William BURNS to Bryan McConnachie,
Public Petition Committee
18 Shore Road
Tel: 0131 331 1855
6 January 2004
Public Petitions Team Support
Public Petitions Committee
Dear Mr McConachie
THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT - SUBMISSION OF PUBLIC PETITIONS PE652 & PE685
In support of evidence submitted with the Public Petitions Committee in relation to
the above petitions PE652 and PE685, please find enclosed a copy of an article of
serious significance by Marcello Mega that appeared in the News of the World on
Sunday, 28 December 2003. It further bolsters my earlier submitted News of the World
article by Marcello Mega of 9 November 2003, along with an article that appeared in
the Herald on Wednesday, 13 November 2003.
I apologise if I appear overly pushy with this supplication, but I am sure the entire
PPC will appreciate the enormity of it, especially in the light of Lord Burton's
revelations in the News of the World.
The "New of the World Investigates" article by Marcello Mega, published on 28 December
2003, is typed out verbatim below
The inquiry into the Dunblane massacre was a massive cover-up, a top Scots Freemason
has sensationally claimed. Former Grand Master Lord Burton says that Lord Cullen's
official probe suppressed crucial information to protect high-profile legal figures.
He says they may belong to a secretive "Super-Mason" group called The Speculative
Society. Some had links to the Queen Victoria School where gunman Thomas Hamilton was
allowed to roam free before the 1996 atrocity. [ DUNBLANE SCHOOL KILLINGS ]
And Lord Burton revealed that he was bullied and threatened by other peers when he
tried to raise his concerns in the House of Lords. Last night the 79 year-old
aristocrat said: "There's no escaping the fact that there's something sinister about
the whole affair." He was prompted into action after reading in the News of the World
last month that police are investigating claims that pupils at QVS were regularly
taken away and sexually abused.
The Cullen Inquiry failed to investigate why suspected paedophile Hamilton was
allowed to wander around the school whenever he liked, running camps and using the
Former housemaster Glenn Harrison told us how he even found Hamilton, 43, creeping
around the dormitories at night. He said Hamilton, who murdered 16 pupils and a
teacher at Dunblane Primary School in 1996, had close links to a top cop. Glenn
said he was aghast that he was never called to give evidence at the Cullen Inquiry.
He said: "I was one of the people who was making a fuss about Hamilton long before
he killed those children, but no one wanted to listen." Now Lord Burton has
contacted him at his new home in the Shetland Islands, saying he believes Glenn wasn't
called to give evidence to avoid the embarrassment of top legal names being dragged
The QVS is for schoolchildren of the military services and has long-standing links
to high office; its current patron is the Duke of Edinburgh. Whoever holds the
position of secretary of State for Scotland becomes president and Scotland's
second-most senior judge, the Lord Justice-Clerk, becomes a commissioner.
Lord Burton said: "I was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland at the time and
I'm aware that most of the conspiracy theories around Dunblane revolve around
allegations of a Masonic conspiracy. I do have some difficulty with that, but I have
learned of an apparent connection between prominent members of the legal establishment
involved in the inquiry, and the secretive Speculative Society. The society was formed
in Edinburgh University through Masonic connections so I accept that there might be a
link by that route. But Hamilton was never a Mason. His grandfather was."
[Petitioner's interjection: Thomas Hamilton enrolled as a member of Lodge Garrowhill
(Lanarkshire Middle Ward) No. 1413, Garrowhill Drive, Garrowhill, Glasgow, in 1977,
the same year he was granted a firearms certificate. Without any shadow of a doubt,
his files connecting him to Freemasonry would be destroyed after the atrocities on
