved to live in a house of her own. In 1987 Thomas Hamilton [then around 35 years old] and his adoptive parents moved to 7 Kent Road, where he continued to live until 13 March 1996. In August 1987 his adoptive mother died; and 5 years later his adoptive father moved into sheltered housing, so leaving Thomas Hamilton in sole occupation. He remained in contact with his natural mother, visiting her about twice a week.
…After a primary education …Thomas Hamilton attended …Secondary School, … Technical College, obtaining a number of O Grades in 1968. In that year he became an apprentice draughtsman…In 1972 he opened a shop at …Stirling known as "Woodcraft", which specialised in the sale of DIY goods and supplies, ironmongery, and latterly the sale of fitted kitchens. After about 13 years he gave up the shop and registered as unemployed. He received state benefits until November 1993. However, at the same time he carried on the activity of buying and selling cameras and camera equipment and carrying out some free-lance photography.
Thomas Hamilton’s Involvement with the Scouts
In July 1973 Thomas Hamilton, who was then a Venture Scout, was appointed as Assistant Scout Leader of the 4th/6th Stirling Troop. This followed the normal checks into an appointee's suitability. He seemed very keen and willing and did not present any problems. On one occasion he volunteered to take some boys on his boat on Loch Lomond for their proficiency badge work but this was not permitted as the boat had insufficient lifejackets and no distress flares or oars, and he had inadequate knowledge of the waters. In the autumn of 1973 he was seconded to be leader of the 24th Stirlingshire troop which was to be revived at Bannockburn.
A number of complaints were made about his leadership, the most serious of which were concerned with two occasions when the boys who were in his charge were forced to sleep overnight in his company in a van during very cold weather at Aviemore. His excuse on the first occasion was that the intended accommodation had been double-booked and he was warned of the need to double-check such arrangements. On the latter occasion it was found that no booking had been made by him on either of these occasions. The County Commissioner… had a discussion with the District Commissioner…in which they agreed that Thomas Hamilton should be asked to resign. Thereafter …had a meeting with him. He did not think that Thomas Hamilton was a particularly stable person. He said in evidence "I formed the impression that he had a persecution complex, that he had delusions of grandeur and I felt his actions were almost paranoia". He was doubtful about his moral intention towards boys. Thomas Hamilton was informed that in view of his lack of qualities in leadership his warrant was being withdrawn. On 13 May 1974 Mr …wrote to him requiring that he return his warrant book. Despite repeated requests he did not do so for some months.
Mr … wrote to the Scottish Scout Headquarters in order to give them his views about Thomas Hamilton as he considered that he should not be a member of the Scout movement. In this letter dated 29 June 1974 he wrote:
"While unable to give concrete evidence against this man I feel that too many 'incidents' relate to him such that I am far from happy about his having any association with Scouts. He has displayed irresponsible acts on outdoor activities by taking young 'favourite' Scouts for weekends during the winter and sleeping in his van, the excuse for these outings being hill-walking expeditions. The lack of precautions for such outdoor activities displays either irresponsibility or an ulterior motive for sleeping with the boys...... His personality displays evidence of a persecution complex coupled with rather grandiose delusions of his own abilities. As a doctor, and with my clinical acumen only, I am suspicious of his moral intentions towards boys".
…This resulted in his [Hamilton’s] name being entered on the "blacklist" which is intended to ensure that unsuitable applicants are denied an appointment in the Scout Association. Such a record is also consulted on occasions when an outside enquiry is made as to whether a former Scout leader has provided satisfactory service.
…In February 1977 after making a number of attempts to return to Scouting Thomas Hamilton requested the Scout Association to hold a Committee of Inquiry into his complaint that he had been victimised. This request was denied. After some correspondence he stated in April 1977 that he was discontinuing the thought of holding a warrant "as I do not want my good name to be part of this so-called organisation in this district". However, his letters of complaint continued. The response of the Scout Association was that the warrant had been withdrawn on the basis of lack of preparation and planning for his adventure activities at Aviemore. In 1978 he approached …the District Commissioner for the Trossachs, offering his services as a Scout Leader. After consulting with Mr … Mr …responded that they were unable to make use of his services. Thomas Hamilton persistently maintained that the Scouts had not only ruined his reputation by terminating his appointment but that they were linked with the actions taken by other organisations, and in particular the police. In para 4.23 I narrate his later approaches to Scout officials.
Thomas Hamilton’s Boys Clubs
After the withdrawal of his warrant Thomas Hamilton became increasingly involved in the setting up and running of boys clubs. It is not clear when he began this activity but it appears that in the late 1970s he was running the "Dunblane Rovers" in the Duckburn Centre in Dunblane. …In any event it is clear that during the period from November 1981 until his death he organised and operated 15 boys clubs for various periods and that these clubs used school premises in Central, Lothian, Fife and Strathclyde Regions. The clubs, the periods within which they were active and their locations are set out in the accompanying table.
CLUBS OPERATED BY THOMAS HAMILTON BETWEEN NOVEMBER 1981 AND MARCH 1996.
[I have omitted where they were located since my purpose in including this table is simply to show the number of clubs and the dates he was involved. The Report states that the symbol * indicates clubs in respect of which there is evidence of others assisting him to some extent]:
|Dunblane Rovers Group*||November 1981- October 1983|
|Dunblane Boys Club*||October 1985-March 1996|
|Bannockburn Boys Club*||May 1983-March 1996|
|Lynburn Gymnastics||February 1985-Februrayr 1986|
|Lynburn Boys Club*||February 1985-February 1986|
|Dunfermline Boys Sports Club||May 1987-August 1992|
|Falkirk Boys Club||May 1987-March 1996 Intermittent|
|Linlithgow Boys Club||April 1988-May 1989|
|Menstrie, Alva * Tillicoultry Boys Club||March 1989-March 1995|
|Stirling Boys Club||May 1989-June 1993|
|Alloa Boys Club*||November 1992-June 1994|
|Lornshill Boys Club||October 1992-June 1994|
|Denny Boys Club||October 1992-January 1994|
|Balfron Boys Club||April 1993-June 1993|
|Callendar Boys Club||March 1995-April 1995|
|Bishopbriggs Boys Club*||September 1995-March 1996|
The typical way in which Thomas Hamilton sought to obtain support for such clubs was to send leaflets to houses and primary schools in the area…The clubs were aimed mainly at boys between the ages of 7 and 11. The club activities consisted of games, such as football, along with an element of gymnastics. Thomas Hamilton held a Grade 5 certificate from the British Amateur Gymnastics Association which qualified him to provide coaching in gymnastics, subject to being supervised by someone who held a higher qualification. He was occasionally assisted by persons with sporting qualifications who had responded to an advertisement; or by volunteer helpers, including parents, but this was not regularly the case. In general Thomas Hamilton ran each of the clubs entirely on his own…From about 1989 he used the title "Boys' Clubs Sports Group Committee", so creating the impression that others were participating in the running of the clubs. In reality this was a title for his own activities. From the running of the clubs he obtained a modest income... Most of the clubs were initially extremely popular, attracting as many as 70 boys. However, over the lifetime of a club the numbers dropped, typically to less than a dozen. In the early days Thomas Hamilton put this down to lack of patience or determination on the part of the boys. However, it is more likely that this was due to the accumulated effect of reactions to his behaviour and the rumours which it generated.
