17 year old in critical condition after another ‘Mortal Kombat’ incident

By Martha Shardalow

Perhaps as proof that new club licensing laws are yet to solve the problem, last night a 16 year old boy was battling for his life in intensive care after taking what is understood to be the same lethal ecstasy tablet that killed 17 year old Regane Maccoll in Glasgow last month.

Partick Hill overlooking Glasgow. The city at the heart of recent ecstasy drug scares. Credit - Martha Shardalow

Partick Hill overlooking Glasgow: the city at the heart of recent ecstasy drug scares. Credit – Martha Shardalow

The 16 year old is said to be in a critical “but stable condition” in Monklands District General Hospital in Airdrie, after apparently consuming illegal drugs at a house party on Saturday night.

Tests have also been carried out on a 17-year-old boy also at the party in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, after both teenagers fell ill and were submitted to hospital.

Police Scotland have issued a statement confirming that they believe the drugs included ecstasy and “possibly” a Mortal Kombat tablet.

A spokeswoman for NHS Lanarkshire emphasised: “Anyone who has taken ecstasy – particularly the one described as Mortal Kombat, and who is feeling unwell, or who knows someone who has taken this type of drug in the past few hours, should attend or contact their local hospital for treatment and advice.”

This official stance has reminded people to avoid illegal drugs at all costs; a warning that users can never be certain of what precisely they are taking. This is especially directed at those taking ecstasy pills, which are often cut with multiple substances that are proving fatal.

The news comes after The Arches nightclub in Glasgow raised its minimum age admission to 21 last month. The venues decision came as a direct response to the “tragic events of 2nd February” when 17 year old Maccoll collapsed on the premises and later died in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Police later linked her death to the ecstasy-like ‘Mortal Kombat’ tablet – a distinctive red pill believed to be stamped with a dragon.

Today these warnings have been renewed with repeated vigour.

Pressure at The Arches - the venue which has now changed it license to over-21s only after 17 year old Regane's death on the premise.

Pressure at The Arches – the popular venue which changed its license to over-21s after 17 year old Regane’s tragic death.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Livingstone of Coatbridge police office, said: “We are continuing to work with our partner agencies, including health officials and medical staff, in connection with this investigation. At this time our priority is to ensure that everyone who was at the house party is safe and well, and officers are carrying out extensive enquiries to trace everyone involved.”

“Further to previous warnings, I would again strongly advise people to avoid illicit drugs as their exact content is unknown and can contain dangerous chemicals. Users must be aware of these dangers and understand the devastating effect they can have.”

Dr Neil Howie, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in emergency medicine, restated the weight of an immediate response to flag up symptoms. “Early warning signs include a feeling of agitation and distress and it is important that people are seen as early as possible.”

As another week arrives with ecstasy pill-related illness forming headlines, fresh debate on Scotland’s Drug Policy is taking place across multiple forums. A Thousand Flowers bloggers urge the government to adopt a new approach based on education, decriminalization and the introduction of drug testing kits in order to “help save lives and turn the tide on dodgy pills.”

As this incident surfaces, a teenager has been arrested in connection with alleged drug offences. He is expected to appear at Airdrie Sheriff Court today.

These are undeniably testing times for Scotland’s recreational drug users and the appropriate way forward for UK drug policy remains uncertain.

Woman Mugged for Handbag by two Women

File:Police in Glasgow.jpg

Photo: Postdif

By Jordan Hooks

A 63-year-old woman walking on Jubilee Road around 7 pm Sunday night was grabbed by the arm and was mugged by two women.

Aged between 25 to 30 and both wearing dark quilted jackets with fur, dark trousers and dark trainers, the two women struggled with the victim until she fell to the ground.

Officers are conducting door-to-door inquiries and are working to see if any CCTV footage is available.

Detective Constable Richard Thompson of Police Scotland said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have been in the area or who may have seen the suspects. As a result of the attack the woman sustained an injury to her hand and has been left badly shaken by the incident.”

Anyone with any information regarding the mugging should contact Police Scotland on 101.

Police Looking for two Men Over Cash Machine Robbery

By Jordan Hooks

A 36-year-old man was withdrawing a two-figure sum of cash from an ATM outside CC Express store in Broomhall Drive when he was approached and threatened by a man who robbed him.

The man demanded the victim hand over the money and when he did, he then was forced to return to the cash machine to withdraw additional money for a second man.

The second robber had been watching the events from the first suspect play out before he chose to attack.

One of the men was white, around 30-years-old, 5 ft. 10 in. tall, of slim build with a thin face.

The second man was wearing dark clothing and a chunky black wool hat.

Det Sgt Alan O’Brien said: “The victim was not assaulted or harmed during this incident but was left understandably shaken following the theft of his money.”

