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The Dunblane Massacre – Crown Office Obstruction and Disinformation

by | Wednesday, 18th April 2012
Between 1988 and 1993 the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – under Lord Advocates Lord Fraser, Lord Rodger and Lord Cameron – repeatedly blocked efforts by the Central Scotland Police (CSP) to investigate the criminal activities of paedophile and child abuser, Thomas Hamilton.

Had Hamilton been charged and convicted at that time, then not only would he have been prevented from running his ‘boys’ clubs’, his gun license would also have been revoked.

On the 13th March 1996, Thomas Hamilton, armed with four hand-guns, opened fire on a class at Dunblane Primary School, killing 16 young children and a teacher, before turning a gun on himself. 

A public inquiry into the circumstances of that massacre, under Lord Cullen, was initiated in the city of Stirling on the 29th May 1996. However, that crucially important opportunity to discover the reasons behind Hamilton’s act of mass murder was effectively wrecked by the bizarre way in which the Inquiry was conducted – including the disgraceful behaviour by some members of the legal profession, instructed to assist in that Inquiry.  

The Crown Office and Hamilton’s Criminal Behaviour

Repeated efforts by Central Scotland Police to investigate (and curtail) Hamilton’s activities, were blocked by the Crown Office Procurator Service (COPFS). Five such cases are recorded, relating to incidents at: Inchmoan Island, Loch Lomond in July 1988; Inchmoan Island (again) in August 1988; Millarcochy Caravan Park, Loch Lomond in July 1991; Dunblane High School in June 1992; and Dunblane High School in June 1993. Almost all of the incidents were reported to the police by the parents of young boys (but not exclusively so). Those complaints concerned Hamilton’s paedophilic conduct and abusive behaviour (including physical assault) towards young boys attending his boys’ sports clubs, and summer camps. 

Responses by the COPFS included the comment that “where criminality was indicated the circumstances – taken at their highest level – were such as to not require prosecution in the public interest”. This was clearly a reflection of a Crown Office “public interest” policy that had begun to emerge in the late 1980s/early 1990s.  It was a policy to be found (for example) in the Directive No 2025 (28th November 1991) in which the Crown Office effectively sanctioned particular criminal acts, contrary to Law – such as (for example) allowing teenage boys to be sodomised by older men. 

In 1994 Thomas Hamilton accepted a police caution from Lothian and Borders Police after having been caught behaving indecently with a young man in Edinburgh. That the police chose to issue a caution, rather than lay formal charges (and go to court), is an indication of the difficulties the police faced as a result of decisions taken by The Crown Office. It was the prevention of the police to effectively challenge Hamilton’s behaviour, especially the abuse and exploitation of small boys, which undoubtedly encouraged him to believe he was doing nothing wrong – that he felt justified in claiming he “was not a pervert”.  

It is clear from the evidence available that Hamilton’s interest in young boys was sexual. He also felt no need to conceal his paedophilia – with an expert witness to the Inquiry describing Hamilton’s behaviour as “overt”. It is also clear (from that same expert) that the videos Hamilton made at his boys’ sports clubs would have had considerable pornographic value to both paedophilic individuals and to organized paedophile groups. Thomas Hamilton began making videos of the young boys attending his clubs and camps sometime in the late 1980s, and continued to do so for almost 8 years (until approximately a year before the Dunblane massacre). 

It was the content of those videos (and also reports of his bullying and aggressive behaviour towards the boys) that so alarmed parents, and which led them to remove their children from both Hamilton’s boys’ clubs and his summer camps. And it was that entirely understandable reaction, from extremely concerned parents, that Hamilton was not prepared to accept. It was a situation of potential (and actual) conflict whose origins lay in the appalling policy and operational decisions made by The Crown Office, some five years previously.

Avoiding The STV Connection

In the years preceding the Dunblane massacre Thomas Hamilton regularly associated with at least one employee of Scottish Television – an STV News Cameraman by the name of Mr. Clive Wood. In fact Mr. Wood, together with STV Reporter Martin Geissler, were the first of the news media to beat a path to Hamilton’s door, in the hours following the shooting. On seeing the police outside his house, and realising Hamilton was a mass killer, Mr. Wood reportedly exclaimed: “God Thomas, what have you done?” 

