BEFORE Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane primary school to massacre 16 children and their teacher he posted a collection of letters outlining a chilling motive for Wednesday's carnage.

The letters dating from the spring of 1992 to only seven days ago provide some answers to the question why. Why a 43-year-old loner opened fire on a class of 29 five and six-year-olds in a school gym before turning a gun on himself.

They paint a picture of a man obsessed that he was being persecuted by the authorities and that Scout Association officials, who had sacked him from the organsisation, were poisoning the local community against him.

They also, crucially, reveal that Hamilton held a grudge against Dunblane Primary School.

In seven letters written to Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth and parents, the killer claims that over the years his reputation was systematically destroyed and that he had been unfairly branded a pervert with an unhealthy interest in the boys who belonged to his athletics clubs.

He complains bitterly over his treatment by the Scout Association following his dismissal 20 years ago and describes the effect persistent rumours circulating in Dunblane have had on his life.

In one letter dated January 26, 1996, Hamilton spells out his animosity towards Central Regional Council's education authorities and its teachers including those at Bannockburn and Dunblane primary schools.

Writing to regional education convener Dr Robert Ball, Hamilton accuses teachers of informing pupils and parents that he is a pervert and expresses his anger over the education department's failure to ``correct the situation''.

``At Dunblane Primary School where teachers have contaminated all the older boys with this poison even former cleaners and dinner ladies have been told by teachers at school that I am a pevert. There have been reports at many schools of our boys being rounded up by staff and even warnings given to entire schools by headteachers during assembly.''

He goes on to complain how such rumours have damaged his clubs, dented his public standing, and prevented him from earning a living. He writes that any attempts to enlighten people have proved time consuming, expensive and ultimately futile.

Yet he is adamant that he is the victim of a malicious whispering campaign explaining away photographs taken of young boys as ``proper and legitimate''.

``I have no criminal record nor have I ever been accused of sexual child abuse by any child and I am not a pervert. I have always run my clubs in a fair, proper and competent manner and ensured that no child or parent has any proper or legitimate complaint. Nevertheless, this defamation coming from the respected source of local primary school staff has caused untold problems everywhere within the region and beyond.''

The above letter was one of eight sent in an A5 brown envelope to The Herald and identical to those sent to several other newspapers and television stations in Scotland. It was stamped with two second class stamps and while the postmark is blurred the frank, poignantly, reads Mother's Day.

Contained within the envelope were copies of two letters to Michael Forsyth. One, written in February, bitterly describes how while inquiries by Central Scotland Police, prompted by the Scout Association, came to nothing, individual officers insisted on sullying Hamilton's reputation.

``In 1988 two Dunblane police constables informed Strathclyde Police in confidence that I was a known pervert which resulted in maximum disruption to my summer camp and damage to my public standing and work.''

The other letter, written the previous year, is a tirade against the police who Hamilton describes as over-zealous, obsessed with child abuse and all too keen to attach sinister motives to the activities of the boys' sports club.

In a pleading letter to the Queen in her capacity as patron of the Scout Association and dated March 7, Hamilton outlines his long-standing grudge against the Scout Association. He points the finger at a colleague who branded him a pervert but who Hamilton concludes is jealous of his clubs.

He ends by saying that he is turning to the Queen as a last resort in an attempt to salvage his self-esteem.

In detailed letters sent to the parents of boys who attended his clubs and summer camps, Hamilton resentfully reiterates how a complaint from a Scout official resulted in one of his clubs being banned for two years from using facilities at Dunblane High School in 1983.

He goes on to tell how he was exonerated by the Ombudsman in 1985 and how Central Regional Council were found to have ``acted badly and caused injustice''.

In the letter, dated August 18, 1995, Hamilton concludes by reassuring parents of his long-term commitment to his supporters in Dunblane.

Extract from the letter Hamilton wrote to Dr Robert Ball, Education Convener of Central Regional Council

January 26, 1996

Dear Bob,

Over six months ago I wrote to you to report that following a discussion among teachers in the staff room at Bannockburn Primary School, teachers were informing pupils and parents that I am a pervert and as a result all of the 26 pupils who were members of my Bannockburn Boys Sports Club left immediately and local gossip followed.

.......this situation is not confined to Bannockburn Primary School......


At Dunblane Primary School where teachers have contaminated all of the older boys with this poison even former cleaners and dinner ladies have been told by teachers at school that I am a pervert.