For more information, visit the Scotland Police or call Scotland Police 101.

Man Hunt After Gun Drama At Airport

Benjamin Bland

Police have launched a man hunt after gunshots were fired at a house near Edinburgh airport.

Initial reports were received at 9:30pm on Monday. An investigation started immediately resulting in the closure of the A8.

The road was closed for 12 hours in both directions between Newbridge Roundabout and Edinburgh Airport to allow forensic officers to carry out a detailed search of the area.

Police have said that no one was injured but have appealed to the public for any information.  There is increased anxiety after it was confirmed that the police were not treating the incident as a random act. There has been some speculation that the shots were an attempted gangland hit on a local convicted fraudster.

Police Scotland Superintendent Matt Richards said: “This incident took place close to one of the main routes to and from Edinburgh. It is always busy with passing traffic. I would appeal to any member of the public, either locally, or who may have been passing through Ratho Station at or around 9.30pm last night and who saw anything to contact us urgently.

It is imperative that we trace the individual involved in this incident, which thankfully did not result in any injuries. The consequences of a weapon being discharged in the manner which happened last night may have been extremely serious.

“Anyone with any information can contact the 101 Police number or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.”

Edinburgh Evening News

Traffic chaos near the airport.            Credit: Edinburgh Evening News

Air passengers faced disruption due to the road closure as they struggled with heavy traffic and diversions as they attempted to catch their flights.

Many took to twitter to express their frustration with one disgruntled traveller commenting:

“Due to incident on A8 arrived at 6:02am, bag check in closes 6am. No leeway. V upset.”

The quick response by police was reflective of heightened security in Scotland after the attempted terrorist attacks in Glasgow Airport in 2007.

Superintendent Richards said : “Uniformed officers are in the area to provide extra patrols to support the local community.”

Lostprophets’ Singer Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse

Ian Watkins, Credit; Metro News

Ian Watkins, Credit; Metro News

 

By Melissa Fernie

The lead singer of Welsh rock band, Lostprophets, has pleaded guilty to two accounts of child sexual assault and possession of hardcore child porn in Cardiff Crown Court yesterday.

Having previously claimed he was the victim of a malicious campaign, 36-year-old Ian Watkins from Pontypridd pleaded guilty to attempted rape and sexual assault of two small children, including an 11-month-old baby and being in possession of depraved online porn. Watkins also admitted to three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making and possessing indecent images of children and one extreme pornographic image involving an animal. Prosecutor barrister, Chris Clee, said: “Watkins accepts he was a determined and committed paedophile.”

The court heard that Watkins filmed and kept the abuse which was recovered by police after a raid on his home. The majority of the evidence uncovered was too extreme and distressing to report.

His distraught family described how his online porn obsession turned a ‘happy normal lad from the Valleys’ into a paedophile who will be remembered like Jimmy Saville. However, former fans believe Watkin’s abuse to be far worse than Saville’s.

The mothers of two of the abused children were also arrested for helping to solicit the assaults and for sexually abusing their own children. Barrister Clee said: “Both women sexually abused their own children and made them available to Watkins for him to abuse.” Watkins also planned to give the babies drugs, the hearing was told. Clee stated that drugs were clearly a big part in these offences and police found meth, cocaine and GHB during their searches.

Watkins’ depraved behaviour dates back to 2006 when he met with a 16-year-old girl who was dressed in her school uniform in a New York hotel and filmed their encounter. Police have described how Watkins used his fame to abuse young children and speaking outside the court, Deputy Chief Inspector, Peter Doyle from South Wales Police, said: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children.” He added that Watkins’ guilty plea did not mean the end of the investigation and the police force would work tirelessly to identify other victims.

However, female fans argue they had been warning the police that Watkins was obsessed with child porn, but the police took no action. From 2010, fans who had become friends with the singer went online to plead for help after discovering vile images on is computer and claimed they called the police to tell them he was a paedophile, but officers did nothing and allowed him to go on with the abuse. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case.

Lostprophets were an alternative rock band that formed in 1997 and achieved heightened success selling 3.5 million albums around the world. Former music journalist, Gavin Allen, said: “They achieved real success, but their career will now be so tainted that it is hard to see any radio stations playing their music again. Their legacy has just vanished.”

 

Council threatens to sue protest group over court costs.

Rising legal costs have driven Edinburgh City Council to announce that they plan to take Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) to court to recover costs incurred so far as a result of their attempts to block the building of a new secondary school on Portobello Park.

The group said this week that they plan to appeal the Court of Session decision saying that council do not need permission to go ahead with the plans.

Diana Cairns of PPAG responded today saying she was not aware that the Council had decided to sue, and said the group would need to take legal advice before responding to this news.