In a pre-Inquiry witness statement of Clive Wood there is the observation that:

The witness [Clive Wood] would sometimes run Hamilton to shoots. The witness on occasion went into Hamilton’s house only for a cup of coffee and from memory he never at any time saw photographs of any young boys within the house. The visits would last about 20 minutes. 

In a pre-Inquiry witness statement by a neighbour of Thomas Hamilton, Mr. Robert Mark Ure there is an observation that:

One of the vehicles that he [Ure] saw beside his [Hamilton’s] house was a large blue K registration car about the size of a Granada, sometime driven by a male and other times by Hamilton [my emphasis]. 

However during the actual Inquiry, the examination of Mr. Ure (by Mr. Ian Bonomy, Advocate Depute for The Crown) was extraordinarily brief – and, most noticeably, the matter of the observations by Robert Ure of Hamilton having the use of a “large blue car” was never raised. There was no cross-examination.

Also during the Inquiry, another neighbour of Thomas Hamilton, Mr. Robert Comrie Heslop Deuchars, recalled seeing only two regular callers to Hamilton’s house: “One of them was a landscape gardener by the name of James Gillespie and the other, I won’t say frequent, was somebody who I am assuming worked for STV because they were in a blue Rover Estate with the STV insignia on the side of it.” The legal counsel (Mr. J C Lake, Advocate for The Crown) did not pursue the matter but instead abruptly changed the subject, with the question: “were you aware Hamilton kept guns?”

‘Smearing’ The Police

However it is the evidence given by the witness Mrs. Grace Jones Ogilvie, and the behaviour by Inquiry counsel towards her, that is especially revealing.

In a pre-Inquiry witness statement by this neighbour of Thomas Hamilton, Mrs. Grace Ogilvie (63) there is the observation that:

Another regular visitor to the house [Hamilton’s] was a man in a Scottish Television Car. The witness [Mrs. Grace Ogilvie] cannot describe the man but the car she believes to have been a blue Volvo estate.

As with Mr. Deuchars, she recalled seeing only two regular visitors to Thomas Hamilton’s house – someone driving an STV car, and Mr. Gillespie the landscape gardener. 

However during the Inquiry we find this most peculiar exchange between witness Mrs. Ogilvie, and Mr. Ian Bonomy (the Advocate Depute for the Crown Office) during his questing of Mrs. Ogilvie: firstly a response to a question from Mr. Bonomy:

Q. Can you tell me something of who these visitors were?

A. Well, mostly STV

Mr. Bonomy then introduced the notion of only a single visitor in “a car with STV on it” – his words, not hers; followed by a blatantly leading question inviting Mrs. Ogilvie to confirm both the nature of the ownership of the car, and the visitor’s purpose:

Q.  And this is a private visitor as you would understand it who happened to have such a car?

A. Yes, the police.” [see also Figure 1]

Under any other circumstances such a bizarre dialogue would have been subject to the ridicule it deserved. However there was no response from any other legal counsel, or from Lord Cullen. Therefore we suddenly find a third category of regular visitor(s) being introduced – “the police” – who (we are required to believe) were known to be visiting Hamilton in a private capacity (how?).

It is therefore extremely difficult not to conclude that the witness (Mrs. Ogilvie) had been ‘coached’ prior to the Inquiry to give untrue testimony – and presumably for the purpose of undermining the reputation of Central Scotland Police, and to falsely connect police officers to Hamilton’s paedophile activities.

A Conflict of Interest?

For the duration of the Cullen Dunblane Inquiry Mr. Colin Campbell QC appeared on behalf of the victim’s families, and was acting on instruction from the Glasgow-based solicitors Levy and McRae. According to the ‘Legal 500’ website:

Levy & McRae’s impressive client list includes ITV, STV, Channel 4, Sky, Granada and Newsquest. Its comprehensive defamation practice represents pursuers and defenders. Peter Watson is the main contact.

