THE remains of a murdered gangster have yet to be returned to his family – six months after he was found dead.
It has emerged that Martin Hamilton’s family has had to delay his funeral due to the hold-up.
An official murder charge alleges he was shot in the head.
However, his death certificate describes the cause of demise as “unascertained pending laboratory studies”.
The certificate was signed off in January this year and the cause of death has not been updated since.
Hamilton’s remains were found in woods near the B7015 in West Calder on December 17 last year, and the bones were identified on Christmas Eve.
A senior police source said: “The defence in a murder case can ask for a delay in any burial to allow a second post-mortem to be carried out on the victim.
“But the delay in this case is almost unprecedented.”
In January, a 51-year-old man from Blackburn, West Lothian, was charged with murdering Hamilton and remanded in custody.
The Crown Office said the body had not been released but would not comment further.
Hamilton was nicknamed the “Blackhill Butcher” after the Glasgow housing estate from which he operated.
He was released on licence in September 2014 after serving 14 years in prison.
Previously on the police’s most-wanted list, he was jailed in 2000 over a series of offences including drug dealing, torture, abduction and sodomy.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Hamilton established that the 53-year-old suffered serious injuries which led to his death.
Hamilton had been hunted by police since September 2014 – after he breached the terms of his licence following his release from prison.
A £2000 reward was offered for information on the “dangerous” convict’s whereabouts.
It was believed the gangster had moved to England before his remains were found and it was reported Hamilton robbed a Liverpool drug dealer of £75,000 just weeks before he vanished.
Hamilton served a nine-year sentence for trying to rob the Dunfermline Building Society in Anniesland, Glasgow, in 1992.
Before he was successfully tried for the kidnap and torture of victims, he had walked free from 12 High Court indictments, including possession of firearms, a shooting, serious assault and robbery.
When he was jailed in 2000, the judge, Lord Kingarth, told Hamilton that he took “sadistic pleasure in the infliction of pain and the inspiration of real terror”, adding: “You pose a substantial danger to the public.”
He passed a life sentence with a minimum recommendation of nine years. The six-week trial was held in Inverness.