She agreed that this could possibly be a scaring tactic from the Council to try to discourage the group from pressing forward with their appeal.

 

Lennon’s nail bombers convicted

Trevor Muirhead, 44, and Neil McKenzie, 42, have been convicted of plotting a nail bomb attack against Celtic manager Neil Lennon after a five week trial at Glasgow High Court.

The men were found guilty of conspiring to send the package. The pieces of mail they sent last year were designed to injure but actually the devices could not explode. McKenzie got “bomb making” tips from US television show The A-Team.

A bank of evidence was mounted against the two, including recordings from a police bug in McKenzie’s car which taped him boasting about “building a bomb”.

There is also CCTV footage of the unemployed builder buying parts including nails for the packages from local shops.

They had previously faced an allegation of conspiracy to murder before it was dropped.

Car emblems stolen from Audis and BMWs

Audi A6

Five cars in total have been vandalized while they were parked on Bellevue Road and in the McDonald’s car park located on the same street. Both are in the Broughton Area.

Hood ornaments are popular prey for vandals all over the world. Edinburgh BMWs and Audis have recently been stripped of their firmly placed logos. Mercedes emblems are loose by comparison and are also popular among thieves.

A police spokesman said:

“We are appealing to anyone who witnessed any of these vandalisms to contact police, and we would also urge anyone else with information that can help us trace whoever is responsible for these vandalisms to get in touch.”

Anyone with information regarding this crime should contact Lothian Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Update: Family says death of Edinburgh victim a “devastating loss”

The family of John Carter who was beaten and left to die in a lift in Edinburgh’s Salamander Court in February last year have said “nothing can lessen the heartache we have gone through”.

Their statement comes a few hours after Simon Brown and Paul Banks were found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced in Glasgow High Court to eight years imprisonment each, over the death of Mr Carter.

The family described the deceased as “a vibrant, fiercely intelligent, loving man who brought countless joy to the lives of his family and friends.”

They added “his laughter, his kindness, his ability to accept individuals for who they were and his inherent sense of fairness, were just a tiny part of who he was. If John could help, he would.”

Brown, 41, and Banks, 48, left Mr Carter to die on the 26th or 27th of February last year. They dumped his semi-naked in a lift after putting handcuffs on their victim and punching and kicking him repeatedly. They put a plastic bag over his head. Bruises to the scalp, chest and wrists were found in the post mortem examination.

The victim’s wallet was found on Paul Brown when he was searched by police.

Judge Michael O’Grady said they would have received ten years each if they hadn’t admitted the charge.

“You behaved with extreme cruelty and utter indifference. No sentence I can impose can ease the ordeal of Mr Carter’s family,” said the judge.

The pair admitted culpable homicide after the charge was reduced from murder.

Man charged for murder in Saughton Park

A 47-year-old man has been charged with the murder of the man who was found dying of his injuries in Saughton Park on Saturday.

He is appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

The police  named the victim as taxi driver Ebrahim Aryaei Nekoo, 41, who was discovered in the east part of the park at about 7.20 am on March 24.

The family and friends of Mr.Nekoo issued a statement through Lothian and Borders Police:

“Ebrahim was a warm and devoted husband who I adored and who was well liked within our close group of friends. Everyone who knew and cared for him is completely shocked and devastated by his death and we are all still trying to come to terms with this tragedy”, Nekoo’s wife Mobina Jafari said.

“His friends and family would like to thank the wider community for their messages of support during what has been a very difficult time for us all.”

“We would all now ask that our privacy is respected while we grieve for the loss of Ebrahim.”

A person walking in the area found his body and tried to help him, but he died from injuries shortly afterwards.

 Lothian and Borders Police have launched a murder inquiry into Mr Nekoo’s death.

 During the weekend, Saughton Park was cordoned off by  police. Officers were manning the area where the victim was found near the junction of Fords Road.

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Local residents were shocked by the news and have raised their concerns on the security in the area.

Saughton is one of the most popular parks in this part of Edinburgh. It consists of a sports club, a few football pitches, a Winter Rose Garden, a play ground and a free skate park for the children. The Water of Leith walkaway is passing by closely.

Pistol pensioner spared jail

The Edinburgh High Court: Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun

A 64 -year- old grandmother has been spared jail from the High Court of Edinburgh today after standing trial for illegal possession of a revolver.

Kathleen Woodward was arrested after admitting that she kept a Harrington and Richardson pistol in her house without a license.

The gun, which had owned by the by her late husband, was stolen from her Moray house by Guy Whitlaw last March. Whitlaw was sentenced to a five year jail term last year.

The law states that illegal firearm possession should automatically lead to a five year jail sentence. However, Judge Lady Stacey said there were extenuating circumstances, including Mrs Woodward’s work in her local community and for charity.

