Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Dunblane Massacre

The 100-Year Ban

Cemetery statue for Dunblane victims
Cemetery statue for Dunblane victims

At around the same time the victims' families were challenging gun laws they were also campaigning for more information concerning Hamilton. McDougall claimed that Lord Cullen made a decision to withhold "sensitive information" from public eyes by enforcing a 100-year closure order on evidence relating to Hamilton's activities prior to the Dunblane massacre. According to Tamzin Lewis' article Hidden Secrets of the Dunblane Massacre, the evidence included police reports concerning abuse allegations at the boys clubs, Hamilton's purported links with the Freemasonry and reports about his 'use and possession of firearms.' The victims' families challenged the 100-year ban because they believed that the public had a right to view the documents.

Officials insisted that the ban was instated only to protect the identities of the children named in the reports. However, Neil Mackay stated in his March 2003 Sunday Herald article that there were only "a handful of documents" that related to children or named alleged abuse victims. Many believed that the ban was illegal and was actually instated to protect high-level officials, such as local police and authorities, from wrongdoing.

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC

To allay suspicions, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC allowed the release of four police reports from between 1988 to 1993. Yet, denied making public a further 106 separate files relating to Hamilton's activities. Instead of alleviating suspicions, the move only increased speculations that officials were trying to cover-up critical evidence.

McDougall quoted Frank Blake, the husband of Dunblane massacre survivor Mary Blake, as saying, "They have not divulged the whole lot and we want everything to be made public." He was further quoted saying, "We want to know what is so important in these papers, what do they have to hide from public view?" Other family members of the victims had similar reactions. However, despite their complaints, the documents have not yet been released.

In March 2004, Dr. Mick North, parent of deceased Dunblane victim Sophie North, brought forth new allegations of a possible cover-up. According to Marcello Mega's article, Dunblane Cover-up, North listed six key points that the Cullen Inquiry failed to address, which included:

  1. The failure to hear evidence from Catherine Kerr, a neighbor of Hamilton's, who saw him emerge from a gray-colored car outside his home on the morning of the shootings. The driver has never been traced.
  2. 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.
  3. Why an off-duty police officer who was mysteriously at the school on the morning of the shootings was never called to give evidence.
  4. The failure by police to identify Hamilton as a pedophile who was almost certainly involved in supplying photographs of virtually naked boys, which he took on camps.
  5. The failure to establish who Hamilton's friends in the police were. A number of witnesses testified that police cars often stopped outside his home.
  6. 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 that boys were abused.

The accusations have prompted a call for a new inquiry into Hamilton, the shootings and the investigations conducted by the authorities. The families of the victims have demanded public access to all of the information available concerning Hamilton. It is only then that they might finally be able to put to rest the nightmare that has haunted them for almost a decade.

Abigail McLennan, Brett McKinnon, Charlotte Dunn, David Kerr (Victims)
Abigail McLennan, Brett McKinnon, Charlotte Dunn, David Kerr (Victims)

Emily Morton, Emma Crozier, Hannah Scott, Joanna Ross (Victims)
Emily Morton, Emma Crozier, Hannah Scott, Joanna Ross (Victims)

John Petrie, Kevin Hasell, Megan Turner, Melissa Currie (Victims)
John Petrie, Kevin Hasell, Megan Turner, Melissa Currie (Victims)

Mhairi McBeath, Ross Irvine, Sophie North, Victoria Clydesdale (Victims)
Mhairi McBeath, Ross Irvine, Sophie North, Victoria Clydesdale (Victims)

 

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