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MSP stalker faces prison for Dunblane atrocity police calls

James Lynn-Wilson
James Lynn-Wilson.

A former Mormon jailed for stalking a top Scottish Conservative politician faces a fresh prison term after threatening to carry out a Dunblane-style atrocity at the MSP’s home, half a mile from a busy primary school.

James Lynn-Wilson rang Police Scotland and asked for the Chief Constable’s office before threatening to “act like Thomas Hamilton” at an address in Bridge of Allan, where the Central Scotland MSP Stephen Kerr lived.

Police Scotland operator Dawn Smith, who took the call, told a court she “felt quite sick” when she realised what Lynn-Wilson meant.

Mrs Smith, 50, said: “I took it to mean that he was going to take a gun and do exactly what was done at Dunblane.”

She immediately notified superiors and Lynn-Wilson, 49, was arrested on a bus in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire.

Scottish Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr was the victim of Lynn-Wilson’s stalking.

At that point he was not headed for Mr Kerr’s house.

Intercepted on bus

PC Jennifer Stewart, one of several officers sent to intercept him, said Lynn-Wilson had walked towards her down the bus aisle “holding his hands together in front of him as if he expected to be handcuffed”.

She told a jury at Falkirk Sheriff Court: “He was saying he was going to go to [Mr Kerr’s address in Bridge of Allan] and do what Thomas Hamilton had done.

“He just kept repeating that sort of that same thing, over and over again.”

Prosecutor Katie Cunningham asked her: “Do you know who Thomas Hamilton is?”

Visibly struggling to maintain her composure, PC Stewart replied: “The person who murdered… like, all the children.”

Thomas Hamilton: Photo by Shutterstock

She continued: “At the time I found it quite concerning because I lived a couple of streets away and I knew it was round the corner from Cornton Primary School [in Stirling] and about a mile and a half from Bridge of Allan Primary School.”

PC Stewart, 37, added: “That raised obviously serious concerns for myself at the time.”

‘Horrible call’ to police

PC Matthew Newell, who listened to and transcribed Lynn-Wilson’s call to the police, described him as “angry, erratic and abusive”.

He said: “It was a horrible call.”

The court heard the incident, in July 2021, was the second time in seven months Lynn-Wilson had phoned the police mentioning Hamilton’s name and making threats to go to Mr Kerr’s house.

In December 2020 he rang police and gave his name but added “some people called me Thomas Hamilton”.

Bilston Glen police call centre
Lynn-Wilson called the police call centre.

He then asked the call handler, Natalie Bowman, if she remembered the Dunblane shootings in 1996 and mentioned the name of the teacher murdered by Hamilton, Gwen Mayor.

Mrs Bowman, 28, who said she told Lynn-Wilson she was three at the time of the atrocity, said she Googled the names while Lynn-Wilson was on the phone so she knew who he was talking about.

She asked for immediate police attendance because of the names she had been told.

Officers went to Mr Kerr’s address and found Lynn-Wilson two minutes’ walk away in the next street, in an “agitated and quite aggressive” state.

Changed plea during trial

Lynn-Wilson, of Denny, conducted his own defence and cross-examined the prosecution witnesses personally during a day and a half of evidence.

He claimed in court he was the “sixth cousin, once removed” of one of Hamilton’s 16 child victims.

He denied two charges of threatening and abusive behaviour but changed his plea immediately after taking the oath and beginning to give evidence himself.

James Lynn-Wilson
James Lynn-Wilson.

He said: “I admit making the calls. I am guilty.”

The court heard he had a previous conviction for stalking Mr Kerr, who is a former Conservative MP as well as a current MSP, and in 2016 he was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh to 26 months in prison for doing so.

Sheriff Simon Collins QC deferred sentence until May 10, saying background reports were “plainly necessary”.

He continued Lynn-Wilson’s remand in custody.

In 2016 the High Court in Glasgow heard there was a history of animosity from Lynn-Wilson, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church in 2004 for “conduct unbecoming”, towards church elder Mr Kerr.