Chilling letter writer jailed

A pervert jailed again yesterday for having negatives of naked young boys, and also for breach of the peace, was arrested after he wrote a menacing letter saying he could understand what made Dunblane killer Thomas Hamilton snap.

David Porter, 41, of Wateryettes Drive, Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, a former Boys’ Brigade officer, was sentenced to 15 months at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday.

Sheriff Ronald Smith told him: ”This is the most bizarre behaviour I have ever come across.”

In 1995 Porter was jailed for three months for taking pictures of schoolboys in the nude and showing them pornographic magazines, but he was shown pastoral concern by his minister, the Rev Georgina Baxendale, after his release.

Porter had asked the minister to conduct his wedding ceremony after his engagement. When she snubbed him, he wrote her the letter saying he could understand what made Thomas Hamilton snap.

He said he woke up each morning knowing that he came close to ”doing something similar” and said he kept wondering who or what pushed Hamilton over the edge.

The minister was so concerned she called in police.

Depute fiscal Catherine White said Porter had served as an officer with the Boys’ Brigade from the early 1980s until leaving amid ”allegations of misbehaviour” in 1990. He formed his own boys’ club, taking youngsters on overnight and weekend camps.

It was during those outward bound expeditions that he photographed some 15 of the boys in the nude, she said.

After Mrs Baxendale contacted police, detectives went to his home to examine his typewriter. They discovered films and negatives of naked young boys.

Ms White said: ”The boys involved were informed by him that in order to get access to alcohol and pornographic videos they would have to have photos taken of them in the nude.

”The pictures were to be kept by Mr Porter on the understanding that if anyone told of his activities, they would be posted on a school notice board or passed around among other pupils.”

Defence counsel Graham Robertson said Porter had been shocked to find there were fresh charges levelled against him for almost identical offences. He claimed Porter had decided to hold photographs of the boys to threaten them about their behaviour. It was his intention to hand the pictures back to those involved when they reached 18.

He said that after Porter’s earlier conviction, he became socially isolated but was heartened when Mrs Baxendale had been prepared to show concern for him.

When she refused to conduct his wedding ceremony, he felt he had been let down and was ”deflated in the extreme”.

”She was pleased to learn he was to be married but not prepared to marry him,” he said.

He said references to Dunblane were made because Porter felt completely isolated.

Porter admitted conducting himself in a shamelessly indecent manner between October 1983 and December 1994 by photographing and retaining negatives of young men and boys and permitting them to view magazines and videos of a sexually explicit nature.

He also pled guilty to committing a breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner on March 1 and October 31 last year at The Manse, Main Street, Houston.

The court had earlier heard how he wrote two letters to his minister, the first in March last year.

In it, he claimed a sermon she had preached had sickened and upset him.

Condemning her, he said: ”You talked of forgiveness, but what you forgot to add was ‘as long as you are not David Porter’.

”If my own minister can’t forgive me for the trouble I’ve caused, what hope do I have of anyone else forgiving me? . . . you nearly succeeded in breaking me.

”If you are not prepared to officiate at my marriage, will you have the courtesy not to attend my death if it happens at your time at Houston? I would hate you to have to choke saying good things about me.”

In a second hate letter, referring back to the first, he recounted how the Dunblane shooting had happened shortly afterwards and said: ”Do you know what it is like to be the only person in the world who can feel sympathy for Tommy Hamilton? I feel that I can understand what he was feeling. You will never know how close you came to reading different headlines.”

Porter said that after his first conviction there were comparisons made between Hamilton and him and added: ”Maybe they were right. Maybe I am like him, I don’t know.

”What I do know is that I needed someone to talk to; someone that knew what I’d done. . . Oh how much I needed you then.

”I wake up each morning knowing that I was so close to doing something similar and feeling scared that one day I could.

”I keep thinking about him and you and wondering who pushed him over the edge.

”What I’ve done will never leave me, it’s in my thoughts every minute of the hour of every day. Only now, it shares my thoughts with Dunblane.

”. . .This letter is to let you know that as a minister, your actions can cause a lot more damage than you think. Maybe it was a minister that broke Tommy Hamilton. We’ll never know.

”I hope that if you ever face a similar situation again, you won’t let your personal feelings get confused with your duties as a minister.”