Thomas Hamilton's explanation of his objectives was that he wanted to give the boys something to do and keep them off the streets, and that the discipline was a useful preparation for life. He said that he put his boys through fitness schemes; that he hated fat children and blamed parents for allowing them to eat junk food. However, his style of running the clubs attracted the comment from parents and helpers that it was over-regimented and even militaristic. Witnesses described him as tending to be domineering. There was too much use of shouting. It suggested to some that he was getting something out of dominating the boys. His approach was in any event not in line with modern methods. The evidence also indicated that the exercises which the boys were asked to perform were over-strenuous for their age. Parents were also concerned that he was running the clubs without any apparent adult help. He said that he was authorised to be in sole charge of up to 30 boys but this was known to be untrue.
At the same time Thomas Hamilton appeared to show an unusual interest in individual boys after only one appearance at the club and to put pressure on them to obtain parental permission to attend one of his summer camps. He appeared to helpers to have favourites. He was also very eager to collect boys from their homes and was keen to find out more about their family background than was acceptable to their parents after a short acquaintance. Parents were particularly concerned about Thomas Hamilton's insistence that for gymnastics the boys wore black (and ill fitting) swimming trunks which he provided and that they changed into them in the gym rather than in the changing rooms.
…Another matter which was of concern to parents was his practice of taking photographs of the boys posing in their black trunks while taking deep breaths, without the knowledge or permission of their parents … He argued that it was quite normal for photographs to be taken for training and advertising purposes and said that parents could obtain copies from him. On a number of occasions he offered parents a videotape so that they could see what kind of activities he ran. These only served to increase their concern. Their overriding impression was that there was something unnatural. The boys did not seem to be enjoying themselves but appeared silent and even frightened. There was also an over-concentration on parts of the boys' bodies, especially the naked upper parts along with long lingering shots of the area between the waist and the knees. When confronted with complaints about this Thomas Hamilton argued that it was necessary to identify what muscles were being used …Individual parents through contact with each other discovered that their anxieties were shared. At home Thomas Hamilton kept a large collection of photographs of boys, many of them wearing black swimming trunks. These were in albums or attached to the walls of his rooms. On one occasion he attempted without success to interest a neighbour in a videotape showing "his boys" performing gymnastics in small black bathing trunks. In the same way as with the parents it made her feel uneasy. Evidence was also given that he attempted without success to take photographs of a neighbour's children, including his 5 year old son. The neighbour explained in evidence: "I just didn't like the look of the guy".
Some parents, rather than having specific complaints, simply felt that they did not like the way in which he ran the club. Some boys complained of feeling uncomfortable in his presence and said that he was "weird". When he was asked about the way in which he ran his clubs Thomas Hamilton would often speak with pride of what he was doing for the benefit of the boys. On closer questioning he would quickly become defensive and even aggressive and angry, leaving parents with the impression that he was hiding something. When a child was withdrawn from one of his clubs he would tend to react by writing to the parents long and repeated letters in which he stated that rumour and innuendoes were rife about him and it was up to them to stamp out this type of falsity. Some of the letters were hand-delivered at night and were seen by parents as intimidating…
The only evidence which the Inquiry heard as to any act of indecency on the part of Thomas Hamilton comprised two incidents. Firstly, one witness gave evidence at the Inquiry that about 1979-80 when he was 12 years of age he attended the Dunblane Rovers at the Duckburn Centre on one occasion. At one point Thomas Hamilton sat down close beside him and rubbed him on the inside of his leg, asking him why he wanted to be one of his boys and join the club. The boy pulled away from him and said that he was just interested in firing weapons, which they had done earlier. The boy told his father that he did not like the way Thomas Hamilton had touched and spoken to him but he went back to the club the next week. However, Thomas Hamilton said that he was not mature enough and would not let him in. Secondly, another person, whose statement was read to the Inquiry, stated that when he was about 12 years of age (in 1985) he attended Thomas Hamilton's club at Bannockburn. In the summer he was one of a party of eight boys who went to Loch Lomond with him and stayed in his cabin cruiser. He described an occasion when Thomas Hamilton in his cabin touched him between his legs and on his private parts; told him to lie face down on a bed where he started to push his fingers into his rectum and stroked his back. Thomas Hamilton's shorts were off and his penis was erect. He then told him to face the side of the cabin and ran his hand up and down his back while breathing heavily. Up to that point Thomas Hamilton was striking him from time to time with a telescopic pointer. He then told him that he could go. The witness did not report this incident to anyone else. I do not have difficulty in accepting the evidence in regard to the first of these incidents. The second is in a rather different position. The witness was unwilling to be identified and accordingly his evidence was available only in written form. Thus he could not be cross-examined and I had no opportunity of observing his demeanour for myself. Further Mr …advised me that there were certain further matters in the statement of the witness which, if they were true, would be expected to be corroborated by independent evidence. However, efforts to obtain such corroboration had met with no success. In addition the witness had in the past been convicted of a serious crime of dishonesty. I also noted that the witness stated that the boat blew up about a week after the trip. However, other evidence showed that Thomas Hamilton received his insurance payment for his loss of the boat in December 1983 While there may well be an element of truth in this account I do not consider that it would be wise for me to treat it as entirely reliable. Accordingly I do not find this allegation to have been proved. I would also mention that in the BBC Panorama programme broadcast on 16 September a young man alleged that at a summer camp at Loch Lomond in the early 1980s he had been touched indecently by Thomas Hamilton. I understand that a subsequent investigation which was carried out by the Crown showed that the police had been unable to trace him in connection with the Inquiry: that his allegation was not supported by other evidence and was not consistent with a newspaper article dated 17 March which was based on information supplied by him: that he had received payment for both the article and the broadcast: and that he had a considerable list of convictions for crimes of dishonesty, the latest of which had led to his imprisonment on 20 August 1996. I consider that evidence of his allegation would not have assisted the Inquiry.