Mrs Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun but allowed to walk free.

Police still searching for Suzanne Pilley’s body

by Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

The family of murdered Scot, Suzanne Pilly, have pleaded to David Gilroy to reveal where their daughter’s body is buried. 

Gilroy was found guilty yesterday of murdering Suzanne Pilley.

Searching: Police believe Suzanne Pilley's body has been buried at Lochgilphead, Argyll. Image: Christopher Harress

The Lothian and Border’s Police believe that Suzanne Pilley’s body has been buried in a “lonely grave” in Lochgilphead, Argyll in the Scottish highlands.

CCTV footage shows Gilroy’s car, a Vauxhall Vectra travelling from Edinburgh to the Argyll Forest Park the day after disappeared.

Extensive search

Det Supt Gary Flannigan has said: “Despite extensive efforts we haven’t been able to find her. This is something we have discussed with the family and have given reassurance that if any information comes to light then we will look at the information and if it is appropriate we will pursue that information.”

Pilley’s parents have said they “hope that one day we can lay our daughter to rest”.

                                                                “Callous and cold-blooded”

Simon Peck, director of IML and David Gilroy’s employer said: “Suzanne was a much-loved friend and colleague. To have her snatched away from her friends and her family in such a callous and cold-blooded way is something we’re all still dealing with.” He also said: “Until David Gilroy reveals where Suzanne’s body lies, her family and friends will never be able to fully come to terms with her loss.”

The trial lasted three and a half weeks and it took the jury two days to reach a verdict. The investigation into Pilley’s murder was the sixth most expensive in the history of the Lothian and Border’s force, as they made use of forensic experts and cadaver dogs.
Listen to the voicemail David Gilroy left on Suzanne Pilley’s phone after she disappeared.

Listen Here:

Edinburgh couple robbed in ‘terrifying’ ordeal

An Edinburgh couple have been held at knife-point and robbed in their own home.

A group of armed men entered the house on Barnton Avenue West at around nine thirty on Friday evening. Police have disclosed that a four figure sum of money and jewellery were taken from the house.

It is believed that two of the three men spoke with foreign accents while the third was Scottish.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

A woman shot in Peckham after shopping trip

A woman is currently recovering in hospital after being shot in Peckham.

The 30-year-old was shot by a stray bullet during a dispute between two men.

The incident happened at around 17:15 on Sunday, 11 March, on Bournemouth Road close to Rye Lane, while the woman was returning home from a shopping trip.

An investigation is currently underway involving Detectives from Operation Trident.

Paul McBride, QC (1963 – 2012)

One of Scotland’s top criminal lawyers, Paul McBride has represented clients in some of the country’s most high-profile cases.

Son of George and Mary McBride, he was educated in Glasgow. At just 19, McBride graduated from Strathclyde university with a degree in Law. He was called to the Bar in Scotland in 1988 and in 2000 he became the youngest QC in the UK at the age of 35.

Known for his uncompromising style in court, McBride learned early on that the legal world would be challenging, “You have to have faith in your own ability to up your game and when you fall off the only thing to do is get back on again.”

Involved in politics throughout his career, McBride made a high-profile defection from the Scottish Labour party to the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party in 2009. He later left the Conservatives accusing them of being, “divided and dysfunctional” and “a bunch of unreconstructed morons” .

Among the successful cases of his career were the acquittals of Gail Sheridan on perjury charges in 2010 and of Human Rights lawyer Aamer Anwar on charges of contempt of court in 2008. McBride also represented Celtic FC and was targetted along with Neil Lennon when they were sent parcel bombs in April 2011. The trial of the men accused of sending the packages, Neil McKenzie and Trevor Muirhead, is currently ongoing, with McBride due to appear to give evidence.

Lawyer Derek Ogg QC, payed tribute to his colleague and friend on BBC Scotland programme, Good Morning Scotland, “He was so much his own man, and so much a person who would speak his own mind. As all the journalists I’ve talked to know, Paul would go off the script and give a straight and honest answer whether or not that was what he was meant to or not.”

McBride had been a Celtic fan all his life. Former Celtic chairman, Lord Reid payed tribute to him, “He was a great colleague and friend and will be sadly missed well beyond his own family. My thoughts are with them.”

McBride is survived by his partner, Gary Murphy and his parents.

Top Scottish lawyer found dead in hotel room

One of Scotland’s leading lawyers was found dead in a hotel room in Pakistan at the weekend. Initial reports suggest Paul McBride QC had died in his sleep.

It has been said that Mr McBride felt unwell in the lead up to his death and his body was discovered by friend and colleague, human rights lawyer, Amaer Anwar.

Mr McBride’s Twitter was updated to read today:

Paul McBride – Tonight I will be gone from your twitter screens forever in your hearts and memories #RIPPaulMcBrideQC it’s been a pleasure!

