22-Jun-2003 - NotW - The UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
News of the World,
Dunblane: The unanswered questions;Exclusive
By: David Leslie
Page: Scotland 4
Picture Caption: HAGGER: Testified for probe;TAYLOR: Warning;NORTH: Heartache
;UTTLEY: Took over ambulance;CULLEN: Inquiry;FACE OF THE
BEAST: Monster Thomas Hamilton with kids at one of his
camps, above, and, right, leering at camera;SCENE OF THE
CRIME:Primary school where horror unfolded
Shocking claims as duo demand a second probe
A NEW inquiry should be held into the Dunblane massacre because dozens of questions about the tragedy remain unanswered, according to two concerned campaigners.
The pair have spent months drawing up a detailed dossier about the horrific shootings.
And they claim that there are discrepancies between the official inquiry, presided over by Lord Cullen, and statements from witnesses at the time.
One woman, Sandra Uttley, was a local ambulance worker.
The other, Doreen Hagger, gave evidence at the Cullen inquiry.
They believe there may have been a cover-up. Questions they now want answered include:
WHO did killer Thomas Hamilton meet and talk to on the way to Dunblane primary school?
WHO was the off-duty police officer at the scene and why has his identity been concealed?
WHY have Hamilton's post mortem results been kept secret?
WHY ambulance service records are not being made public, and WHY was there confusion over the number of guns Hamilton had at the school?
The women - who have drawn up a 50-point, 5,000 word dossier on the affair - are furious that many of the official reports are being kept under wraps.
Government ministers have ruled that much of the evidence about the tragedy should not be made public for 100 years.
Last night Uttley said: "A new inquiry is now urgently needed.
"There may be other individuals who should face prosecution."
The horror unfolded on March 13, 1996, when 43-year-old misfit Hamilton gunned down 16 pupils and teacher Gwen Mayor at the Stirlingshire school.
The atrocity shocked the nation and an official probe was launched under Lord Cullen.
But Uttley and Hagger believe too many mysteries remain.
They point to the statement of one local, Cathleen Boswell Kerr, who said she'd seen the killer standing beside - or climbing from - a large grey saloon car before he travelled to the school.
It was parked outside his Stirling home sometime between 8am and 8.40 on the fateful day.
According to Kerr, Hamilton looked cheerful. He waved as the grey car left, then walked to his white hire van.
But Kerr DIDN'T give evidence at the Cullen inquiry.
And the two women want to know what steps were taken to trace Hamilton's mystery visitor.
Mum-of-six Hagger helped out at a children's camp organised by the oddball loner who went on to become Scotland's worst mass murderer.
Her daughter Vikki, then seven years old, was one of the youngsters who attended.
Both were concerned about his behaviour and complained to cops about him. Though he had already come to the attention of Central Scotland Police after official complaints about his camps and the clubs he ran for boys, Hagger believes her warnings about him went unheeded.
She told us: "I was overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt that I had not done more to stop Hamilton.
"We still have a lot of work to do and much evidence to cover.
"But I feel everyone has been robbed of justice."
Vikki later wrote to Lord Cullen to tell of her nightmare over not being taken seriously.
Her mum also appeared before the judge at his inquiry in Stirling.
Cullen's intensive probe lasted from May 29 until July 10, 1996.
But, according to Uttley and Hagger, his investigation FAILED to reveal the identity of the off-duty police officer they believe to
have been first on the scene.
The man followed the primary school's headteacher Ron Taylor into the gym where the carnage had taken place.
He then warned the head- master, and the school janitor John Currie, not to touch a gun which lay next to Hamilton's body on the gym floor.
But despite his key role, the officer's name has never been released to the public. And the two campaigners want to know WHY his identity has been concealed.
They also want to know why the public hasn't been given access to the results of a post mortem carried out on Hamilton.
Uttley explained: "We know that a full dissection was carried out.
"Pathologist Anthony Busuttil said the cause of death was gunshot
"But this does not explain the manner of Hamilton's death.
"Some sources suggest his body was discovered lying close to a wall in which there were TWO bullet holes, six inches from the floor and a couple of inches apart.
"But what did the wounds on Hamilton's body show?
"The post mortem results would surely clear up this point and explain whether or not he suffered other gunshot injuries that were not fatal."
Uttley could have been one of the ambulance staff who raced to the scene, just minutes after Hamilton's killing spree ended.
She was on a day off from her job at the ambulance station in nearby Callander and only learned of the horror from a friend.
