Dunblane secret documents contain letters by
Tory and Labour ministers
LETTERS between Labour and Tory ministers and
correspondence relating to Thomas Hamilton's alleged involvement
with Freemasonry are part of a batch of more than 100 documents
about the Dunblane mass murder which have been sealed from public
sight for 100 years.
The documents include a letter connected to Hamilton, which was
sent by George Robertson, currently head of Nato, to Michael
Forsyth, who was then Secretary of State for Scotland.
Until now it was thought that a 100-year public secrecy order had
only been placed on one police report into Hamilton which allegedly
named high-profile politicians and legal figures. However, a Sunday
Herald investigation has uncovered that 106 documents, which were
submitted to the Dunblane inquiry in 1996, were also placed under
the 100-year rule.
The Scottish Executive has claimed the 100-year secrecy order was
placed on the Central Police report, which was drafted in 1991 five
years before the murders, to protect the identities of children
named in the report. Hamilton had allegedly abused a number of
children prior to his 1996 gun attack on Dunblane primary school in
which 16 primary one children and a teacher died before Hamilton
turned his gun on himself.
However, only a handful of the documents, which the Sunday Herald
has discovered to be also subject to the 100-year rule, relate to
children or name alleged abuse victims.
The most intriguing document is listed as: 'Copy of letter from
Thomas Hamilton to Dunblane parents regarding boys' club, and flyer
advertising Dunblane Boys' Sports Club. Both sent to Rt Hon Michael
Forsyth, MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, by George Robertson
MP.' Also closed under the 100-year rule is a 'submission to Lord
James Douglas Hamilton, MP, Minister of State at the Scottish
Office, concerning government evidence to the Inquiry'.
Another document relates to correspondence between the clerk of
the Dunblane inquiry, which was presided over by Lord Cullen, and a
member of the public regarding 'possible affiliations of Thomas
Hamilton with Freemasonry ... and copy letters from Thomas
SNP deputy justice minister, Michael Matheson, said: 'The
explanation to date about the 100 -year rule was that it was put in
place to protect the interests of children named in the Central
Police report. How can that explanation stand when children aren't
named? The 100-year rule needs to be re-examined with respect to all
Matheson has written to the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, asking why
the 100-year rule applies and how it can be revoked. He has so far
had no response. He also asked First Minister Jack McConnell to
explain the reasons for the 100-year order but received 'no
substantial answer'. Matheson is to write to Colin Boyd a second
time, in the light of the discovery that more than 100 other
documents are also sealed, asking him to account for the decision.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: 'In consultation with
the Crown Office and the Scottish Office, Lord Cullen agreed that in
line with the age of some of the individuals involved and named in
the inquiry, the closure period would be 100 years. The Lord
Advocate is considering issuing a redacted copy of the productions,
which would blank out identifying details of children and their
families. A decision on this has yet to be made.'
Other sealed key reports on Dunblane include:
A 'comparative analysis of Thomas Hamilton' by Central Scotland
Information about Hamilton's 'use and possession of firearms'
Pathology reports, Hamilton's autopsy report, and analysis by
Glasgow University's forensic science lab on blood, urine and liver
samples from Hamilton's body
Details on firearms licensing policies
A review by Alfred Vannet, regional procurator fiscal of
Grampian, Highland and Islands, of 'reports and information in
respect of Thomas Hamilton submitted to the procurator fiscals of
Dumbarton and Stirling by Strathclyde Police and Central Police'
A psychological report on Hamilton
Guidance from the British Medical Association on granting
'Transcript of and correspondence relating to answering-machine
tape which accidentally recorded conversation between police
officers at the scene of the Dunblane incident'
Correspondence and witness statements 'relating to allegations
of sexual abuse made against Hamilton'
02 March 2003