Other tributes have been flowing in on Twitter from people who knew him in some capacity and others who didn’t.

Gerard McDonald – Had the pleasure of meeting #paulmcbride twice in my capacity as a taxi driver. He was a sound guy and a great Celtic fan. #celticfamily

Scottish Fashion Publicist Tessa Hartmann – Devastated to hear about the tragic death of #PaulMcBride QC – deepest sympathies to Gary and his family. A huge loss for Scotland.

Writer and Actor, Stuart Hepburn – Shocked at the death of #PaulMcBride. He gave me a great deal of support on script research in the past. A great loss.

Graeme Tait – Sad news about Paul McBride. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family! #paulmcbride

Celtic Football Club, Chief Executive Peter Lawwell issued a statement on their website with their condolences to his family.

“This is tragic news. Paul was a very good friend of Celtic and someone who cared passionately about the club. His passing is clearly a great loss and he will be sadly missed.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Paul´s family at this very difficult time.”

Mr McBride was one of three people who had been sent petrol bombs to their home between 1 March and 15 April last year. Celtic manager Neil Lennon and former MSP Trish Godman were also sent packages. Trevor Muirhead, 43 and Neil McKenzie, 42 who are accused of conspiring to murder McBride, deny the charges against them.  The court heard last week that a postman had become suspicious about a parcel being delivered to the lawyer when he noticed that it smelt strongly of petrol. When investigated by police officers, the parcel was found to be a device which contained nails, a bottle filled with liquid and wires leading to a timer. It is alleged that the devices were capable of exploding.

The trail continues.

Read more about Paul McBride: http://edinburghnapiernews.com/2012/03/05/paul-mcbride-qc-1963-2012/

Scotland rugby star Max Evans breaks down recalling brother’s injury

http://edinburghnapiernews.com/?attachment_id=25299rel=attachmentwp-att-25299>ktmaxevans

2nd March

The Scotland rugby international broke down in Edinburgh Sheriff Court today after recalling the 2009 Six Nations tournament in which he and his brother Tom played.

Defence counsel Kevin McCallum asked about his brother’s injury. “Tom broke his neck in a rugby game, an international game for Scotland”, replied Evans.

“Am I right in thinking this was a life-threatening injury?” Mr. Evans was asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Am I right in saying it is no longer possible for him to play rugby?” asked Mr McCallum.

“Yes,” replied Mr Evans.

“I was shocked,” Max Evans told the court today, regarding the alleged assault at Lulu on Edinburgh’s George Street.

“I realised I wasn’t in a very good position … on the night I was very upset. Even now I am upset.” He added: “I didn’t mean to cause Mr McCaig any harm.”

Scotland rugby player Evans denies attacking Mr McCaig, 29, and claims he was acting in self defence.

He also claimed that he put his hand out to push Mr McCaig away but did not realise he had a glass in his hand.

1st March

The court heard yesterday that before he allegedly hit a man in the face with a glass, Max Evans was “pushed into” and “probed” in Lulu’s nightclub.

Sarah Jane Bell told the court yesterday that on the night of August 1st 2010 she and Evans made their way to the VIP bar where they ordered drinks and were kissing and “chit-chatting”.

The 28-year-old nanny said that Mr McCaig and a female came up to the bar next to Ms Bell and were “pushing into” and nudging her, she told the court.

“Max and I swapped places at the bar. Ally (Mr McCaig) seemed to be acting aggressively. He seemed to be trying to irritate Max. He was probing him and pushing into us.”

Ms Bell said she led Evans away on to the dance floor and did not see what happened next until she noticed two bouncers taking Evans away. She said she saw Mr McCaig with blood on his face.

The court heard that Evans told police: “I didn’t intentionally use the glass.”

Mr McCaig sustained a laceration to his eyebrow, which a doctor described as being “entirely superficial”, the court was told. He was treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

28th February

Earlier this week, Mr McCaig told the jury he had been drinking at the bar with his sister and a friend when a man appeared on his right hand side and struck him in the face with a glass.

29-year-old McCaig, who works in property development, was called as the first witness when the trial started on Tuesday 28th of February.

He told the court he was drinking champagne with his sister and an old school friend at the bar of the club’s VIP area when he was struck in the face.

He said: “We were basically catching up with each other, as you do, then the next thing someone comes from my right-hand side and strikes me on the face and hastily exits the membership area.”

“I was slightly flabbergasted at what happened and put my hand up to my right eye and it was bleeding.” He then pointed at Evans as the person who allegedly hit him.

Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia asked the witness if he knew who the man was at the time of the incident.

“No”, he replied, and said he found out afterwards from police.