Clubs in Central Regional Council premises in the 1980s
It appears that Thomas Hamilton first obtained a let of Central Regional Council premises in or about 1980… at Borestone Primary School. In October 1981, describing himself as principal leader of the Dunblane Rovers Troop, he applied for a let of the gymnasium at Dunblane High School. Such lets were dealt with by the clerk to the School Council. The Region's policy was designed to encourage the use of council premises by the community. No checks were carried out on the applicants. The application was granted. In the same month Mr …, Director of Education, received a memorandum in regard to an enquiry about Thomas Hamilton's activities at Dunblane High School in which it was stated that Thomas Hamilton was not affiliated in any way to the Scout movement. It continued: "Mr Hamilton appears to be the subject of a confidential report at national level which shows him to be totally undesirable in relation to working for the Scout movement. The report is based on his homosexual tendencies, and he was for obvious reasons discreetly removed from the Scout movement". This information was said to have been provided by Mr …who was then a District Commissioner. However, in evidence Mr …denied being the source of this information. He was aware that it had been rumoured that Thomas Hamilton was taking young people on camping expeditions which were not properly supervised, but he was not aware that he was suspected of any sexual impropriety. After making certain enquiries of Thomas Hamilton Mr … took the view that there was nothing which could be queried by the education authority. It may be noted that the name "Rovers" created the impression that there was some connection between the club and the Scout movement; and the fact that the club was being operated on school premises gave the impression that it was respectable and approved by the local authority.
In the summer of 1983 complaints from parents and head teachers led to the club's activities being considered at a meeting of the Further Education and General Purposes Sub-Committee on 15 August. At that meeting the junior deputy Director of Education referred to complaints about confusion with the Scout movement and lack of supervision. He also stated that he had learned that Thomas Hamilton had been removed from the Scouts for homosexual tendencies although they were not prepared to say so formally. The Committee decided that the lets in favour of Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane and Bannockburn High Schools should be cancelled. Thomas Hamilton was informed of this decision but not of the reasons for it.
…Thomas Hamilton reacted by lodging a complaint on 10 October 1983 with the Commissioner for … to whom I will refer as the "Ombudsman", on the ground that the Council had acted on "malicious gossip and unfounded allegations without investigation". His councillor Mr …was concerned that the decision was a breach of natural justice in that no formal complaints had been made against him. Thomas Hamilton also appealed against the decision to terminate the let of Dunblane High School and obtained the support of 30 letters from parents together with a petition dated 2 November 1983 bearing 70 signatures in his favour. The latter ended with the words: "We are all proud to have Mr Hamilton in charge of our boys; he has a most activated, excellent quality of leadership and integrity and absolutely devoted to his lads; above all he cares". These were considered by the sub-committee on 7 November 1983 when by a majority it was decided that the status quo should be maintained.
Local opinion was divided over Thomas Hamilton. Some parents had a "gut feeling" that something was amiss about his activities. They included Mr … who took up the matter informally with Mr …MP... Earlier in that year Thomas Hamilton had demanded an explanation from Mr …'s son why he was absent from the club and sought an interview with the boy. This aroused Mr Robertson's suspicions. As a result he and another parent had visited the club and had been dismayed to see "a large number of small boys in shorts stripped to the waist being bossed around by two or three middle-aged men, swaggering around in a very military-type way". Mr Robertson also described it as "looking like the Hitler youth". They had decided on the spot that their sons were not going to return to the club. Their unease had been shared by other parents, although it was difficult to identify exactly what was wrong. Mr …, who had already been approached by Thomas Hamilton for his support, was aware that rumours were circulating in Dunblane about him but was also aware that he was supported by a number of parents and that there was no hard evidence of wrongdoing on his part….
On 15 November 1984 the Ombudsman found that there had been maladministration on the part of the Regional Council and that injustice had been caused as a result. The grounds for this decision appear to have been that there was not adequate evidence to substantiate the complaints against Thomas Hamilton; and that he had not been given an opportunity to put his side of the case before the decision was taken. The reasoning which the Ombudsman provided for his decision is not wholly satisfactory. ..Secondly it is not clear why the Ombudsman adopted the view of the complaints which he did, and in particular why they should have been, in his words, "heavily discounted". If he was well-founded in becoming involved in the merits of the decision it is difficult to understand why no consideration was given to the potential risk to the children whose parents had complained. It was open to him to take into account questions of child protection and parental complaints. In the result he stated that on the evidence available he saw no reason why the Council should not now grant a let and that in any case he would be unable to record that their future action was a satisfactory response until he was convinced that they had made a decision "on the basis of a proper examination of the relevant factors and only those". …
The Regional Council were dismayed at the outcome but took the view that if they were obliged to grant a let to Thomas Hamilton they should insist upon the safeguard of a constitution for what was now to be named as the Dunblane Boys Club…
…A meeting between the committee of the Dunblane Boys Club and the Sub-Committee of the Education Committee did not take place until 23 September 1985, …The sub-committee agreed that there was no reason for refusing the let of Dunblane High School and it was reinstated as from 24 October 1985.
It should be added that after the publication of the Ombudsman's report Thomas Hamilton visited Mr …once more. In the course of a conversation between them which was quite vigorous Thomas Hamilton gave him the impression that he believed that the Ombudsman had condemned Mr …, and the latter became aware that Thomas Hamilton was recording their conversation on a portable machine. In August 1986 Thomas Hamilton sought a meeting with Mr …at which he maintained that his life had been ruined by malicious rumours about his behaviour and his views which had been spread by the Scout Commissioner in the area of Dunblane. He refused to substantiate his complaint, claiming that the matter was in the hands of his solicitor. Mr …formed the view that he was even more obsessional and even had the appearance of being on psychiatric drugs. This was followed by various telephone calls in which he sought without success to rejoin the Scout movement and to see the confidential report which related to him. He also contacted various senior officials in the Scout movement with complaints about what he referred to as a grapevine of innuendo and unattributable comments about him.
Summer camp on Inchmoan Island, Loch Lomond in July 1988
On a number of occasions Thomas Hamilton organised summer camps which were aimed at catering for boys. Some of them took place on Loch Lomond where he had a small speedboat and later, as I mentioned before, a cabin cruiser, until it caught fire and sank in the early 1980s. He organised a camp on Inchmoan Island for several weeks as from 3 July 1988. He claimed later that this was his 55th summer camp for boys but there is no way in which this can be confirmed. Depending on the arrangements made with the individual parents, boys of about 9 years of age came for one or two weeks at a time. It appears that for much of the time Thomas Hamilton was running the camp with no additional adult help. After one boy arrived home unhappy about the camp the complaints of several families came to the attention of Strathclyde Police, in whose area the island was situated. At the request of Chief Inspector …of Dumbarton CID, PC …and PC … visited the Island on 20 July.
