NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Bailey Gwynne case: Concerns raised nine years ago about killer

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Media captionBailey's killer attacked another child with rocks nine years ago

Concerns about the 16-year-old killer of Bailey Gwynne were voiced nine years ago when, as a primary pupil, he threw rocks at another child.

BBC Scotland has learned that that incident resulted in the victim being treated for concussion.

The injured child's parents contacted police and the school but became concerned about what they saw as a lack of effective action.

Bailey, 16, was stabbed to death by his fellow pupil at their Aberdeen school.

The accused, who cannot be named because of his age, was found guilty of culpable homicide following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen.

In the wake of Bailey's death at Cults Academy, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland have commissioned a review to see if lessons can be learned.

BBC Scotland understands that in 2007, at the age of seven, the killer attacked another child in a lane.

Fear of serious crime

The parents of the primary school victim contacted the authorities to express fears that the young attacker would go on to commit a far more serious crime.

They spoke to Councillor Marie Boulton and she pressed senior education officials for action.

The politician told the BBC: "I passed it to senior staff who carried out an investigation of sorts."

She explained that the police had been involved but inquiries "were quite lengthy".

In desperation, the parents - who have asked not to be identified - turned to their MP at the time, Dame Anne Begg, for help.

Image caption The attack on a primary school pupil by Bailey Gwynne's killer is said to have taken place on a road track
Image caption Dame Anne Begg: "This is not just about Aberdeen or this particular incident. I think there's a bigger issue"

Dame Anne said "I just felt there was nobody that had sufficient oversight of everything that was going on that could actually say 'hold on we're trying all these different things but actually there's still a problem here. There's still an issue here'.

"The couple who approached me were still not satisfied that their children were going to be safe going to school - that the attack that had happened once wasn't going to happen again.

"I think that this is a much bigger issue. This is not just about Aberdeen or this particular incident. I think there's a bigger issue about what you do in these circumstances where the normal mechanisms, the normal protocols that are being followed, simply aren't working."

'Could we have done something?'

Bailey's death left a family, school and community grieving - and asking questions.

And some are now asking, would Bailey still be alive if authorities had acted more decisively?

Councillor Boulton has welcomed the announcement of an investigation.

She said: "The matter needs to be further investigated just to ensure there's nothing that we could have done when that original assault took place that would have stopped what happened at Cults Academy.

"If nothing else, make sure we learn any lessons that have to be learned. It won't bring back Bailey sadly. But hopefully it'll prevent another Bailey in the future."

Bailey's killer will return to court at the beginning of April to be sentenced.

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