Author Topic: The Dunblane massacre  (Read 155 times)

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Offline QCChevalier

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2021, 07:31:PM »
Well let me be more specific in some of the allegations which came out in the Cullen report:

In camps in the 1970s Hamilton allowed boys as young as 14 to consume alcohol. One boy was paid to strip to the waist and suffer .22 air gun pellets fired into his back at 50 yards. This would sometimes cause injury but payment would be withheld if he called out. At another camp Hamilton tried to get a boy to swallow a bullet. On another expedition one boy awoke in the middle of the night to find Hamilton seated on a box pointing a gun at him.

There are so many allegations made about the disorganized running of Hamilton's camps and sports clubs in the Cullen Report, the taking of photographs of the boys in swimming trunks, the slapping of boys on occasion, his refusal to allow the boys any parental contact, the poor quality of food, the insanitary conditions. It was obvious to the most casual observer that he possessed an unnatural interest in the boys within his care, yet nobody had the guts to do anything, secure in their own little empires, when they should have been doing the jobs for which taxpayers paid them.

It really makes me sick to dwell on it.

Is your source for this the Cullen Report itself? I can't find any reference to such incidents, but if it's there, could you tell me where?  [Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276631/3386.pdf]

Or where have you got this information?

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2021, 09:17:PM »
Is your source for this the Cullen Report itself? I can't find any reference to such incidents, but if it's there, could you tell me where?  [Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276631/3386.pdf]

Or where have you got this information?
From Sandra Uttley's book Dunblane Unburied:

In 1978 he operated a boys club from Territorial Army premises in Dunblane. Activities included pistol and rifle shooting.  Hamilton trained boys to kill using live ammunition at a secret boot camp. Ten handpicked youngsters – known as his Sea Rovers Patrol – were taught to use rifles and handguns by day. At night Thomas Hamilton whipped them with a steel rod then rubbed lotion into their wounds. At the end of the weekends on Inchmoan Island, he paid the boys £5 each to keep quiet. Keith McGowan was recruited for the group when he was just 11. He referred to Hamilton as “big Tommy”. He said that Hamilton had a Luger pistol, at least 6 rifles, and a couple of handguns. Days were spent cruising the loch on Hamilton’s boat Tropical Linda. Then the boys, wearing only swimming trunks and armed with rifles would be dropped onto the island in a military-style operation.Keith said “We would hunt rabbit for dinner. But Tommy encouraged us to shoot any animal or bird we saw”. In the evening, Thomas Hamilton would pick out two boys at a time and take them to his punishment tent. There they would be made to freeze in the press-up position and whipped with a steel rod. “He said it was part of the programme to make us as fit as we could possibly be. It was like he was training us to be his personal army. It makes us sick to think how he whipped us for hours then rubbed lotion on our wounds. That’s the only time he touched us but he would rub the lotion on us really hard. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realised he was a pervert.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 09:18:PM by Steve_uk »

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2021, 09:19:PM »
In 1981 Hamilton started up the Dunblane Rover Group. It met at Dunblane High School and is believed to be the first group operated within educational premises (according to Inquiry documents), although several witnesses at the Dunblane Inquiry refer to Hamilton having a boys club at Stirling High School in the late 1970s.. The first complaints were made to Central Regional Council, and investigated by the Youth & Community Section. Enquiries were made with the Scout Association who indicated that Thomas Hamilton had been dismissed for homosexual tendencies. A memo was sent to the Director of Education outlining their concerns. On 15 August 1983, Central Regional Council discussed their previous concerns from 1981. A recommendation was made to terminate Hamilton’s lets. This led to a large volume of correspondence by Hamilton to the authorities (see Notes 2).Hamilton had shown an interest in guns from the age of 16. He was a member of a Rifle Club that met in Princes Street Hall in Stirling. His membership of the Club ended when the Hall was pulled down.