Mr McCaig said later that he had been told by friends that he met Evans “four or five years ago” at a party during a rugby sevens tournament. He said: “I remember the evening but don’t recall meeting Max Evans.”

A photograph was then shown of both men standing apart from each other at the rugby event.

“I would suggest to you that your suggestion you didn’t know Max Evans prior to the evening of August 1 2010 is just nonsense, isn’t it?” Mr McCallum said to the witness, who replied “no”.

The defence lawyer suggested to him that he said to Evans in the VIP room of Lulu: “What are you doing in Edinburgh? F*** off back to Glasgow.”

Mr McCaig replied: “No, because I didn’t know who he was until after the incident.”

 

The trial continues.

Mother and son plead guilty to ‘paedophile’ killing

A mother and her son have pleaded guilty to culpable homicide following the death of a 57-year-old man from head injuries. He died nine months later in a nursing home.

Paul Noble, who was 15 at the time, and his mother Williamina Stewart, 37, attacked Gordon Morrice at playing fields in Aberdeen’s Golf Road in June 2010.  The previous day, Morrice had asked if he could play on a child’s trampoline at the park. After this, rumours began to spread around the Seaton area of Aberdeen suggesting that Morrice was a paedophile.

Two others admitted reduced charges of assault – Stewart’s partner Paul Yates, 38, and her brother Hector Stewart, 30.

Police found no evidence that Morrice had any paedophile tendencies.

Sentences were deferred until towards the end of March.

Opinion: Mob justice is no justice

Mob justice is no justice

The killing of Gordon Morrice is an extreme example of a wider attitude in society: paedophiles are fair game for mob justice. Not all paedophiles will experience violence leading to brain damage and death – as Morrice suffered – but without doubt they are treated as the modern-day lepers of society. Like the lepers of old, they are typically banished from the community, ostracised, and treated with fearful suspicion. And as with the lepers, many people would prefer that they wore bells announcing their arrival, and shouted ahead of themselves, “Unclean, unclean!”

In one sense this is understandable. Paedophile crimes are particularly repugnant, not just because we recoil from the thought, but because of their seriousness. Not only are paedophile acts an abuse of power, but they are also a violation of the body, our most intimate space; and, still worse, they are perpetrated against children, who are least able to defend themselves, and who may not have developed the resources to cope with such an ordeal. Let’s be clear: paedophile crimes do not deserve excuses.

But that said, we also need to examine another ugly fact: there are people in our society who think that suspected paedophiles deserve mob justice. Somehow the figure of the ‘peedo’ has become the acceptable whipping boy of the masses. 

This is short-sighted, for two reasons. For one, it means that people with paedophile tendencies are driven underground, into secrecy and shame – making their condition hard to address, and encouraging a secretive life. While it has become almost fashionable to admit to struggling with a sex-addiction, no equivalent social space exists for working through such deviant feelings. Paedophiles who act on their desires and commit crimes may be only the tip of an iceberg; conservative estimates suggest that around three percent of the population have paedophile desires. Where do the submerged majority go for help?

Secondly, mob-justice says more about the mob than it does about justice. In previous eras we drowned witches, expelled Jews, imprisoned homosexuals. Our generation’s particular nervousness towards the paedophile may be more a product of a media-saturated culture than any real increased risk of abuse. In ancient Greece, the education of upper-class boys was based upon allowing a homoerotic relationship to flourish between the boy and his teacher; the love and loyalty produced was what inspired the boy to learn. So it was, that the transmission of culture depended upon this ‘pederastic’ relationship – which from our point of view, looks very much like paedophilia. In the perspective of history, it emerges that we are as culturally-conditioned as they were. 

No one is arguing for a return to those days, except perhaps for some Danish extremists. And which parent would not feel a little jumpy knowing that a suspected paedophile lived next door? Nevertheless, today’s mob attitudes towards paedophiles need to be seen as part of the problem, and certainly not as a solution to it. Justice must hang on the evidence heard in court, not on the hunches of a paranoid neighbourhood. 

This is particularly important in the case of Gordon Morrice – he was simply a man with four children of his own, who asked to join in with a child’s game: police found no evidence of paedophilia. 

Court hears phone abuse evidence in murder case

A millionaire made infuriated threats in an enraged phone call to his brother, Toby, hours before Toby was killed, the high court heard.

Later that day, Toby Siddique, 38, was murdered in his flat on Forres Drive in Glenrothes on October 25 2010. His brother, Mo Siddiq, 34, was charged with murder and conspiracy to murder last year. The accused, Mo Siddique, was arrested under suspicion of hiring assassins. Two Bulgarian men, Tencho Andonov, 28, and Nikolov, 27, were accused of carrying out the murder.

