I remember years ago of reading the Novel, ‘The Godfather’ of the planning to murder a bent police captain who was working with the opposition. It was the statement that ‘people will not look at the gunman’.
In the Port Arthur Massacre which occurred 6 weeks after the Dunblane Massacre, most of the people inside the Broad Arrow Café did not look at the gunman once the shooting started. Those that did died. You see, once the shooting started and people realised what was happening they sort the only cover available. People inside the café part of the building left their chairs and laid prone on the floor. Any movement was noticed by the gunman who then simply walked up to that person and shot them through the head. There were thirteen people who were executed in that manner within the Broad Arrow Café, which can be garnished from the report written in the American Wound Ballistics Review by Sergeant Gerard Dutton.
I believe a similar situation would have occurred at Dunblane. None of the survivors would have been able to obtain a good viewing of the gunman. Most of those that did see the gunman would have immediately associated him with the figure of Thomas Hamilton that lay dead within the gymnasium after the massacre. That is the way the mind works.
One of the first items that comes to mind within the context of the shooting at Dunblane is that there were two different types of shooting that took place within the school gymnasium.
Type (1) the gunman enters the gymnasium and starts shooting at the children and teachers. Those children who were shot and fell to the floor were then executed by the gunman walking up to them, placing a foot on their body to hold them still and then shooting them in the head.
It was noted that the gunman murdered far more girls (11) than he did boys (5) and this to me suggests that the gunman deliberately targeted the young female pupils. If there was a similar ratio with the wounded pupils, then I believe that would enhance my belief in this matter.
It is stated within the Tayside Police report on the Dunblane Primary School report No. FSL 1010/96 that the gunman was equipped with 25 extended box type magazines capable of holding 20 rounds each. That is 500 rounds of ammunition for the Browning pistol that was used to murder the pupils and teacher, and wound many others inside the gymnasium.
Of these magazines, 4 were found to be empty, and another three were partially empty. The actual pistol used in these murders when found by the police was devoid of any magazine, but still had a round in the firing chamber. In other words, the gunman had removed the magazine prior to using all the ammunition within the magazine. There was no indication that I could find to tell me whether the safety switch of this pistol had been placed on.
At this stage, we have a gunman whose apparent intent is to murder as many school children as he can. At the end of his shooting within the gymnasium he is still in possession of 13 fully loaded magazines, and three partially loaded magazines. There is nothing to stop the gunman from now going from classroom to classroom killing more children, if that was his intent.
However towards the end of the shooting incident, the gunman changes his shooting style.
Type (2) the gunman now instead of targeting the pupils within the gymnasium, now replaces his magazine with a full magazine, moves to the fire exit door and fires upon the adjacent buildings. One witness, a Mrs Currie, I believe was also fired upon at this stage, but was not wounded. The gunman then retreated but into the gymnasium.
My belief is that the gunman carried out this procedure a second time, that is reloaded his pistol with a full magazine, moved to the fire exit door, and fired at the adjourning buildings.
With this type of shooting it is obvious that the gunman was not endeavouring to murder any pupil or teacher, so what was his endeavour in carrying this type of shooting?
Any student in the adjourning building who may have heard the noise from the discharge of the pistol would have become curious as to what was happening and would have been looking in the direction of the gymnasium. When the gunman stepped out from the ‘fire exit’ door and fired in the directions of the adjourning buildings, any such student or teacher looking would have immediately ducked for cover. They would no longer be watching that area.
A second similar action would have discouraged any pupil whose curiosity got the better of them. All students and teachers are now huddled on the floor of their classrooms, and are totally oblivious to what is about to happen.
The gunman returns to the gymnasium ejects the third magazine from his pistol and then exits the gymnasium via the fire exit door, as his escape route has been made ‘safe’ for him to leave unseen.
That can be the only reason why there was a change in the type of shooting that occurred at Dunblane.
If the gunman was intent on murdering as many pupils as possible, then there is no reason why he couldn’t have traversed from classroom to classroom, and murdered many more children. Why did the gunman choose to commit his murders in a gymnasium where there was plenty of space for the children to run, and places to hide? It would have been far easier to enter a classroom and murder entire classes with much more ease than shooting the pupils in the gymnasium.
If the gunman was bent on suicide after his massacre, then why choose the more difficult area of the gymnasium over a far easier grouping of children in their classrooms? If the gunman was also knowingly going to commit suicide at the end of his killing spree, the classrooms would have been the perfect choice, but the gunman chose the gymnasium where there was an escape route.