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2021, 09:21:PM »
By the time he was 20, Hamilton was frequenting the Scout Hall in Queen Street in Stirling. Around this time he started up a Gun Club. This was attended by about 12 boys who were allowed to shoot weapons. During this time, he casually employed some of the teenage boys from the Queen Street Scout Group, including Thomas Hughes and Francis Cullen. Hamilton practised firing a crossbow and air rifles at targets at the back of his shop.During the mid 1970s, Hamilton started having Island Camps on Loch Lomond. Hughes attended these camps, along with other boys aged 14 and 15. Beer and spirits were provided by Hamilton which the boys were allowed to consume at night. Activities included use of air weapons and crossbows. The weapons were misused by Hamilton, who encouraged the boys to do the same.Hughes was paid money to strip to the waist and suffer .22 air gun pellets fired at his bare back at a distance of over roughly 50 yards. This would sometimes cause injury but payment would be witheld if he yelled out. On the other hand, payment was increased depending on how close Hamilton was allowed to stand. One shot struck his spine, causing great pain. Thereafter the practice was not agreed to. At another camp Hamilton tried to get a boy to swallow a bullet.At one particular camp in 1975, following an evening meal and some alcohol, Hughes retired to bed with Hamilton and Kieron McKenzie. Hughes woke during the night to find the light on and Hamilton seated on a box. Hamilton pointed a shotgun towards him. At that stage Hamilton did not have a firearms licence and no official ownership of this weapon is known of, according to Central Scotland Police.

Offline QCChevalier

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2021, 10:19:PM »
OK.  But is a book such as that a reliable source?  What is the author's background?  What is her theory about the case?  What is her agenda, if any?  Has she researched and sourced her claims and does her book contain footnotes and/or proper references?

I'm not casting aspersions here on you or even the author, it's just that any discussion about this case seems to always rest on all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that turn out to be based on mere assertion by somebody or other.

At the extreme end of the scale (I'm not saying this applies to the book extracted above), I've browsed blogs that assure me that Thomas Hamilton, this man who lived in a small flat in a down-at-heel part of Stirling and ran small-time boys' clubs in and around Dunblane, was some sort of cognoscenti to the Scottish political, judiciary and military elites, had the ear of top judges, and owned two power boats on Loch Lomond.  I'm half-expecting somebody to tell me he was the Queen's long-lost son.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 10:28:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2021, 11:14:PM »
OK.  But is a book such as that a reliable source?  What is the author's background?  What is her theory about the case?  What is her agenda, if any?  Has she researched and sourced her claims and does her book contain footnotes and/or proper references?

I'm not casting aspersions here on you or even the author, it's just that any discussion about this case seems to always rest on all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that turn out to be based on mere assertion by somebody or other.

At the extreme end of the scale (I'm not saying this applies to the book extracted above), I've browsed blogs that assure me that Thomas Hamilton, this man who lived in a small flat in a down-at-heel part of Stirling and ran small-time boys' clubs in and around Dunblane, was some sort of cognoscenti to the Scottish political, judiciary and military elites, had the ear of top judges, and owned two power boats on Loch Lomond.  I'm half-expecting somebody to tell me he was the Queen's long-lost son.
At the age of 25, Hamilton owned a 40 foot motor cruiser. How he came to own this boat is unclear, but it would appear that he purchased it for the paltry sum of £5,000. A strong rumour persists that it was ‘gifted’ to Hamilton by a friend in Central Scotland Police. On three or four occasions, Campbell helped Hamilton to varnish the boat. And according to Campbell, within three years of Hamilton owning the boat, the boat was destroyed as a result of a gas cylinder exploding on board (was Hamilton rehearsing for this with his gas canister explosions on Loch Lomond?) Hamilton received an insurance payment of £36,000 after negotiations with the insurance company.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 11:15:PM by Steve_uk »

Offline QCChevalier

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2021, 01:11:AM »
At the age of 25, Hamilton owned a 40 foot motor cruiser. How he came to own this boat is unclear, but it would appear that he purchased it for the paltry sum of £5,000. A strong rumour persists that it was ‘gifted’ to Hamilton by a friend in Central Scotland Police. On three or four occasions, Campbell helped Hamilton to varnish the boat. And according to Campbell, within three years of Hamilton owning the boat, the boat was destroyed as a result of a gas cylinder exploding on board (was Hamilton rehearsing for this with his gas canister explosions on Loch Lomond?) Hamilton received an insurance payment of £36,000 after negotiations with the insurance company.

Again, unless you can tell us how these claims are sourced and backed-up, it's difficult to make a judgement about them.  I would say that without proper referencing and sourcing, the book you are quoting from is quasi-fiction and next-to worthless.  Anybody can say this, that and the other, but as Lord Cullen himself rightly says in his Report when disregarding a particularly lurid claim about Hamilton, each claim must be examined and must stack up or be dismissed.

