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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Relative welcomes Dunblane move
Mick North
Mick North said there was no police cover-up over Thomas Hamilton
The father of one of the children murdered in the Dunblane shootings has welcomed the decision to release documents relating to the inquiry.

Dr Mick North, whose daughter Sophie was killed, said he was satisfied there was no cover-up over the police's relationship with her killer.

A 100-year restriction on inquiry documents was lifted on Monday.

Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 pupils and a teacher at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March, 1996.

Scotland's senior law officer, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, announced last week that the 100-year restriction on most of the documents would be lifted and they would be made available for public viewing at the National Archives of Scotland.

There was no indication that Hamilton was ever getting special favours from anyone within Central Scotland Police
Mick North

Mr Boyd said the restriction would remain in place for files one to four, which contain details of the victims, including personal profiles, photographs, medical reports and post-mortem examination reports.

Having read the documents Doctor North said he was satisfied there was no cover-up in the police's relationship with Hamilton in the months before the killings.

"It reassured me, perhaps in a way that I hadn't been reassured before, that the investigations had been done in a thorough way.

'No conspiracy'

"Clearly when you have a public inquiry, there is only a limited number of witnesses who can be called to the inquiry and you want some reassurance that what had been going on in the background was far more thorough than that - and that the chair, Lord Cullen had access to that information."

Dr North said he could understand to an extent why people may have alleged there was a police cover-up over their relationship with Hamilton.

"I've criticised Central Scotland Police in the past for being effectively allowed to investigate themselves, I think that was a mistake," said Dr North.

Thomas Hamilton
Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher

"But what the documents suggest was that Hamilton was somebody the police were aware of, he did have some friends in the police force, but there was no indication whatsoever, within very detailed documentation, that he was ever getting special favours from anyone within Central Scotland Police."

Dr North said Hamilton would frequently contact the authorities claiming he had received "a raw deal".

"This has certainly led to suggestions that he had closer connections with the police than appears to be the case from the documents I have seen," Dr North added.

It was bound to lead to speculation if they were going to keep those documents hidden for a hundred years
Canon Basil O'Sullivan

"There is nothing to suggest there has been a cover-up or any kind of conspiracy, but they do include some sensitive information."

Canon Basil O'Sullivan, of the Church of the Holy Family in Dunblane, also supported the release of the files.

"Nine years have passed since it happened and I don't think it will open old wounds," he said.

"It was bound to lead to speculation if they were going to keep those documents hidden for a hundred years.

"I'm confident that opening up the documents to the general public will end speculation and that's to be welcomed."


SEE ALSO:
Order lifted on Dunblane papers
28 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Dunblane families in reports call
19 Mar 03 |  Scotland
Father's plea over Dunblane papers
11 Feb 03 |  Scotland


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