They found the site was generally messy, the tables strewn with dirty dishes. The sleeping bags in the tents were damp to the touch. The food was not very wholesome. There was no sign of fresh food and the only source of nutrition was tinned and powdered food. The boys were 13 in number and appeared to be cold and inadequately dressed for the weather conditions. Some were playing unsupervised in and around the water about 30 yards from the camp dressed in swimming trunks, some with tee-shirts. They had scratches on their legs. These were explained as being due to their going through bracken on the island. Thomas Hamilton would not allow them to wear trousers, saying that legs dried more easily than trousers. When questioned, 3 boys said unreservedly that they were enjoying themselves; the others were generally somewhat homesick, complaining of the food and the fact that they were not allowed to send postcards home or to contact their parents by telephone when they made a trip to Luss on the shore of the loch. The means of reaching the shore was a rowing boat with an inadequate number of lifejackets. However, none of the boys was sufficiently upset to accept PC …s offer to take them home. Thomas Hamilton was pleasant in his manner but PC …was uneasy about him in a vague and indefinable way. He did not consider that the children were in any particular danger but regarded the camp as very basic and badly run. Thomas Hamilton was alleged to have slapped one or two boys. He did not deny doing so but maintained that they had been disruptive, bullying and cheeky.
Thomas Hamilton was not charged with any offence. The parents were contacted by the police. In due course six of them came to Dumbarton Police Office where the boys and Thomas Hamilton had been taken after they had been found on a trip to Alexandria. Some of the boys felt homesick and were taken home, but none of the boys or the parents on that occasion made any complaint against Thomas Hamilton. Some indeed praised him.
Mr James … decided that some of the witnesses from whom statements had been obtained should be precognosced before he reached a decision…Virtually all the boys spoke to being struck by Thomas Hamilton and/or seeing other boys being struck. In a number of statements some of the boys were unable to name the boys they had seen being struck.
After precognition Mr …, according to his recollection, found that the discrepancies between some of the boys' accounts were even greater than they had been. Assaults were either not corroborated or there were discrepancies between accounts. Thus boy A would speak to boy B being slapped in his presence but boy B would not recall this - and vice versa. Not all the boys spoke up to the police statements and some of the accounts at precognition were vague. He also recollected that while after precognition there may have been one or two incidents for which there was corroborated evidence there were many others where accounts were vague or inconsistent. He did not consider it appropriate to select from the whole picture one or two incidents where there was on paper an apparent sufficiency of evidence. In any event his recollection was that the one or two incidents for which there was corroborative and consistent evidence were very minor indeed and did not merit criminal prosecution…
Miss …submitted at the close of the Inquiry that the Procurator Fiscal could have taken steps to prosecute Thomas Hamilton in regard to assaulting two of the boys….[but] there was no evidence that the children had sustained any injury. Any striking of them was exclusively in connection with Thomas Hamilton's attempts to maintain discipline. There was no question of the children being in physical or moral danger…
Meanwhile Thomas Hamilton made an informal complaint against PC , claiming that he was incompetent and untruthful in making his report. He sent a series of letters to his superior officer…… rejected in a letter written on behalf of the Chief Constable dated 19 October 1988. Initially Thomas Hamilton appeared to accept what had been said. However, almost immediately he changed his mind and wrote to the Chief Constable objecting to the fact that PC …had been appointed to investigate his camp "in view of a long resentment shown to our group by many adult members of the Dunblane Scouts". He claimed, incorrectly, that PC …was a Scout leader. This was a demonstration of a fixation on the part of Thomas Hamilton that there was a "brotherhood" conspiracy between the police and the Scouts in Dunblane. This fixation was pursued in a stream of letters to the police, his MP, The Scottish Office, his local newspaper and circulars to parents of boys and to the public.
On 30 November 1988 Thomas Hamilton made his complaint official…. The charges made by Thomas Hamilton were that PC …had made a false and misleading statement to Strathclyde Police, and… A barrage of letters…continued, becoming personalised and critical of the competence and professionalism of the police officers. Inspector Keenan carried out a thorough investigation of Thomas Hamilton's complaint… Hamilton took some 3 hours to deliver it. He also interviewed a number of persons who had camped in the same area as Thomas Hamilton and spoke highly of his organisation and capabilities as a leader, and the food and equipment provided by him. On 22 May 1989 Inspector …submitted his report in which he exonerated PC … and PC …. Thomas Hamilton subsequently complained that this investigation was a whitewash….
Linlithgow Boys' Club
In April 1988 Thomas Hamilton registered the Linlithgow Boys Club …An application was normally investigated. However, due to an oversight no check was made in this case. Accordingly a follow-up check was made by Mr …, a senior youth educational worker, who had responsibility for youth and children's work development. On his visit to the club…he saw nothing to give him cause for concern. He found about 30 boys aged between 8 and 11 in PE kit in the school gym doing football training. He was also concerned with a complaint from a parent who had withdrawn her son from the summer camp and had complained of being intimidated by Thomas Hamilton who was seeking payment of money due for the booking. The Inquiry also heard evidence that a parent had been against her son going to his camp as she had heard that Thomas Hamilton stood at the entrance to the showers at Linlithgow Academy on the pretext that this was to stop any trouble there.
Mr … took the opportunity to discuss the summer camps, the programme and nature of the activities and contact points with parents. The information which Thomas Hamilton gave him caused him some concern. He felt uneasy about such young boys being on an island in Loch Lomond …He was concerned as to why Thomas Hamilton refused to have his clubs affiliated to a larger organisation such as the Scottish Association of Boys Clubs. There was no tangible evidence that something was amiss…
…Thereafter 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…The complaint was that there had been inappropriate activities at the camp on Inchmoan Island to which I have already referred. Mrs …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 …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 …, along with Mrs … 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 … 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.
…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 …, said in evidence that they had a feeling that his organisation was not suitable but they could not prove it.
Summer camp at Mullarochy Bay, Loch Lomond in July 1991
…During his visit DS … became concerned about the lack of supervision at the camp. Half a dozen boys were running around the camp area but the others were out of sight. They were about 400-500 yards away at a jetty and out of clear view of the camp. It took DS … some 3 or 4 minutes to walk down to the jetty where he found the boys, the youngest being only 6 years old, jumping from the jetty into a boat and back out again. The water there was deep and not one of the boys was wearing a life jacket. Thomas Hamilton did not know the boys were there. When he was questioned about the potential for accidents he said that they were capable of looking after themselves and that he could provide any assistance in the event of an accident. Some of the parents had removed their children after DC …'s first visit to the camp.