Overall, my personal opinion based on what I have read about the case is very different from yours.  I think Thomas Hamilton was the victim of community malignation that got out of hand and, in possession of lethal weapons, he ultimately snapped and committed a terrible and unforgivable atrocity.  I think the 100-year closure order was instituted to protect the community of Dunblane itself from criticism, divisiveness and bad feeling, as there will be some within that town who know that they goaded Hamilton and acted maliciously towards him and thus bear an element of blame for what happened, and may face vitriol and confrontation from others in the community, if their names became widely-known.  This, of course, can never excuse Thomas Hamilton, but it is what it is.

I think over the course of Hamilton's life, from the first problems he had in the Scout movement, what we might call a negative feedback loop developed in which adverse impressions and judgements about him were progressively reinforced by flaws in his own character, which included touches of narcissism and arrogance, and perhaps (though we do not know this for certain) a homosexual interest in juveniles.  Hamilton tried to carve out his own vision of youth leadership away from the Scouts as a boys' and youth organiser of independent local clubs, but he was a strange bird with idiosyncratic instruction methods that upset a lot of Dunblane parents.  Some middle-class parents took the matter further and started making official complaints about him.  Some of these complaints will have reflected over-sensitivity on the part of the parents and a tendency found among educated people to second-guess others and perhaps make much ado about matters of little importance in the grand scheme of things; but, some of it will have had some basis and Hamilton should have been looked into more closely and maybe offered constructive guidance and monitoring in an effort to put him on the right track.  Other parents, perhaps less couth and sophisticated, spread rumours and allegations about him, at least some of which will have contained a basis of truth, but much of it will have been malicious and based on exaggerations and untruths, and even fabrications of incidents.

The bottom line is that none of the serious allegations made against Thomas Hamilton prior to the shootings had any solid basis.  That, I'm afraid, is the plain fact of it.  You can cut-and-paste as many blogs and books as you like, it doesn't change the position.  Furthermore, many parents and youngsters in the community supported him.  This explains why he still held a firearms certificate and ran a boys' club on that terrible day, 13th. March 1996.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 01:19:AM by QCChevalier »

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2021, 06:31:PM »
 Thomas Watt Hamilton was born on 10 May 1952 to Agnes and Thomas Watt. The couple had married in December 1950 at Bridgeton Church in Glasgow. Agnes herself was born illegitimately, in 1931, to the widow Rachel Hamilton and was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Rachel’s sister Kate and her husband James. Thomas Hamilton’s natural father, bus driver Thomas Watt, left Agnes for another woman, bus conductress Margaret McGill, before Hamilton was born. Well that is one story. Another version says that Thomas Watt stayed with Agnes till Thomas was 18 months old and by then they had a second child, a daughter named Sharon. Sharon has managed to continue living in obscurity, despite the atrocity committed by her brother. Thomas Hamilton also had 2 half sisters and 2 half brothers, from his father’s second marriage to Margaret. He never knew them.Born in Glasgow’s Rottenrow Maternity Hospital, Hamilton spent his early years living in Glasgow. When Thomas Watt left his wife Agnes for Margaret, Agnes moved back to the home of her adoptive parents in Stirling. She was just 21, distraught at her broken marriage and unable to cope. In the spring of 1956, when Thomas was four, the grandparents adoped both children, Thomas and Sharon. Thomas Watt became Thomas Watt Hamilton and his life started again, with his grandparents masquerading as his mother and father. Agnes was reinvented as her son’s older sister, deprived of all responsibility for Hamilton’s well-being. Former neighbours say she was treated little better than a skivvy. And there seemed to be few friends

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2021, 06:33:PM »
The family lived in part of an old spacious elegant manse, in Upper Bridge Street, Stirling. It was let to Hamilton’s grandparents at a nominal rent. There was a large well-tended garden, and this further estranged him from local boys. One fellow pupil, only identified as William, said “People used to think he was a bit of a snob because he lived in a fancy house when we all lived in council houses. He was different from us, a mummy’s boy, or so we thought”.Hamilton went to Stirling’s Territorial School. In 1965, at the age of 13, Hamilton moved to the 600-pupil Riverside Secondary School on the banks of the Forth. A former classmate at this school, Paul Cameron, remarked “No one liked him at school because he would take a delight in frightening them. He was only about 12 when I remember him threatening some of the younger girls unless they played with him.

