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Funeral to be held for lawyer who helped steal the Stone of Destiny

Ian Hamilton was one of the four who took the famous stone from Westminster in 1950, whilst a Glasgow University law student.

12 October 2022

The funeral of a lawyer who helped steal the Stone of Destiny from Westminster as a student, will take place in Connel in Argyll and Bute, on Wednesday.

Ian Hamilton KC, 97, died on October 4, with Scotland’s First Minister leading the tributes.

Mr Hamilton was the last surviving member of the gang of four students who took the famous stone, on which kings and queens of Scotland were traditionally crowned, from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day in 1950.

 Stone of Destiny
The Coronation Chair containing the Stone of Destiny in Westminster Abbey after it was recovered (PA)

A service will be held at the Connel Village Hall from 11am, followed by a reception at the Falls Of Lora Hotel.

Born in Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1925, Mr Hamilton was studying law at Glasgow University when he took part in the raid.

Alongside fellow students Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson and Alan Stuart, he travelled to London to take the historic artefact which had been seized by King Edward I of England in 1296.

Three months later, the stone – also known as the Stone of Scone – was found 500 miles from London at Arbroath Abbey and returned to Westminster.

In 1996 it was returned to Scotland and installed at Edinburgh Castle where it is still on display, but it will be taken to London again for the King’s coronation next year.

Mr Hamilton would go on to serve as “one of the greats” in the Scottish criminal courts, former colleagues have said.

Following his death, Roddy Dunlop KC, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said Mr Hamilton was a “legend”, renowned for his “fearless advocacy and effortless bonhomie” during his legal career.

Mr Dunlop described Mr Hamilton as “one of the greats in the Scottish criminal courts”, adding: “His name will live long after his death, as the man who, whilst a student “liberated” the Stone of Destiny; as the man who, before even calling to the Bar, addressed the Inner House as the second practitioner in the seminal case of MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1953.”

Ms Sturgeon wrote on Twitter that the 97-year-old was a “lawyer of exceptional quality” and a “legend of the independence movement”.

She said: “He will long be remembered as one of the Christmas 1950 liberators of the Stone of Destiny.

“During my time as @theSNP leader I have received occasional words of wisdom, encouragement and support from him, which I will always treasure.

“He is one of the many giants whose shoulders the modern SNP stands.”

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