She was called in to work later that day.
The crew she relieved had raced several of Hamilton's young victims to hospital, and were traumatised as a result.
But Uttley and Hagger claim the role of the ambulance service has been obscured.
They claimed: "Lord Cullen said in his report the ambulance service arrived at the school at 9.57 and the police at 9.50 am.
"Our own sources suggest ambulancewoman Alison Irvine made a statement indicating that when she and colleague Leslie Haire arrived at the school at 9.57am there were NO police cars or police officers there - just the mystery man who claimed to be an off-duty policeman.
"Ron Taylor met them and said they were the first to arrive.
"The ambulance staff then radioed their control room to say they were dealing with a major incident.
"Police witnesses said at the inquiry they arrived at the primary school at 9.50am.
"But the Accident and Emergency Department at Stirling Royal Infirmary received notification of a shooting incident at Dunblane at 9.48am. Who from? We want to know why details about the ambulance service's role should be hidden for 100 years."
The two women are also puzzled by the confusion over the number of weapons found at the scene.
Uttley - the former partner of Dr Mick North, whose daughter Sophie died that day - added: "Some witnesses suggest Hamilton had two guns at the primary school, others say he had four.
"Malcolm Chisholm and David Gould, the ammunition and bomb disposal experts, also differ over their examination of the guns.
"Why were these vital issues not properly clarified at the inquiry?"
Some of the discrepancies, they claim, might have been cleared up by the Scene Of Crime report.
But they added: "It's been hidden away until 2096. Why?"
Uttley and Hagger also want to know why photographs of the crime scene weren't taken until late afternoon - though Hamilton ran amok shortly after the school first opened.
Hagger added: "There were concerns that Hamilton's body might be booby trapped.
"Why then was the bomb disposal centre not alerted until 2.30pm? And why on earth were there people present in the gym when the bomb disposal expert arrived?
"The gym was supposed to have been evacuated at noon because of concerns about a booby trap."
Among the other queries raised by the couple's dossier is the question of where Hamilton went between leaving his home and arriving at Dunblane primary school.
Uttley revealed: "A policeman said CCTV cameras picked up Hamilton's van leaving Stirling on the morning of March 13, 1996 at 8.44 and 8.46.
"The journey to Dunblane school would normally take just 15 minutes.
"Yet Hamilton did not arrive there until 9.30. Where did he go in the half hour that's unaccounted for?"
The pair are also intrigued by the matter of Hamilton's finances.
Hagger told us: "Some sources suggest he obtained two credit cards and spent freely at the end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996.
"But he was unemployed - and this has never been fully explained."
The duo say they are determined to battle on until they win a fresh inquiry into the horror.
Uttley - who has written a series of articles about male violence and guns - began work on her dossier in December last year.
In February, she wrote to Hagger asking for her help. They claim they have examined and cross-referenced every word of the Cullen report since then.
Uttley told us: "I will never give up on this until we get to the truth."
And Hagger added: "This has caused us a lot of stress.
"Some of what we've uncovered makes me despair.
"Yet I think it is only right that people should know about this and decide for themselves whether or not a new inquiry is merited."
But last night the officer who headed the Dunblane investigation was adamant that Central Scotland Police left no stone unturned.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Ogg, who has now retired from the force, told us: "I can reassure you that the investigation into the Dunblane incident was absolutely thorough, and we covered every angle.
"I don't subscribe to any of these allegations at all."
And he added: "I have no idea why someone would wish to come up with theories like these."
Speaking from his home in Perthshire, Mick North told us: "I have been asked by Sandra about what happened on the day, and have answered her questions. There are areas that I feel could do with better explanation, but I am not prepared to go into specifics.
"I think it's most unlikely that the conspiracy goes as far as is being alleged."
During the investigation, it was claimed that student teacher David Scott witnessed Hamilton kill himself. However, Scott did not himself give evidence, and when asked if he did see the killer commit suicide, he refused to make any comment at all.
He told the News of the World: "I have not spoken about this before, and have no intention of doing so."
Headmaster Ron Taylor blasted the pair's findings and said he could not understand why they would wish to open up old wounds.
He added: "It is rubbish. There is no substance to it at all.
"Hundreds of statements were given, and only a select few were actually used for Cullen, to spare those affected by the incident the trauma of going through it again.
"Every single person who was in the school on the day gave a statement to the police.
"Only a few people gave verbal evidence to the Cullen Inquiry.
"The vast majority of the report was about the police. There is no cover-up."