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 Father of dead girl Vicky Hamilton leads police van carrying Peter Tobin into court

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PostSubject: Father of dead girl Vicky Hamilton leads police van carrying Peter Tobin into court   Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:32 pm

The father of a schoolgirl whose body was discovered after going missing 16 years ago led the prison van carrying her alleged murderer into court yesterday.

Amid emotional scenes Vicky Hamilton’s father, Michael, walked slowly ahead of the vehicle carrying Peter Tobin as it drove into the car park at Linlithgow Sheriff Court in West Lothian.

Mr Tobin, 61, made his first visit to court since the skeleton of Miss Hamilton was discovered in the garden of his former home in Margate, Kent, on Monday.

Miss Hamilton, from Redding near Falkirk, was 15 when she went missing from Bathgate, West Lothian, in February 1991.

Police had stopped other traffic while an officer accompanied Mr Hamilton as he led the van into the court car park at 10.30am.

A 50-strong angry crowd shouted abuse and threats as Tobin was led from the van handcuffed to a prison officer. The former odd-job man stared at Mr Hamilton his wife, Catherine, and daughter Linda, before he was escorted into a private appearance before a sheriff.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for the Crown Office said: “Peter Britton Tobin, aged 61, today appeared in private, on petition, at Linlithgow Sheriff Court. He has been charged with the murder of Vicky Hamilton.

“He made no plea or declaration, he was continued for further examination, and he remains in custody. The accused is expected to appear in court again next week.”

After the brief private appearance in court two before Sheriff Martin Edington, Mr Tobin was led back into the prison van from the back door of the court building at around 12.50pm.

Mr Hamilton, 57, his wife, his brothers, Eric and Peter, and his sister-in-law returned to watch his exit.

Vicky’s father, a coach operator, had to be restrained by police as Mr Tobin was led into the prison van after his appearance. He reacted angrily as his brother Peter lunged forward and shouted at the suspect.

As the vehicle left the court, Peter Hamilton hit the back of the vehicle with his hand. Eric Hamilton also hit the side of the van as it turned on to the main street, and shouted abuse at the suspect. Members of the public hurled abuse at Tobin as he left the court.

Eric Hamilton had said of Vicky’s father before the court appearance: “He is happy that the long road is nearly at an end now. All we are wanting to do is to have peace, and to get on with putting Vicky where she belongs.”

Vicky had been travelling from Livingston in West Lothian to her home and was changing buses when she disappeared. She was last seen sitting on a bench eating chips.

Her disappearance has been investigated by Lothian and Borders detectives, who launched a review of the case last year.

A house in Bathgate was later searched and Mr Tobin was arrested and charged in July in connection with the schoolgirl’s disappearance.

Vicky’s remains were discovered at a house in Margate, Kent, on Monday and were identified on Wednesday following forensic tests. Her personal items, thought to be jewellery and clothing, were also discovered.

Officers searching the garden had been hunting for Dinah McNicol, who was 18 when she failed to return to her home in Essex after a trip to Hampshire.

Detectives have said Miss McNicol’s body could still be at the Margate property and searches are continuing.

Miss McNicol, of Tillingham, Essex, vanished 16 years ago after attending a music festival in Liphook, Hampshire. Police said Miss McNicol was last seen alone in a car with an unknown man on the M25 in Surrey. They think she hitched a lift after leaving the festival.

Vicky’s mother, Janette, died in 1993 at the age of 41, without knowing what happened to her daughter.
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