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.

Attempted jewellery robbery gets ten months

By Morag Hobbs

A robber who left his distressed victim in need of counselling has been sentenced today at the high court in Edinburgh  to ten months in jail.

Morris Hodgkiss was found guilty  of  attempted robbery on Jeffery James Jewellery shop, Haddington on the 7th October of this year.

Hodgkiss, who has previously been convicted 30 times for a string of offences including assault, robbery and breach of the peace, was on probation after a previous prison sentence, and under the influence of alcohol and diazepam when he entered the jewellery shop with his hood up and a white mask covering his face apart from his eyes, where there was only the proprietor present.

Caroline Brand, who is to give up the shop when the lease is up in 2012, is said to be greatly distressed at the incident and has been receiving counselling and support since.

Hodgkiss was said to tell Brand there was no need to ‘press any buttons’, and a passer-by Martin Blearman banged on the window, at which point Hodgkiss fled. Blearman managed to retrieve Hodgkiss’s car registration which led to his arrest. In his bag which he took into the shop, police found among other things masking tape and a hammer, which the judge described as a copycat offence of the first which put him in prison where he tied up a shop assistant. The judge said that Hodgkiss was at a high risk of re offending and a custodial sentence was the only option in this case.

Longer sentences for Scottish killers

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini told the Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday that Scotland’s worst criminals should get ‘whole life’ sentences.

In what has been called a controversial intervention, Ms Angiolini stated that the minimum term served before being eligible for parole was too short.

Judges use a range of between 12 and 30 years as a minimum sentence to be served when given life.

Ms Angiolini believes that in extreme cases, life sentences should actually be life and the 30 year maximum rule should be abolished.

She said: “The range of sentences considered to be appropriate should be uplifted and raised beyond the perceived 30-year maximum…it would be competent to consider a whole life order as a maximum sentence in highly exceptional cases.”

Her intervention came at the same time as two Scottish murder cases came up for appeal.

Bryan Boyle and Greig Maddock, both convicted of murder, were ordered to serve 15 and 12 years minimum under their life sentences. Robert Kelly, also convicted of murder, received a life sentence serving a minimum of twenty years which was later lowered to fifteen years because he pleaded guilty to all charges.

Donald Findlay QC said that enough trust should be placed in the judge and the appeal court to sentence criminals. He said: “This is [the intervention] in effect political interference and I will be arguing it is political interference.”

It’s like a scene from Lock Stock

Jones in Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

Hardman: Jones in Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

James Davies

Football hard-man Vinnie Jones ,43, has been left with huge scars across his face after he was glassed in a vicious bar brawl.

The footballer turned Holywood actor (famous for grabbing gazza’s goolies in the famous 1988 photo)  was left with a huge scar across his forehead, a gouge on his nose and an assortment of cuts and scrapes after a fight with a thug in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The furious ex-footballer needed 48 stitches after the brawl with Jesse Bickett ,24, after he was smashed over the head with a beer glass.

Bickett faces a year in jail for aggravated assault charges, but his lawyer Manny De Castro insists that it was Vinnie who started the fight: ” Vinnie started the fight over a game of pool.  He punched and head-butted Mr Bickett, who then hit back with a beer glass”.

The Mean Machine star was furious at the unprovoked attack and said: ” the fact is,someone tried to blind me. Wouldn’t you be p***** off if someone tried to blind you? “

The lock stock and two smoking barrels hard-nut has been arrested in connection with the brawl, but no formal charges have yet been set. Although pals of Jones insist it was Bickett that instigated the fight, a full investigation will still take place.

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