The third brother Aleem Siddique, 40, gave evidence this week. Yesterday he told the high court that his brother had made a phone call to him after a dispute about a BMW. Mo said, “I’ll hit him.”

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, then read out his statement from October 2010 recounting the same phone call. “He’s not my brother blah, blah, blah, I’ll kill him.”

Much discussion followed on the similarity of the words “hit” and “kill” in Punjabi. At one point the judge stepped in, telling Siddique that he was right to object to the prosecution’s ‘confusing’ questions.

He said, “It’s a bit of a coincidence that the police have noted down the translation of the similar word in Punjabi that is the word for kill?”

Mr Scullion said, “I’m asking you about how the words came to be on that page. Is it your evidence on oath that the police who noted this statement simply made up these words?”

Aleem said, “I’m not saying the police officer lied but I did not say those words. Whatever happened on the 26th, the mistake is the police officer’s, the mistake is not mine.”

Derek Ogg QC, defence for, then asked “Do you feel in a difficult position coming to court with one brother murdered and one accused?”

In tears, Mr Siddique replied, “I just want justice, that’s all that matters”.

He agreed with Mr Ogg that “you would not tell lies for Mo but wont tell lies against him either”.

The examination went on to reveal that it seemed the accused had been sleeping on the night of the murder, when the witness woke him up. He said he had to repeat the news a couple of times to Mo who “didn’t register”.

The court heard that Mo was “in shock” and crying when both brothers visited their widowed sister-in-law’s house immediately to pay their respects.

Ogg then focussed on inheritance motives. “Did Toby’s wife say things to you about her suspicions that each brother had a will that would inherit the other brother if they died? She told me Mo would get everything.

“You asked Mo if he stood to gain. At Toby’s house you had been constantly told gossip by… I need you to say the words.”

Aleem Siddique said, “His wife and mother.”

The trial continues.

Second sexual attack takes place in the Meadows

A second sexual assault has taken place on the Meadows,
only a week after a similar attack was reported.

The second attack took place on Tuesday November 22nd between 6:50 and 7pm, alongside the Meadows tennis courts. The 21 year-old victim was running alongside the courts when she was forced to the ground by a male assailant, who then sexually assaulted her.

However, she was able to fight him off, and the suspect was seen to disappear towards Buccleuch Street. He was described in a Lothian and Borders police statement as being 5ft 10ins tall, around 30 and dark-skinned, possibly Indian in appearance. He was wearing a grey hooded top and appeared to be clean-shaven.

This second attack comes almost exactly a week after a 19 year-old woman was attacked by two men near Melville Drive. Police are not treating the assaults as being linked, but have considered  it as a possibility.

A police press officer  said that no new information had been released, and  “inquiries are still ongoing” for both incidents.

A statement from Lothian and Borders police said  there”will be a continued police presence in the Meadows to provide reassurance to the public.”

A candlelit vigil has been organised by Reclaim The Night Edinburgh, and will begin in Bristo Square at 7pm. Following this, there will be a 2.2 mile march around the streets of Edinburgh. The march is due to pass through Grassmarket, Cowgate and then back up the Royal Mile, before returning to Bristo Square.

Representatives from several charities will make speeches following the march, though the identities of these speakers has not yet been confirmed.

Suzi Compton, who has been responsible for organising the event, explained that the march had been planned prior to the Meadow’s assaults and that they were not the direct reason behind tonight’s event. However, she added that these attacks  had “given [the event] greater relevance.”

Cricket in a right old ‘fix’

Salman Butt. Photo: courtesy AFP

Disgraced former Pakistan Captain Salman Butt and promising 19-year-old sensation, Mohammad Amir, lost their appeals yesterday when the Lord Chief Justice dismissed their claims of disproportionate sentencing in the Lord’s spot fixing case.

On November 3, Pakistan’s Butt, Amir and Mohammad Asif were convicted of spot fixing and sentenced to prison. Butt was given a 30 month sentence and Amir was charged to spend six months at a youth correctional facility. The bookie, Mazhar Majeed, was handed a sentence of 2 years and 8 months.

Asif, who is facing a one-year sentence, is also scheduled to appear. Balham Chambers, a London-based lawyer will be representing him. Unlike his fellow disgraced teammates though, Asif is appealing against the conviction itself.

The Incident

During the course of the fourth and final test match between England and Pakistan, at Lord’s from 26-29 August, it was proved that Butt influenced Asif and Amir to bowl no-balls to signal to Majeed that ‘everything was going according to plan’

Had he not been caught, Butt’s pocket would have been ₤150,000 heavier.

Deadly Impact

Any illegal activity in sport is disastrous, let alone players accepting money to underperform. They represent their country when on the field.  Is ₤150,000 enough justification to betray one’s motherland?