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2021, 06:34:PM »
So, having few – if any – friends, he was already the outsider. In actual fact, Tommy Hamilton’s best friend was a ghost. He told fellow pupils at Riverside Secondary School that he could hear spooks in the attic at night. But he wasn’t scared. Ghosts were just dead people who wanted to talk. Shortly before committing the atrocity at Dunblane, he talked to his neighbour Grace Ogilvie about these ghosts. They obviously still played on his mind.Nobody wanted to be Tommy’s friend. At school, he was simply ignored, or bullied. There was nothing you might call friendship. Tommy Hamilton endured it all. He wasn’t a cry-baby, but, somewhat ironically, he was considered a “mummy’s boy”. Thomas Hamilton had a soft, well-spoken voice. He was ostracised for not being one of the lads. He was labelled a snob and a poof, and he was probably both.Some reports suggest that Hamilton was a hard working and dedicated pupil who excelled at technical drawing. His work was frequently pinned up for the supposed benefit of others. The other children were more than likely irritated by this however. Hamilton was also good at maths, and appeared to enjoy the challenge of solving complicated sums. Understanding the mechanics of things appealed to Hamilton, whether it was a design of a house drawn to scale, a wooden joist for a cupboard, or the workings of a gun. On the whole though, Hamilton paid little attention in class and frequently spent his time drawing on his books whilst he was supposed to be writing essays.  He did however form a close rapport with the school’s technical teacher, George Morrison.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 06:35:PM by Steve_uk »

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2021, 06:36:PM »
Thomas Hamilton left school with few qualifications. One thing we know for certain is that he had poor literacy skills. Ina Mack, a departmental secretary at Stirling University, was employed by Hamilton to do typing. In her Witness Statement given to Central Scotland Police, she states that, “His letters were not of a good construction. I felt he knew what he wanted to say in the letters but he was unable to express this properly in a literal sense. His general construction was poor, with spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes and they generally required tidying up with regard to the grammar. I typed his letters and without changing the content, constructed them and laid them out into a more acceptable grammatical literal standard of English. I always returned to him his original letters along with the letter I had typed for him and he was very appreciative of the help I had given him in this respect”. When Hamilton wrote to Her Majesty The Queen shortly before 13 March 1996, he sent a letter through the post to Ina Mack for typing. She says of this letter, “I did not change the content of this letter from what he had written but corrected the grammar errors and the layout into better all round construction. There is only one omission which I can recollect in that where I have added to the letter “for fear of embarrassing ridicule”, Hamilton had written “for people shouting poof, poof, poof at me”.On leaving school, Hamilton considered going into the Army, but chose instead to work in the old Stirling Burgh Council’s architecture department.

Offline Steve_uk

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Re: The Dunblane massacre
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2021, 06:38:PM »
Here he was well-liked and highly regarded. Colleagues found him well-mannered and keen to work, demonstrating a burgeoning talent for design. At the same time Hamilton perfected one of his other great hobbies, woodwork. Taking up an evening job at a DIY store in Cowane Street, near to his home, he sold wood to the public and developed his own skills in carving. About this time, his enthusiasm for young boys was becoming increasingly apparent.“He used to recruit boys of about 12 or 13 for the shop” his fellow pupil William said. “He used to get some sort of satisfaction from ordering young people about”. Hamilton joined the Venture Scouts, for older teenagers, and pestered the District Scout Commissioner, Comrie Deuchars, to allow him to lead a troop. At the age of 21 he was invited to lead the Stirling 4/6 group, a new branch that had just opened in Bannockburn. Deuchars said, “He was very keen. There didn’t seem any reason to doubt his enthusiasm”. However, Deuchars regularly visited the new troop to see how they were getting on and he was not happy. Hamilton seemed to be more interested in getting the boys changed into their PE gear to play football or handball than doing badge work such as map reading and bird-watching, which did not involve getting changed. Forensic psychologist Paul Britton, remarked after the massacre, “Somewhere in his background I expect he was drawn into a relationship with another boy or someone slightly older. As he matured, the impact of this experience will have remained”