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25 blunders that left Hamilton free to massacre kids; Why did no-one stop evil killer?

Mass killer Thomas Hamilton slipped through the net no fewer than 25 times in a catalogue of blunders, errors and oversights.

He was allowed to play out his sick perversions and fantasies for 22 years - until it all came to a chilling and bloody end in the gym hall of Dunblane Primary School.

Sixteen Primary One children and their teacher were gunned down by Hamilton on March 13.

The question on everyone's lips that day was: "Why?" And a floral tribute outside Stirling's Albert Halls yesterday was still asking the same question.

Lord Cullen, whose inquiry there ended yesterday, must try to provide an answer - and decide who, if anyone, was to blame.

Evil Hamilton came to the attention of police, prosecutors and local councils on 25 separate occasions.

Many parents who met Hamilton were convinced he was a pervert and, for more than 20 years, they tried to stop him.

But, all too often, the authorities took no action, despite the worries of parents and individual police officers.

The Scouts DID act to stop Hamilton when they booted him out in 1974 amid fears he was a paedophile.

They sent a secret dossier to Scout HQ to ensure he was never allowed back in.

That move infuriated Hamilton. He held a grudge against the Scouts - and others who suggested he was a pervert - which festered until the day he carried out his slaughter.

But at least the Scouts acted. Four different police forces probed his sinister behaviour towards children five times between 1988 and 1993. They reported Hamilton to prosecutors in Stirling and Dumbarton to try to bring him to justice.

But each time it was decided the evidence was not strong enough to take action.

In one case, Stirling fiscal Bill Gallagher decided it was "not in the public interest" to prosecute Hamilton, despite his admission he had assaulted a child.

Lord Cullen spent 26 days listening to more than 170 witnesses.

Among the most compelling evidence were these 25 cases when something could have been done ... but it never was.

l FEBRUARY 1977 - Central Scotland Police grant Hamilton firearms certificate. He was dumped by the Scouts three years earlier as leaders feared he was a paedophile. Police were not informed.

2 1981 - Parents complain to Central Regional Council about Hamilton's treatment of children at Dunblane Rovers Group. No action taken. Police compile criminal intelligence on him as suspected paedophile.

3 NOVEMBER 1984 - Council refuse to allow Hamilton to use their premises after more parents complain. He appeals to the Ombudsman, who rules against council.

4 1985 - Council decide to let Hamilton start leasing their property again.

5 JANUARY 1986 - Hamilton's gun licence renewed, despite criminal intelligence. No evidence that Central Scotland Police consulted file.

6 JUNE-JULY 1988 - Police probe Hamilton's summer camp at Inchmoan Island in Loch Lomond after complaints from mum Doreen Hagger that he is beating children. Police report sent to procurator fiscal in Dumbarton. No action taken.

7 1989 - Mrs Hagger says she reported Hamilton to police for pointing gun at her. Police say they can find no trace of her complaint.

8 1989 - Central Scotland Police renew Hamilton's gun licence despite camp probe.

9 1989 - Internal inquiry after Hamilton complains about two police officers in camp probe. Report sent to fiscal at Paisley. No action taken against officers or Hamilton.

10 MAY, 1989 - Lothian and Borders Police investigate report that Hamilton let boys play with guns at their home in Linlithgow. Report to Central Scotland Police - no action .

11 OCTOBER, 1989 - Depute Chief Constable Douglas McMurdo, of Central Scotland Police, meets Hamilton to discuss complaints against police.

12 NOVEMBER 1989 - Mrs Hagger throws liquid manure over Hamilton outside Linlithgow Academy. Police investigate the incident but Hamilton won't make a formal complaint. Lothian Regional Council suspend lets to him.

13 JUNE-JULY 1991 - Central Scotland Police probe into camp at Millarochy Bay at Loch Lomond. Det Sgt Paul Hughes prepares 10 charges against Hamilton, who admits slapping a boy. Report passed to fiscal at Stirling. No action taken.

14 NOVEMBER 1991 - Memo from DS Hughes to Mr McMurdo warns Hamilton is a danger to children and should not have a gun licence. Mr McMurdo stamps memo "no action."

15 JANUARY 1992 - Mr McMurdo tells Scottish Office Hamilton is "bitter, petty- minded, vindictive and irrational". Scottish Office take no action.

16 JANUARY 1992 - Hamilton's gun licence is renewed by Central Scotland Police while Mr McMurdo is on holiday. Chief Superintendent John Adamson signs it without looking at memo from DS Hughes.

17 JUNE 1992 - Fife Police investigate after three boys from Inverkeithing flee Hamilton's camp at Dunblane High School. Reporter to Children's Panel sounds alarm and Fife Regional Council suspend Hamilton's lets at two Dunfermline schools. Police report sent to fiscal at Stirling. No action taken.

18 SPRING 1993 - Hamilton is discovered alone in a locked gym with a young boy. Police officers ask Stirling fiscal Bill Gallagher for a warrant to search Hamilton's home for indecent photographs. Request refused and no action taken against Hamilton.

19 JANUARY 1995 - Hamilton's gun licence signed by Mr McMurdo, who does not look at his firearms file.

20 JUNE 1995 - Hamilton storms into a school in Bannockburn, claims teachers are spreading rumours he's a pervert and he demands an apology. Central Regional Council informed, but no action taken against Hamilton. Police not informed.

21 JULY1995 - Strathclyde Regional Council give Hamilton let of Bishopbriggs High School, despite a warning about him from Central Regional Council.

22 EARLY 1996 - Hamilton points empty gun at friend Jim Gillespie and pulls trigger. Incident not reported to police.

23 MARCH 1996 - Two of his neighbours spot Hamilton in the grounds of a local primary school in the dead of night. Incident not reported to police.

24 MARCH 7, 1996 - Hamilton writes to the Queen to protest about the pervert rumours. The letters are ignored.

25 MARCH 12, 1996 - Strathclyde Region launch inquiry after parents claim Hamilton is showing boys his guns. It's too late - the next day, Hamilton commits the massacre at Dunblane Primary School.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 11, 1996
Previous Article:THE MONSTER'S LAIR; CHILLING: Bullets, targets and empty gun cupboard cops found in Hamilton's house.

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