Last conversation was with man who triggered killer's fall

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The man who started Thomas Hamilton's descent into bitterness and murder was also the last adult to speak to him before he died, it emerged last night.

Comrie Deuchars, 67, former district commissioner of Stirling Scouts, ended Hamilton's scouting career in 1974 but he was on good terms with him and spoke to him an hour before the mayhem at Dunblane Primary School.

"I spoke to him at 8.15am on Wednesday, an hour before the massacre. I told him my wife was waiting for the Stirling Observer. He was scraping the ice off a white Fiat van he had hired and he said he would pass the paper in. He seemed perfectly normal, in no way agitated and I had no idea about what was coming."

Mr Deuchars reported Hamilton in 1974 for taking a group of boys to Aviemore without proper accommodation. In an interview with the Independent, Mr Deuchars said Hamilton was ejected from the Scouts not because of sexual impropriety but because he had taken a group of boys aged between 11 and 13 out in sub-zero temperatures and provided them with only a van in which to sleep. "Although his report had shown that they were supposed to be staying in hostel accommodation I found out that he had put them in the van which was so cold that afterwards it had to be defrosted," he said. "The boys were very cold, very miserable and very hungry."

Mr Deuchars, who lives in the flat above Hamilton's in Kent Road, Stirling, said his report to the Scout Association that finished Hamilton's scouting career was confidential but he never hid the truth from him.

"I told him: `Tommy, I'm sorry but I just don't think you're cut out for this'. He seemed to take it well, and it did not result in any tension between us.

"I would chat to him and he would chat to me. He appeared to be very keen on gymnastics and he said he was a certified gymnastics instructor.

"I said: `Maybe this is what you are looking for, Tommy.' My report was probably why he was blacklisted but he didn't seem to bear a grudge."

Despite the rumours circulating in the area , Mr Deuchars said he was convinced Hamilton was not a paedophile.

"When I heard what had happened I was absolutely astonished. Although I had made this report there was no suggestion that Tommy had interfered sexually with the children. It related only to poor judgement."

Mr Deuchars said that although he was named in a letter to the Queen as being the root of Hamilton's downfall, he had made no other representations to the Scout Association.