One of the boys who was interviewed later said that he had been singled out by Thomas Hamilton, taken alone to an individual tent and photographed in red-coloured swimming trunks……It is impossible to know whether the boxes which were not recovered by the police contained photographs which would have given rise to even greater concern. As regards the photographs which were recovered by the police, although there were various different poses by boys wearing black swimming trunks there was no explicit indecency. DS … considered that Thomas Hamilton had been untruthful about the photographs. The nature of them made him concerned about the "stability" of his personality and his unhealthy interest in children.
At this stage DS … himself became the target of complaints by Thomas Hamilton who wrote to the Chief Constable, the Deputy Chief Constable, his MP and other persons about him. DS … continued his investigations and when he had gathered all the information which he considered relevant he decided to try to interview Thomas Hamilton under caution and give him an opportunity to respond to the allegations. As he himself was the subject of a complaint he sought advice from colleagues and the Procurator Fiscal at Stirling as to how he should proceed. The Procurator Fiscal, Mr …, advised him to invite Thomas Hamilton to the police office on a voluntary basis for an interview under caution. Thomas Hamilton refused to be interviewed. DS …then delivered his very substantial report to the Procurator Fiscal on 6 September 1991. This report included 10 charges drafted against Thomas Hamilton. They had a brief discussion. Mr … doubted whether the report revealed sufficient evidence of criminality to merit court proceedings. …Both took the view that while the contents of the report had troubled them they were of the view that the conduct had approached but not crossed the border of criminality.
…Mr …pointed out that the evidence plainly indicated that the child who had been struck by Thomas Hamilton had obviously been behaving in a violent and bullying manner. Once again the question of whether proceedings could have been taken against Thomas Hamilton does not turn on any matter which is properly within my province to review. There is no question of the decision not to prosecute turning on any view of the law which can be seen to be mistaken. Thus there is no basis for my entertaining criticism of the decision taken by the Procurator Fiscal.
Thomas Hamilton made a formal complaint about DS … which was investigated by Chief Inspector …. His report completely exonerated DS …. In his report Chief Inspector … stated: "I have completed 30 years police service, a long number of these as a CID Officer. Throughout these years I interviewed many hard criminals, many aggressive people, many reluctant witnesses, many complainers against the police but I can honestly say the interviews with Mr Hamilton were the most exasperating of my career"…
…Thomas Hamilton also complained to the Ombudsman about the conduct of Central Scotland Police and to the Social Work Department claiming that his activities had been harassed and disrupted and his character had been defamed. The Ombudsman dealt with this complaint by pointing out that the police lay outside his jurisdiction, and that defamation was a matter for a court of law.
Following the problems which Thomas Hamilton had experienced with his summer camps he ran the series of what came to be known as residential sports training courses during the summer holidays at Dunblane High School. Central Regional Council considered that these courses represented an improvement as compared with his summer camps as they had better facilities and could be supervised. On the evening of 29 June P C … came across three young boys walking down Old Doune Road, Dunblane dressed in their pyjamas. They told him that they had been at a boys' camp at Dunblane High School and that they were wanting to go home. They were home-sick and did not like the discipline which Thomas Hamilton was imposing on them. They did not complain of any violence or criminal behaviour…
On 2 July the police received a complaint…A copy of the police report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal at Stirling, Mr …, for information only. He was satisfied that it required no action to be taken and marked the copy "no pro: not a crime". There plainly was no evidence of any criminal act.
…A number of complaints came to the attention of Mr… In each instance the Regional Council considered withdrawing the lets, but took the view that they could not do so as nothing untoward was occurring in the Centre.
As regards the club there was a complaint in 1990… that a boy was excluded from the Club for being too big. Following correspondence Thomas Hamilton agreed not to prevent boys from joining on the basis of their build..
…His report incorporated the findings of Mr …who had viewed a videotape of the gymnastics …'s view was that the activities were inappropriate and in some cases dangerous. ..The concern was that children might suffer harm through carelessness on his part. The Council were not aware of any rumours regarding possible abuse of boys. The lets were terminated as from 28 August 1992.
Further complaints about Thomas Hamilton during 1993 – 1995
In January 1993 a complaint was made…… The police were concerned about Thomas Hamilton's access to boys, especially those who were vulnerable. They thought that photographs of them performing certain exercises were open to being interpreted as lewd. While Thomas Hamilton provided parents with photographs of their children fully clothed, he did not include photographs of them wearing only swimming trunks…..So far as he was concerned he was concentrating on whether some form of indecency was going on. None of the photographs appeared to be indecent. He advised the police that they need not report further instances of the same conduct unless there was a change in the character of the circumstances indicating criminality…
…Arising from the summer camp organised by Thomas Hamilton in 1993 at Dunblane High School, a further complaint was received by the police. It was similar in nature to previous complaints: children who were scantily clad in black swimming trunks were the subject of photographs which the parents considered to be inappropriate. …During the interview, which lasted two hours or more, DS … gained the impression that the clubs filled most of Thomas Hamilton's life. He was quite obsessive about his methods and manner of organising the exercises. He would tolerate no criticism of his conduct of the clubs or of the boys' dress. A short question on the methods of training he used would elicit a lengthy reply and a very persuasive argument in favour of his methods. He gave the impression that he had rehearsed these arguments many times. He was quite calm and articulate, very polite but extremely evasive on the subject of the members of the club committee. DS … considered that he was lying on that point.
…It may be noted that throughout the years Thomas Hamilton's stream of letters of complaint and self-justification continued unabated. He expressed a complete lack of faith in any of the complaints procedures and tried on various occasions to enlist the help of his MP. He frequently wrote to parents defending himself and attacking the police.
…The Regional Council wrote to Thomas Hamilton asking why swimming trunks were essential and whether he had made it clear to parents that photographs would be taken. His reply contained a lengthy justification of his methods but did not provide straight answers to the questions.
The last six months
In this chapter I will endeavour to put together the picture of Thomas Hamilton's character and attitudes which emerged from the evidence, before turning to an account of events during the last six months of his life. While this cannot provide a full explanation as to what led him to perpetrate the outrage on 13 March 1996, it may provide some pointers as to the factors which were at work in his mind. The chapter concludes with an assessment of Thomas Hamilton which has been derived from expert evidence given by a psychologist and a psychiatrist .
Thomas Hamilton's character and attitudes
Thomas Hamilton …… "was interested in running camps during the summer months, but in order to ...get recruits, you might say, along to the camps he felt it necessary that he would have to run clubs during the winter".