13 March 1996.]
Current members of the Speculative Society include Lord Cullen and a number of other
judges, sheriffs and advocates. Lord Burton has been trying for years to get to the
bottom of the conspiracy theories, using his influence in the House of Lords until
the reforms meant he was no longer entitled to sit in Westminster. Last night he
said: "I tried repeatedly to raise concerns about the inquiry during my time in the
Lords, and I was bullied and threatened by powerful peers loyal to the Conservative
Government of the day, who warned me of dire consequences if I continued to
[Petitioner's interjection - Bear in mind, Malcolm Rifkind was the Foreign Secretary
at the time - and they do not come much higher in government than that - and Malcolm
Rifkind's friend and his then Chairman of his constituency party at Edinburgh Pentlands,
Robert Bell, according to the front page lead of the Edinburgh Evening News on 23 March
1996, sold guns and ammunition to Thomas Hamilton only a few weeks before the Dunblane
massacre, and it was reported he said he would sell him guns again. I sent this
information to Lord Cullen in a letter dated 27 February 2003, a copy with which the
Public Petitions Committee were all provided as additional evidence to PE652.]
But the determined peer pressed on and on and in 1999, asked a question in the Lords
which revealed that documents from the inquiry had been locked up for 100 years.
Among them was a police report revealing that Hamilton had been accused of sexually
abusing boys and had been considered by some officers unfit to hold a firearms licence.
Lord Burton added: "We still need to know why that was necessary. Who was the secrecy
Although the official reason is to protect the families of possible abuse victims,
it's unusual for documents to be locked up unless for matters of national security.
In July, Dunblane ambulance worker Sandra Uttley told the News of the World how she
and friend Doreen Hagger had drawn up a 50-point, 5,000-word dossier calling for
secrecy surrounding the tragedy to be lifted. They claimed that dozens of questions
have gone unanswered and crucial lines of enquiry were ignored. Former ambulance
worker Sandra said: "There may be other individuals who should face prosecution."
Glenn Harrison had kept dozens of files from pupils alleging bullying and abuse
while he was at the QVS and wrote to parents warning of the dangers in 1991. It led
to him being ousted from the school and just days before he left, police raided his
home and confiscated the files. When Glenn read Sandra's story, he went back to the
police - and this time they agreed to investigate.
Last night he said he in turn had been glad to receive the call from Lord Burton ...
He added: "I've been making noises for years and I sometimes despair and think it's
time to just accept we'll never get to the truth. "But I think we owe it to all the
people who were so affected by the killings to continue to demand questions that
were never asked."
Glenn told us that Hamilton had been a friend of Ben Philip, the senior housemaster
at QVS. Mr Philip died in December 1993, aged 46, when he fell from a ladder while
hanging decorations. Glenn said: "They were friends so Hamilton was a regular visitor
to the school and I was introduced to him. "Ben Philip was a decent guy who was very
trusting. I think he thought he and Hamilton shared interests in things like the
outdoors, and he couldn't see that Hamilton had another motive for wanting to be
around the school.
"Hamilton ran camps in the school grounds and he used the shooting range freely. He
came and went as he pleased, almost as if he owned the place, and no one has ever
tried to explain why he had such freedom. I am still haunted by the memory of pick up
my newspaper on March 14 1996 and reading about what had occurred at Dunblane Primary
School the day before. I just knew the killer had to be Thomas Hamilton. He should
have been stopped."
Demands have already been made to the Scottish Executive to investigate the influence
of the Speculative Society. It was formed in 1764 as an off-shoot of the Masons and
has counted Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Hugh McDiarmid among its
most celebrated members.
The Spec, as it is known, is described by its members as a debating club. They meet
in candlelit vaults below Edinburgh University's Old College in the winter.
Prospective members are normally approached while still studying at the university.
Its membership - which was secret until a year ago - reads like a Who's Who of the
rich and powerful in Scotland.
Campaigners were determined to reveal the membership amid concerns, many expressed
by senior lawyers who are not members, of the disproportionate influence the Spec
is said to wield. One legal figure who has long been suspicious of the Spec said:
"Members laugh off the suspicions and say it's just a debating club. But, given
that the members are picked as undergrads and almost without exception go on to
reach the pinnacle of their careers, you have to think either that those making the
selection are very astute at spotting potential, or that membership gives you a big
leg up in life. I know which option I favour."
I will be much obliged if you could respond at your earliest convenience. Please also
keep me abreast of any progress with PE652, which was heard over two months ago, and
of any proposed date for the hearing of PE685.