Police extend area in Blackhill Butcher murder inquiry

Police at the scene where Martin Hamilton's remains were found. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Police at the scene where Martin Hamilton's remains were found. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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THE investigation into the murder of one of the country’s most notorious gangsters – whose skeletal remains were found in West Calder – has been extended to Blackburn as the probe gathers pace.

Martin Hamilton, aka The Blackhill Butcher, vanished on April 16. The last sighting of him was on Great Western Road, Glasgow.

But somehow his remains were found in woods near the B7015 in West Calder on Christmas Eve.

The investigation to find the killer of the sadistic criminal has now been widened to Blackburn, just over four miles from the scene of where the skeleton was found.

It is believed Hamilton, a feared drugs kingpin named after the Blackhill housing estate in Glasgow where he ran his crime empire, could have lain in the wood for up to eight months.

Detective Superintendent Kenny Graham said: “While examinations and searches are ongoing near West Calder where Martin Hamilton’s remains were found, we are now conducting further work in nearby Blackburn.

“As the investigation has progressed we have identified this area of Blackburn as of interest, and I am keen to speak to anyone living or working here who may have any information which could assist.

“As well as some search activity, officers will be carrying out extensive house-to-house inquiries and high-visibility patrols of the area.”

Police have not indicated why Blackburn has become an area of particular interest but it is thought that new information has been garnered since officers announced on Wednesday that Hamilton had been last seen in April.

DS Graham has previously declined to speculate on motive but confirmed that other inquiries into gangland incidents were a “consideration” in his own investigation.

Hamilton was a hated figure, with an infamous reputation as a gangland enforcer. He had tortured and raped teenagers.

The criminal had been on the police’s most wanted list before he was jailed in 2000 for a series of sickening offences, including drug dealing, torture, abduction and sodomy.

Police officers and scientific experts have been carrying out extensive examinations of the West Calder woods, where his corpse was found.

It took days for the remains to be identified because they had lain there so long. Hamilton had been hunted by police since September 2014, after he breached the terms of his release.

newsen@edinburghnews.com