…The evidence showed that Thomas Hamilton was constantly engaged in recruiting boys and that he could be abusive to parents who withdrew their sons.
…He was not averse to using deceitful or at any rate questionable methods of attracting support. His description as to the intended activities, his own qualifications, the number of helpers and the charges which would be made for membership not infrequently bore little relation to what happened. In order to gain an appearance of respectability he represented that a committee was responsible for the running of clubs and he made use of the names of officials as "contacts". He took photographs of boys without their parents' knowledge or consent. He issued misleading information as to the circumstances in which he had left the Scouts.
At the same time he was extremely intolerant of those who questioned the way in which he ran the clubs and camps. It is also clear that he had an inflated view of his own importance and that of his activities….”For Mr Hamilton to see his tiny local organisation as a serious rival to the Scouting movement indicates a certain lack of perspective".
…Thomas Hamilton harboured a long-standing grievance against the Scouts and the police. In the large volume of correspondence which he generated a recurring theme is his assertion that the police were biased in favour of the "brotherhood of masons" and that there was a "brotherhood" link between the Scouts and the police. In passing it may be noted that this together with evidence given by Mr … indicated that Thomas Hamilton had never been a freemason…….Mr … met him from time to time during the last 7 or 8 years of his life he found that Thomas Hamilton's conversation was "all one way..... he was anti-police, he was anti-establishment, he was anti- the education authority, he seemed to be anti-anybody who opposed his views on how the clubs should be run or whether they should be run". Thomas Hamilton knew that he was being referred to as a pervert and thought that teachers and parents had been discouraging boys from attending his clubs. He told an acquaintance that, if he stopped running the clubs, people would have considered that rumours about him were true.
I will refer later to expert evidence which was given as to the nature of Thomas Hamilton's sexuality, but for the present it may be of some significance to note some of the observations as to the way in which he treated the boys. There are a number of indications that he sought to domineer and that he was insensitive to their comfort and safety.
…Thomas Hamilton did not form any close relationship with an adult of either sex. His natural mother, Mrs , stated that he had had a girlfriend a long time ago. However, after she got too serious "he didn't want to know". Mr …, who assisted him in his shop, said that he was nervous among adults and very uncomfortable amongst females in particular. The events on 13 March 1996 may have made some people reluctant to admit that they were friends of Thomas Hamilton, but I am satisfied that he had few friends but more than a few acquaintances. The impression which he made on people varied. He was "a generous man to work with and a kind man", according to Mr …. Mr …, who was associated with him in the running of the Dunblane Rovers Group and the Dunblane Boys' Club, referred to him as "a very shy, lonely person.... a very quiet, kind individual"; and Mr … who had been a member of one of his clubs and who was regularly in touch with him said that he was "quite an intelligent man .... interesting enough to talk to". On the other hand some found that he made them feel uncomfortable and did not like talking to him. They were uneasy about the way in which he walked and spoke. A neighbour described him as follows: "He sort of crept. He was very head-down". He spoke slowly, softly and precisely but without expression in his voice. Mr …Secretary of the Stirling Rifle and Pistol Club said: "Hamilton was a loner, he wouldn't engage in social conversation with anybody; it is known also that women members didn't particularly like being around him. He was a bit of a creep in their eyes". Mr …said: "He was unusual....effeminate. He had a tendency to sort of wring his hands. There was a bit of a feeling of discomfort". Mr …, Head of the Woodmill Centre, Dunfermline, found that Thomas Hamilton was unusual in that "he didn't laugh at anything. He didn't joke at anything. He was far too polite". Some neighbours referred to him as sly and devious. A number of witnesses remarked that the only thing that he was interested in was boys clubs, so that it was difficult to carry on a conversation with him. A number of witnesses described him as being peculiarly calm in the face of adversity. Thus Mr … MP so described him in the face of hostile questioning from parents. His reaction to the incident on 16 May 1989 when he was assaulted by Mrs … and Mrs … is particularly striking. Finally while there were some boys who regarded him as a nice man, others found him "weird".
Events during the last 6 months of Thomas Hamilton's life
Thomas Hamilton's Boys' Clubs
By September 1995 there had been a substantial decline in his clubs. …
Thomas Hamilton applied for the use of Dunblane High School for a summer training course in 1996…. 7 March. Little turns on this but it indicates that to outward appearances Thomas Hamilton was still actively planning for his club activities.
Thomas Hamilton's finances
…It is clear that during the last 6 months of his life Thomas Hamilton was in serious financial difficulties…
Thomas Hamilton's mood
To a number of those who gave evidence he appeared to be his normal self. His natural mother met him on 11 March; and on 12 March he came round for four hours in the afternoon, had a bath and something to eat and "blethered" with her. However, other witnesses were aware of a change in his mood. Mr…, a photographer, who only knew Thomas Hamilton from telephone conversations with him, described him as being very subdued and depressed at the end of February. Thomas Hamilton told him that he was shooting more and more as this took his mind off his problems. On 6 March he hardly spoke. The last thing he said was "I am going back to my guns", and then he rang off. Mr … spoke to him on the evening of 12 March. He said that he was lonely and it was not good to be alone. Mr … said that the telephone conversation "went flat". Over the past 6 months Thomas Hamilton had been less enthusiastic about his camera business. Mr … said that on 11 March Thomas Hamilton sounded very unhappy and subdued. He said that the numbers at his clubs were down. Mr … said that Thomas Hamilton did not answer at his door when he called on 10 March but he knew that he definitely was in. Some 5 or 6 weeks earlier Thomas Hamilton had telephoned him and seemed "awful down". He said that he had hassle in Dunblane and the club there was not doing very well. When he ran him home on 6 March he had a lot of letters with him. He had a "slight grudge" against the people who were slandering him.
On 26 January 1996 Thomas Hamilton wrote a letter to Councillor ….. He complained in the letter that teachers at Bannockburn Primary School were informing pupils and parents that he was a pervert. As a result all of the 26 pupils who were members of his Bannockburn Boys Club had left immediately and local gossip followed. He complained that the Education Department had done nothing to correct the situation which was widespread. He added: "At Dunblane Primary School where teachers have contaminated all of the older boys with this poison even former cleaners and dinner ladies have been told by the teachers at school that I am a pervert… …He said that this had been extremely damaging not only to his clubs but to his own public standing and had resulted in a complete loss of his ability to earn a living. He said: "I have no criminal record nor have I ever been accused of sexual child abuse by any child and I am not a pervert".