In fact we can find an early reference to the Levy and McRae and STV relationship in an official Crown Office publication from 1993:

He [Robert Henderson QC] then, however, went on to say that shortly after 23 October 1991 Peter Watson of Levy and Macrae [sic], Solicitors, Glasgow, told him that Scottish Television [STV] had damaging information relating to [Lord] Alan Rodger. David Blair-Wilson told us at interview that Robert Henderson had made a similar statement to him. Peter Watson ‘legals’ for STV, i.e. he advises them on the legal implications of matters which they have it in mind to broadcast. When we spoke to him, he denied that he had said anything of the sort to Robert Henderson. Indeed, he has since confirmed to us on behalf of STV that the Lord Advocate has never featured as part of any investigation by them, which is why he could not have said to Robert Henderson what Robert Henderson alleged he had said.

The Crown Office report went on to state that there was “no evidence whatever [sic] that Lord Rodger is or ever has been in any way compromised, either as Solicitor General or as Lord Advocate.” 

It is the relationship between the legal counsel for the Dunblane victim’s families, the solicitors Levy and McRae, Scottish Television (STV), and one of the principle witnesses (Mr. Clive Wood, a long-time associate of Thomas Hamilton, and employee of STV) that obviously raises questions of a possible conflict of interest of those chosen to provide legal representation for the victim’s families.

The grounds for those concerns are exemplified by the manner in which Mr. Clive Wood was cross-examined by Mr. Campbell. Given the long association (of at least 15 years) between Mr. Wood and Thomas Hamilton, given Mr. Wood’s connection to STV (as a News Cameraman), and the fact that Hamilton was determined to distribute his videos to all and sundry, it would be reasonable to expect that Mr. Wood would have been subject to a detailed and searching cross-examination – of questions (in particular) concerning Mr. Wood’s visits to Hamilton’s home, and whether or not Hamilton had discussed his video-making hobby with him, or had attempted to provide him with any of his boys’ club or summer camp videos. 

At no time during Mr. Wood’s examination (nor at any time during the Inquiry) was a connection made between him and his employer STV, or with the STV car seen outside Hamilton’s home.

The cross-examination of Mr. Wood, by Mr. Colin Campbell QC, amounted to just three rather vacuous questions: (1) what rumours had he heard concerning Hamilton; (2) did he discuss those rumours with Hamilton; and (3) what was Hamilton’s response? And that was it. The sum total of the cross examination of the principal witness Mr. Clive Wood, by the legal representative for the victim’s families, amounted to little more than one page of the 3,376-page Cullen Inquiry transcript.

All of which rather begs the question as to whether Mr. Campbell QC had been instructed not to question Mr. Wood in any way that could draw attention to his work for STV.

Disinformation, Misdirection and Time-wasting

It is perhaps not surprising that as soon as people began to investigate the manner in which the Cullen Inquiry was conducted, that those people were subject to a campaign of disinformation and misdirection. Very often they were persuaded to waste much of their time chasing false leads, or in seemingly endless correspondence with individuals who would insist on discussing and investigating the most trivial or mundane of matters.

We can get some clues as to the source(s) of such behaviour from looking at the content of the disinformation, and the subject of the misdirection. Most noticeably it is clear the intention has been to promote the notion that members of the police service (of the CSP, especially) were not only involved with Thomas Hamilton in his paedophile activities, but were also involved in a cover-up following the Dunblane School massacre. Often this has involved the gross distortion of evidence, or of complete invention. 

However, what is most noticeable is the total absence, within that disinformation, of any reference to the actual activities of the legal profession, the judiciary, or (most especially) The Crown Office of Scotland.

Figure 1: Ogilvy Witness Statement

In a pre-Inquiry witness statement (Ref. No 555/C) a neighbour of Thomas Hamilton, Mrs. Grace Jones Ogilvie, identified just two visitors to Hamilton’s house – a Mr. James Gillespie (a landscape gardener), and that “another regular visitor to the house was a man in a Scottish Television car”.

The statement went on to say that she could not describe the man in the car, but that “she believes the car to have been a blue Volvo Estate”. 

Mrs. Ogilvie made no mention whatsoever of the police calling at Hamilton’s house.

The evidence presented at the Inquiry (opposite) introduces the notion of regular visits by the police to Hamilton’s house, in a private capacity (but how would Mrs. Ogilvie know?). 

The conclusion is that sometime between making the witness statement, and giving evidence to the Inquiry, Mrs. Ogilvie had been ‘coached’ to implicate the police (i.e. CSP).

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