The gunman then prepared his escape route by firing at the adjourning buildings and then left unseen and unnoticed.
We now come to the second part of the massacre. The children and their teacher hiding in the storeroom heard somebody enter the gymnasium. There was mention that they believed the gunman may have been convinced to give himself up. There was also a mention of witnesses hearing the gunman scream just before he shot himself.
This would be a first in recorded suicides where the gunman screamed just prior to putting his .357 Smith & Wesson revolver into his mouth and pulling the trigger. However, if somebody shoved a Smith & Wesson revolver into your mouth, would you not scream?
According to information that came to light after the Cullen Inquiry, Thomas Hamilton died from two bullet wounds fired into the roof of his mouth, one bullet exiting above the left ear, and another through the top of his head.
There were two bullet holes in the wall behind Thomas Hamilton’s body in line with where such two bullets would have travelled if Thomas Hamilton had been shot whilst being held down.
Once it was established that Thomas Hamilton had been shot twice, then that rules out all possibility of suicide, and means that Thomas Hamilton was murdered. However the deduction that Hamilton was murdered does not rest solely on this piece of evidence. It is supported by evidence from the witnesses.
Consider what the teacher and the children tell us, when they state that they heard somebody enter the gymnasium and that they believed that the gunman may have been convinced to give himself up.
Alright, how do you expect the gunman who has just murdered 17 persons and wounded several others to react if somebody unexpectedly entered the gymnasium? You would expect the gunman to start shooting at these people as well. There is no record of any person admitting to such an event.
In other words, the gunman must have been expecting somebody to enter the gymnasium, while the murders were still taking place, or at the end of those murders. And all this time, the gunman is still in possession of his Browning pistol. There is no evidence at this stage of the .357 Smith & Wesson revolver. All the shooting up to this date is by the Browning pistol.
There is at this stage a conversation that takes place. How do we know a conversation took place? The teacher and the children thought that the gunman may have been convinced to give himself up. Such a belief can only come about because these witnesses heard people talking.
It is my belief that at this stage the gunman exited the gymnasium. How do I make this assumption? Because the Browning pistol was made safe, by ejecting the box magazine and I would believe engaging the safety switch, because there was still the unfired cartridge in the firing chamber.
Now just how could the gunman do this if he had exchanged the Browning pistol for the Smith & Wesson revolver? He couldn’t complete this action with safety, unless another person was holding the Smith & Wesson revolver.
So, how many people do we have involved in the conversation heard by the teacher and the children? We have the gunman, who departs as soon as possible, and I believe before the death of Thomas Hamilton. We have Thomas Hamilton. We have the person holding the Smith & Wesson revolver and I believe there would be one other person as well.
If Thomas Hamilton was escorted into the gymnasium by a person holding the .357 Smith & Wesson revolver, there was still the possibility that even a coward like Hamilton would make an unexpected move. There would have to have been another person besides the person armed with the Smith & Wesson revolver to ensure that things went according to plan.
Also there would have to be a person to throw Thomas Hamilton to the floor of the gymnasium and to hold him there whilst the person armed with the Smith & Wesson placed the revolver in Hamilton’s mouth and then pulled the trigger.
It was at this stage that Hamilton emitted the scream that was heard by some of the witnesses. And Hamilton did struggle, even though he was being held. He moved the only part of his body that was not constrained. He moved his head, and moved it to the right just as the gunman with the Smith & Wesson pulled the trigger. It was this shot that exited above the left ear. It was the second shot that exited at the top of the head and took with it Hamilton’s brain, which the policeman McCutcheon saw separate from the body.
Constable Grant McCutcheon, the off-duty policeman who was the first policeman to enter the school gymnasium gave us some vital clues to the Dunblane massacre. McCutcheon stated: “I also saw, at the same time as all this, that the gunman was gurgling and breathing heavily.”
What this means is that Constable Grant McCutcheon had entered the gymnasium before Hamilton’s body had completed its death sequences, or in other words within under a minute of Thomas Hamilton being murdered.
McCutcheon also saw the school janitor John Currie at the body of Thomas Hamilton, and saw Currie moved one of the two pistols that were near the body. Then there was the student teacher, David Scott who in his witness statement said that he saw Thomas Hamilton put a handgun up near his mouth.
I believe we now have sufficient evidence to question just exactly what involvement in the murder of Thomas Hamilton that the witnesses John Currie and David Scott played. I further believe that these two witnesses would also be able to name the gunman who murdered the 16 children and one teacher and wound three teachers and another twelve children.