…In evidence Councillor … commented that Thomas Hamilton never seemed to be able to put the past behind him. [!!! – author]
On 11 February 1996 Thomas Hamilton wrote to Mr … MP complaining of many serious problems which he had experienced over the years of which the root cause was "malicious gossip" circulated by certain Scout officials. …Although he understood that senior officers of Central Scotland Police were satisfied that everything was all right, he had been unable to recover from the very serious damage caused by the police which had compounded the very difficult situation which already existed. The long term effect "has been a death blow to my already difficult work in providing sports and leisure activities to local children as well as my public standing in the community."
On 6 March Thomas Hamilton made a telephone call to the headquarters of the Scout Association in Scotland and asked who was its patron. ..It was being put about that he was a pervert. …As a result of the rumours he could no longer walk down the street, his reputation had been ruined and he was close to bankruptcy. This telephone conversation was followed by a letter from Thomas Hamilton to the Queen dated 7 March in which he rehearsed the complaints which he had repeatedly made in correspondence. His letter closed with the words: "I turn to you as a last resort and am appealing for some kind of intervention in the hope that I may be able to regain my self-esteem in society"…
Psychological and psychiatric evidence
The Inquiry was provided with a report on Thomas Hamilton by Professor DJC, Head of Forensic Clinical Psychology for the Greater Glasgow Health Board, Community and Mental Health Trust and Professor of Forensic Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University; along with a further report by him on the subject of prediction of violent behaviour from the psychological perspective. In addition the Inquiry had the benefit of three reports prepared by Dr JAB, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and former Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Physician Superintendent at the State Hospital, Carstairs containing a psychiatric assessment of Thomas Hamilton. These witnesses were given sight of various productions and were supplied with other information which provided an insight into the life of Thomas Hamilton. They also had the opportunity to read transcripts of evidence given at the Inquiry.
Before coming to their views as to Thomas Hamilton's state of mind it is convenient for me to set out what they inferred as to his intentions. Professor DJC said that there were major difficulties in Thomas Hamilton's life which threatened his self-esteem. He was in debt. He was refused a loan. He was being refused access to premises to hold his boys clubs and fewer boys were attending the clubs. It may have been the case that, like many mass killers, he obtained feelings of power and mastery by fantasising his revenge on those whom he perceived as persecuting him. It is likely that his fantasies became more complex and compelling after "behavioural tryouts" when firing at his gun club. He believed that school staff were telling families not to send children to his clubs and that parents were spreading rumours that he was a pervert. Professor DJC commented on Thomas Hamilton's actions: "Perhaps the most powerful way of getting back at people like that is to kill their children. That is a very traumatic thing to happen. Perhaps he thought he would make maximum impact by doing that. Again, that is speculation". There had been meticulous planning and preparation, so he did not think that Thomas Hamilton had "flipped". Dr JAB accepted that after the event it was possible to formulate explanations for the commission of the murders but he was still at a loss to express any reason which would satisfy himself as to why they were committed. In his first report he observed that a number of pieces of evidence showed that Thomas Hamilton had planned the events very carefully in order that nothing would go wrong. He appeared to have taken pride and almost to have enjoyed the preparation for his crimes. His single specific intention was to kill himself but once he embarked on his murderous spree his victims appeared to have been entirely random. It was possible that he had selected a school because of his association with schools or because, unlike with adults, he would have been much less likely to experience opposition and his victims were the most vulnerable and the most defenceless he could have selected. He went on to state: "It was not my impression that he particularly relished in the killing spree or wanted to prolong it as there was no reason for him to have killed himself at the moment when he did other than to avoid running the risk that emergency services might arrive on the scene and prevent him from killing himself".
Both Professor DJC and Dr JAB ruled out any form of mental illness. In particular Dr JAB said that there was no evidence of changes which would have been expected with the onset of mental illness. Furthermore, mental conditions could be quite disabling. It is clear from the evidence that Thomas Hamilton had no history of mental illness or anything suggestive of such an illness. In passing I note that he did not attend a doctor between January 1974 and the date of his death, apart from attendance at hospital for a sprained ankle in March 1993. He did not smoke or drink. A post mortem examination disclosed no form of physical abnormality which could account for his behaviour. Tests on samples from his body showed no evidence of intoxication with alcohol or of drugs abuse; and no evidence of chronic lead poisoning or chronic misuse of androgenic steroids.
Each of these experts detected what they regarded as signs or traits of abnormal personality in Thomas Hamilton, although they did not fully agree as to how that personality disorder should be categorised. Dr JAB pointed out every adult displayed features of personality which were particular to himself or herself. They tended to be enduring features and often, although not always, appeared to have originated from upbringing and early formative experiences. When undesirable features were prominent this could cause problems and it was in this context that the concept of personality disorder had arisen.
Professor DJC pointed out at the outset that in drawing any conclusion about Thomas Hamilton it was necessary to adopt a cautious approach. Unlike the ordinary case it was impossible for him to have access to the person concerned with the result that he could not check hypotheses or obtain information about fantasies and unusual thoughts and ideas. After such a heinous crime the recall of informants and witnesses might not be totally reliable. There was a natural human tendency to explain events - "effort after meaning" - which might result in significant distortion of the recall of events. Further it was difficult to assess the relative credibility of evidence given by witnesses. It was not possible for him to provide a full explanation of the factors which had influenced Thomas Hamilton's behaviour.
While it was not possible for him to make an absolute diagnosis his conclusion was primarily that Thomas Hamilton was suffering from some form of personality disorder characterised by lack of empathy, and perhaps by a sadistic personality disorder in which he had a desire to have control over others. It was possible that he dealt with distress by fantasising about control over others. As other pressures in his life built up his fantasies about control and revenge over society grew, fostered by planning and practice shots at his gun club. In his report Professor DJC referred to a definition of sadistic personality as involving a disorder in which the subject used violence or cruelty as a way of establishing dominance. Persons with such a personality humiliated and demeaned others, used harsh discipline, took pleasure in the suffering of others, used terror to get others to do as they wish, and were fascinated by violence, weapons, martial arts, injury or torture. In the case of Thomas Hamilton he referred to his behaviour at the boys clubs, as shown on the videotapes, which suggested that he was very strict in his approach and that he liked to dominate those who were in his charge. The boys appeared to be cowed and in some distress while carrying out the exercises. A physical education expert had noted that they were pushed far beyond their abilities. Other witnesses suggested that he was over-strict and militaristic in his approach. There was also some evidence that he might have been amused by or gained pleasure from the psychological suffering of others. He referred to evidence which had been given that some years before he telephoned his natural mother saying she would have to go to Inverness by ambulance for medical treatment. This had caused her great distress. Professor DJC said that his neighbour Grace Ogilvie implied that he deliberately frightened her by creeping up behind her when she was hanging out her washing. Mr … indicated that he had fired an empty gun at him. Mr … reported that he kept his adoptive father outside their house at night for up to 20 minutes. There also had been an incident at a camp in which it was alleged that he made a boy stay in the cold water of Loch Lomond for too long. There was also some limited evidence that he restricted the freedom of people who were close to him. He controlled the access which his adoptive father had to his own house; and within the house he prevented him from watching a new television set. There was also strong evidence of a fascination with weapons and perhaps with violence. He referred to evidence that Thomas Hamilton had talked about his guns "as if they were babies" and that he took great care in selecting and preparing the weapons, bullets and cartridges which he was eventually to use in the shootings. He displayed used shooting targets in a bedroom of his house. He was allegedly interested in violent films including Alien and Terminator because of the guns involved. Professor DJC went on to suggest that Thomas Hamilton displayed many of the characteristics of sexual sadism as it had been described by R P Brittain in 1970 (The sadistic murderer, Medicine, Science and the Law Vol.10 pages 198-207). He referred in this context to the fact that Thomas Hamilton had few friends and was described as "overly well mannered". He was perceived by several witnesses as being odd or a misfit in society. As already noted he appeared to lack empathy. He had no apparent interest in girlfriends or adult sexual contact.
