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Family of victim’s anger over thousands in benefits paid to notorious child killer Sam Glass

Sam Glass indecently assaulted and then killed five-year-old Jean Hamilton in 1967
Sam Glass indecently assaulted and then killed five-year-old Jean Hamilton in 1967

A woman whose five-year-old sister was abducted and strangled has questioned why her killer was paid tens of thousands of pounds in benefits while in the State Hospital.

Jo Hamilton-Smith said the sums paid to Sam Glass, who was held for almost 50 years at Carstairs, were scandalous and impossible to justify.

Glass was sent to the secure hospital after dragging five-year-old Jean Hamilton from the street near her home in Glasgow’s East End in 1967 before he indecently assaulted and killed her.

We told in March how Glass had died leaving £41,935 in his bank account after he accrued the sum in state benefits. He received benefits throughout his life as he was a patient and not a prisoner.

Jean Hamilton

Jean’s elder sister Jo, 62, of Giffnock, said: “It seems ridiculous and wrong that we should pay benefits to patients who are known to be extremely dangerous on top of the cost of keeping them in hospital.”

Jo’s mum was pregnant at the time of Jean’s death. The child, Mary-Jane, was born with severe health problems and died aged nine months.

Jo said: “I am in no doubt that what happened to Jean caused the death and therefore Glass effectively killed another child. He destroyed the whole family as mum never got over what happened and it had a profound effect on the rest of us. We feel badly let down by the system.”

© ANL / Shutterstock
Sam Glass amassed more than £40,000 in benefits while detained in Carstairs State Hospital

Glass was a known risk, having spent time in borstal and Gartloch psychiatric hospital before killing Jean. He had been discharged from a mental hospital only months earlier.

He killed Jean in a disused railway tunnel on the evening of July 2, 1967, and was picked up by police at midnight that night wandering Sauchiehall Street. Items of Jean’s clothing were found under the sink in his flat afterwards.

Glass was ordered to be detained at Carstairs, where it costs around £300,000 per year to hold a patient, and spent four decades there before being transferred to medium- security Rowanbank Clinic, at Glasgow’s Stobhill Hospital, in 2015. He died, aged 71, in his room in 2018.

At the time of his death, aged 71 from bronchopneumonia and heart disease, he had been detained longer than anyone else in Scotland.

Details of his estate obtained by The Sunday Post this year showed his savings which he left to Quarriers. The social care charity rejected the donation and the money was instead disbursed among relatives.

The Department for Work and Pensions said that “where a judge or court, using all available evidence, decides a prison sentence is not appropriate but instead refers a person to a hospital, the law requires us to treat them in the same way as any other hospital in-patient.”

The State Hospital said: “Depending on their individual legal eligibility, patients are able to claim Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. The State Hospital provides a facility for patients’ deposit and withdrawal of funds but does not provide any financial advice at any time.”