THE father of Peter Tobin victim Vicky Hamilton has suffered a stroke which doctors are blaming on the endless, chronic stress of the tragedy.
Michael Hamilton collapsed last week and spent two days in hospital. The health scare comes just months after he was hit by a heart attack.
The Hamilton family are locked in a bitter feud over who should get Vicky’s personal belongings.
A sheriff will now decide whether Hamilton, 60, or his estranged daughter, Sharon
Brown, should get items of jewellery, letters and photographs in Vicky’s possession when she was abducted and murdered by Tobin.
Recovering at his home near Redding, Falkirk, Hamilton, said: “I do worry that I will not live to see the end of this.
“Ever since Peter Tobin murdered my daughter I have been under massive stress and now I’m having to fight to get her belongings back.”
He added: “The doctors can’t find any cause for the stroke or the heart attack. They say it’s stress and to take it easy but how can I do that?”
Hamilton collapsed as he was about to get into the shower last Monday morning. “I was taking my glasses off and my left arm just collapsed, then my legs went.”
He was taken by ambulance to hospital in Stirling. Hamilton said: “They X-rayed my chest and head and the results came back with nothing.
“The doctors said they knew who I was and what Peter Tobin did to my daughter and that this was causing my problems. They said I was going to have to look after myself to try and take the stress away.
“They said this was a mild stroke but the next one could put me in a wheelchair or even worse.”
But Hamilton, who suffered a heart attack in April last year, is facing mounting stress.
Just before Christmas he visited the Crown Office in Edinburgh expecting to receive Vicky’s possessions. Tobin’s decision to abandon his appeal made the return possible.
He was told by a senior official that Sharon had put in a rival bid for the items, as allowed under Scots law.
Hamilton and his daughter fell out over Vicky’s burial arrangements and a feud has raged ever since.
The items they are disputing include the purse 15-year-old Vicky was carrying when she disappeared in Bathgate, West Lothian, in 1991.
The purse was recovered shortly afterwards in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh. Tobin ditched it in a bid to put detectives off the scent but modern DNA tests linked him to the purse and sealed his conviction.
There are two rings Vicky was wearing at the time she disappeared, and which were recovered from the property in Margate, Kent, where her body was eventually found two years ago.
One is a black onyx ring given to Vicky by her mother, Annette, who died never knowing what had happened to her daughter. A gold ring with a heart shape is also due to be returned. This was originally given to Annette, who passed it on to Vicky.
The items also include a bracelet, letters and photographs that are believed to have been inside Vicky’s purse.
Hamilton, from Redding, near Falkirk, said: “Apart from a lock of her hair, these are the only things I have left of Vicky and I want them back.
“They are probably not worth anything but they have a lot of sentimental value.
“I have been to see a lawyer and Sharon has legal rights but I don’t understand that – I am Vicky’s father and they should come to me.”
Hamilton said he had been told by the Crown Office that the case would have to be decided by a Sheriff. He is now waiting for a date for the hearing at Livingston Sheriff Court.
Hamilton, who has handed over the running of his transport business to his son, is also concerned about money.
He said: “I have filled in a form for Legal Aid but probably will not get it. So I will have to hire an expensive lawyer to have the best chance of getting Vicky’s things.”
He said the father of another of Tobin’s victims, Dinah McNicol, was supporting him.
“Ian is in the process of writing a letter to give to the judge supporting me and saying he thinks I should get what I want,” he said.
“Ian isn’t in good health and he worries that both of us might not see the end of it.
“When I buried my daughter, the first thing I did was buy the land right next to her. It’s a double headstone and there is a space for my name on the other side.”
Sharon Brown could not be contacted for comment.