I am bound to say that I have some reservation about the importance which Professor DJC attached to some of the factors which he took into account in reaching the conclusion that the evidence indicated that he may have had features of a sadistic personality disorder. In particular it seems to me that he attached undue significance to the way in which Thomas Hamilton behaved towards his natural mother, his adoptive father and the neighbour, …. The telephone call about the ambulance seemed to me to be no more than an unkind prank. On the other hand his reference to Thomas Hamilton's attitude to weapons seemed to me to be of some significance. The following extract from the work by Brittain to which I have already referred seemed particularly striking: "They (weapons) have an attraction for him far beyond what they have for an ordinary collector and he may "love" them, handling, and in the case of firearms, dismantling them and cleaning them for long periods of time. He has strong feelings about them, may have special favourites and he can even have "pet" names for these" (page 201).
Dr JAB considered that Thomas Hamilton showed signs of a paranoid personality and a psychopathic personality. In the latter respect he differed from the opinion of Professor DJC. In his first report he stated that "persons of a paranoid personality are over-sensitive to set-backs and difficulties in their lives, tend to bear grudges and are habitually suspicious and mistrustful. They can have a tenacious sense of their own personal rights which is out of keeping with the actual situation, can be rather self-important and show a tendency to consider that events around them are specifically directed towards themselves and can believe that others around them are conspiring against them...... a person with a psychopathic personality disorder can show callous unconcern for the feeling of others, an incapacity to maintain enduring relationships despite having no difficulty in establishing them, and a low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for aggression or violence. They are not liable to experience feelings of guilt or to learn from experience and they tend to blame others rather than themselves for anything which may happen". In support of this view Dr JAB referred to Thomas Hamilton's persistent beliefs that others were thinking ill of him and not giving him the status and the trust that he deserved; his persistent complaints about the ways that people were talking about him; the absence of any particularly close relationships; and the fact that he seemed to "use" people with whom he was involved.
Again while I fully appreciate the basis for a finding that Thomas Hamilton showed signs of a paranoid personality, I am more doubtful about a psychopathic one, in the absence of any history of his tending to resort to violence.
Mr …, Solicitor Advocate, who appeared for Central Scotland Police, submitted that the evidence did not provide sufficient factual support for the opinions expressed by either Professor DJC or Dr JAB. In any event they were not in agreement. In these circumstances it was unsafe to conclude that Thomas Hamilton suffered from any personality disorder. I am not persuaded of that. While I have reservations about aspects of the evidence given by each of the witnesses I am entirely satisfied that Thomas Hamilton did suffer from a personality disorder, as distinct from a mental illness. It may be unrealistic and undesirable to require that every case should fit into a precise category. All that the two experts were endeavouring to do, without going so far as to provide an exact diagnosis, was to identify those features which suggested the type of disorder from which he suffered. I am satisfied that Dr JAB was well founded in describing his personality as paranoid; and to that I would add that his personality was characterised by a desire to control others in which his guns were the focus of his fantasies. It seems to me that he lacked any real insight into the fact that his conduct had led to the decline in his fortunes and in his reputation. In that situation he turned his fantasy into reality in order to achieve control in a one final and terrible manner.
Both Professor DJC and Dr JAB expressed the view that it was unlikely that any psychological or psychiatric examination of Thomas Hamilton would have alerted the examiner to his dangerousness. Professor DJC emphasised that extreme violence was very rare and was virtually impossible to predict. A person assessing Thomas Hamilton would probably not have regarded him as a high risk. Dr JAB pointed out that the various actions and statements of Thomas Hamilton when taken together gave strong suggestions as to what was being planned by him "but it is only after the event that it has been possible for these all to be linked. Each on its own and at the time was trivial and unremarkable".
Both Professor DJC and Dr JAB expressed the view that Thomas Hamilton demonstrated paedophilia, which is a sexual interest by an adult in children - an opinion which was clearly confirmed by the evidence of the sexual abuse of a boy (see para 4.15), if this was true [4.15 contains the allegations of sexual improprieties by that one boy which was dismissed by Cullen because the boy had an established history of lying—author] Professor DJC said that one indication was the evidence provided by the videotapes. Such material was often used by paedophiles. They featured, in tedious detail, boys of a particular age and body-type posing semi-naked in stereotype poses. They contained long, lingering shots of boys' torsos, and many of the boys were in the same posture with hands held above their heads or suspended from wall bars or rings. The videotapes and the provision of the swimming costumes were suggestive of a fetishistic interest in boys. Paedophilia was consistent with an absence of direct physical contact since it included those who fell in love with children and yearned for their company but avoided the physical manifestations of sexual attraction. [???- Author] Dr JAB stated that he had no doubt that Thomas Hamilton was a paedophile. "The nature of his sexual fantasies can still only be a matter of speculation but his boys club activities were not innocent, had sinister undercurrents and were unhealthy". He went on to state that there was no indication whatsoever that at any time he had been subjected to anyone who confronted his paedophilia or challenged him about it. Indeed from what was written of him this would not have been by any means an easy task and he would have tirelessly argued his own position. Since paedophiles could be very persistent, plausible, persuasive and manipulative it was necessary to begin with confronting them with the belief that they had a paedophile tendency and to keep confronting them with what was known until they came to accept that they had a problem.
Neither Professor DJC nor Dr JAB considered that there was a necessary link between paedophile interests and violence. In the view of Dr JAB was a coincidence that someone who was interested in boys was also interested in guns.
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