At a time when the International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking to widen the reach of cricket around the globe, the poison of match fixing is the last thing they want. As seen by the misdemeanor of the Pakistani trio, something as small as a no-ball has caused widespread havoc: young talents ruined; old cases dug up; fingers pointed; administrations in uproar. Would someone new want to pursue a sport in such malady?

And what of the loyalists?

The thrill of watching a ‘good game’ is now diluted with persecuting doubts. ‘Wait, this is too spectacular. Could it have been fixed? they wonder.  ‘Can I ever watch a game without being paranoid?’

But it is the players who are true to the game who bear the worst impact of match fixing.

They adhere to rigorous training, tackle overwhelming pressure and display inspiring human toughness to bring glory to their country. But instead of the recognition they deserve, their efforts are rubbished in one simple phrase: ‘Oh, it’s obviously been fixed!’

Change in attitude

Cricket is already suffering from a lack of fan involvement. People are starting to prefer the comfort of their homes to the excitement of the stadiums. Add in the needless Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) controversy and the ICC has more than enough on its plate already without having the bane of match fixing threatening to destroy the credibility of the sport.

Punishments and procedures can only go so far in curbing cricket’s worst illness, as seen from previous cases (Salim Malik’s life ban being removed, Marlon Samuels’ light sentence). The incentive is on the players themselves to resist temptation and it isn’t that hard. All one needs to do is remember the pride of wearing the national crest to spit in its face.

Wanting a little extra on the side doesn’t give anyone the right to cheat.

Edinburgh High Court: Scot’s Corroboration Laws Contested

by Kate Thomson

Changes in Scots Law were proposed this morning by Lord Carloway in a review of the country’s criminal justice system.

He said the proposals “re-cast” the legal system for the 21st century.

Scot’s law has long been criticised for being dogmatic in treatment of suspects’ rights. As it stands, suspects do not have the right to a lawyer immediately when they are arrested and police can question them without a lawyer present.

The Calloway Proposals would change this. For defence lawyers, this is a long awaited prospect.

A defence solicitor at the High Court said: “People in custody are in an uncomfortable and frightening situation and should be give access to legal advice.”

Yet some proposals were more controversial. Lord Carloway advised dropping the current law which requires two corroboratory pieces of evidence as proof in a trial. This would potentially make cases easier to prove.

A defence advocate at Edinburgh High court, who wished to remain unnamed, said: “It is an outrage that this is being introduced at a time when advances in forensic science should make it easier for corroboration to be provided.” He also warned that the proposals would allow people with grudges and vendettas to bring charges against people. “It would allow people to be convicted on one piece of evidence which is a charter for accusations to be made through the courts through malice and ill will,” he said.

There is also a worry that control is being taken away from the Scottish government’s long-standing legal independence. “I think it’s an attack on one of the foundations of Scots criminal law,” said the advocate.

He added that discussion was too fixated on the proposals themselves and ignored the importance of the defendant’s human rights.

The fiscals office for prosecution also commented on the proposals. “It will be deeply interesting for developments in the future.  It’s difficult to say until we’ve had a good look at it,” said a spokesperson.

The review also advocates speeding up the trial process, requiring suspects to be brought before the courts within 36 hours. At the moment, suspects arrested on Friday evening can be held over the weekend for more than 48 hours.

Woman sexually assaulted in Meadows

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

Police are still making inquiries after a woman was sexually assaulted
in the Meadows on Tuesday morning.

The attack took place at roughly 3:30am, somewhere between Melville Drive and Warrender Park Crescent. The woman, aged 19, was attacked by two men, believed to be in their early 20s.

After attacking the victim, the men are believed to have run away towards Bruntsfield.

The suspects are described as being of average build, white, and wearing dark coloured hoodies.

Lothian and Borders police issued a statement yesterday, stating that they were “still working to establish exactly where it happened”.

“Anyone who was in the area of the Meadows or Bruntsfield in the early hours of [Tuesday] morning, who saw or heard anything suspicious, should contact the police immediately.”

“Similarly, anyone who saw two men matching the descriptions of the suspects in either the Meadows or Bruntsfield Links areas should get in touch.”

Napier News contacted the police and were told that there was no new information, but inquiries are ongoing.

There was confirmation that officers would continue to patrol the Meadows this evening. They will be dressed in high-visibility jackets while investigations continue. They hope that these actions will reassure the public.

Breaking News: man charged with Gray murder

Merchiston Crescent Credit: Adam Smyth

By Celeste Carrigan

Pawel Rodak  a 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Roger Gray, retired lecturer. He has appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The charges made were culpable and reckless conduct, and endangering the lives of people in the building and surrounding area.

No declaration or plea was made on his behalf and the case continues for further enquiry. Rodak was remanded in custody.

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