Original article no longer available
Dundee Born and Reed Telegraph
Nov 18, 2008
The man accused of murdering Falkirk schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton and burying her in a back garden had experience digging holes, the High Court in Dundee was told today.
Former workmate Simon Nottle (53), a water and gas mains layer, said that between 1973 and 1977 he worked for the Brighton Water Department.
He identified Peter Tobin as one of those who worked with him at that time and told the court, “We all dug together.”
A City and Guilds instructor with the Construction Industry Training Board, Peter Roles (64) told the court he had been shown photographs of an excavation in a Margate back garden.
It was his opinion that the hole excavated conformed to the standards he would teach students, who were mainly referred to his college by utilities companies.
Looking at one of the photographs, he said the walls were straight, adding to the strength of the hole and making it easier to backfill.
He noted there was also a layer of concrete at one point in the series of photographs showing the excavation of the hole.
He said, “If anything underneath decomposes, it would sink and you would get a depression on the surface. You put the layer of concrete in to stop it from sinking.”
Solicitor General Frank Mulholland asked about what appeared to be a step cut in to the pit.
Mr Roles told the court they would advise doing this if the student had bad knees, hip or back, as it assisted in getting in and out of the trench.
Mr Mulholland then asked if he could estimate how long it would take a single person to dig out the pit he saw in the pictures, fill it, put in the layer of concrete and complete filling it.
Mr Roles replied, “To complete, I would say roughly a day-and-a-half.”
He estimated the amount of time required to spend working would be 12 hours and that would include half-a-day to allow the concrete to “go off” before the final layer was added.
Defence counsel Donald Findlay QC asked if he was aware that the hole in the pictures he saw had been excavated by trained archaeologists.
The witness said he was not aware of that, but nonetheless believed the central part of the excavation would be roughly the same as the original hole.
“A hole more or less goes back to when it originally was dug,” he said.
He explained that the soil of the original trench would not be so compacted while, “virgin ground would be tightly packed”.
A statement made by a GP who retired to St Andrews and has subsequently died, was read to the court by the police officer who interviewed him.
Dr George Graham said he was in practice between 1962 and 1993, and latterly in Bathgate.
Shown medical records, the doctor told police he had seen Peter Tobin on two occasions and notes revealed he was being prescribed an anti-depressant, sedative and painkiller.
He agreed the notes showed that on December 28, 1990, Tobin had asked for a medical certificate for three months, saying he was unfit to work due to weakness in his right wrist.
In that consultation the doctor had noted Tobin told him he was bankrupt a single father whose wife had overspent on his credit card.
Dr Peter McAllister (44) said he was a senior house officer in accident and emergency at a Livingston hospital when a Peter Tobin attended with abdominal pain on February 22, 1991. He was given a painkilling injection.
The doctor agreed that notes showed Tobin had told him he was taking an anti-depressant and sedative as part of the questions asked during diagnosis.
The trial continues.