Body found in search for missing Edinburgh teen

Jasmine Macquaker

14 year old Jasmine Macquaker. Photo: Police Scotland

By Rebekah Sawyers & Abbey Fleming

Police Scotland has confirmed that a body was found on the North Queensferry coastline this morning. The body was found in a search operation for missing Edinburgh teenager Jasmine Macquaker.

Formal identification has yet to be carried out on the body that was found by a member of the public shortly after 7am this morning.

The death is at the moment treated as unexplained.

Jasmine, 14, was last seen on Sunday night.

 

 

Former Rangers footballer shot dead

Peralta

Fans have expressed deep sadness on social media sites after the news broke. Photo/Twitter

By Ari Brynjolfsson

Former Rangers footballer Arnold Peralta has been shot dead in his Honduran hometown.

The 26-year-old defensive midfielder was killed in a drive-by shooting in the car park of the Uniplaza shopping mall in La Ceiba in the Central American nation while on holiday.

No arrests have been made and police have ruled out robbery as a motive as his belongings were not stolen. Honduran authorities refuse to reveal when the incident occurred.

Peralta played 24 games for Rangers across two seasons and left the club last January, he scored his only goal against Stranraer in April 2014. While with Rangers he won the Scottish League One title in the 2013/2014 season. His current team was FC Deportivo Olimpia.

Rangers Supporters Club said the news was terrible and that they still considered him family.

The Club said in a statement to the press: ‘We join all our fans in sending our condolences to the family of our former player.’

His death was confirmed by his father, Carlos Peralta at a news conference: ‘This is terribe. They killed my exemplary son. I can’t say more because of the pain I feel.’

Peralta was the Honduran Under-20 captain before playing 26 games for the national team, including the 2014 World Cup. He was due to play for his country next week in an international friendly against Cuba.

Honduras is plagued by gang violence and has the highest murder rates worldwide, topping United Nations crime reports since 2011 with more than 90 murders per 100,000 people.

Human Rights Watch organization said in their 2014 world report that perpetrators of killings and other violent crimes in Honduras were rarely brought to justice, the report said: ‘Honduras suffers from rampant crime and impunity for human rights abuses.’

The Honduran government however vows to bring Peralta’s killers to justice: ‘We won’t rest until those responsible for this act are identified and detained so that they can face justice.’

How Pistorius’s verdict reflects on South African legal system and what lies ahead for his sentencing

Yesterday morning, Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction was replaced with murder, two legal experts give their opinion on the ruling and what lies ahead for his sentencing.

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that Pistorius should have foreseen the deadly impact his four bullets would have had in the small bathroom.

The new ruling over turns the decision made by Judge Masipa of the High Court.

Commenting  on the previous ruling Justice Eric Leach of the SCA called Masipa’s decision a “fundamental error.”

When asked how the change in verdict reflects on the South African justice system, Professor Penelope Andrews, Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town said: “This should not be seen to be as an adverse comment upon Masipa’s  competence and ability.”

She went on to say: “Lots of judges decisions are over turned in the appeal process that’s why the process exists, the fact that a judge may not have applied the facts properly does not mean the South African criminal justice system is a mess.”

Commenting on the new verdict Prof. Andrews said: “The judges who dealt with the appeal at the Supreme Court were spot on, so I think that has shown how good our criminal justice system is and more importantly that it is fair.

“As an accused you know you can take the matter further or the state can, if there are sufficient grounds based on the law.”

Commenting on his reaction to the verdict Dr. Mohamed Chiktay Senior Lecturer at WITS University School of Law (Johannesburg) said: “Masipa showed restraint and dealt with the case in a professional manner but at the end of the day when you look at the facts and the law, it is quite evident where she went off in the wrong direction.

“She incorrectly dealt with the concept of doulas intervenciones.”

Commenting on Pistorius’s re-sentencing  Dr.  Chiktay said: “Sentencing will be a difficult aspect of the case, the judge will have to be objective and balance all the factors that are relevant like his disability, age and the fact that he has no prior convictions.”

Prof. Andrews said: “Pistorius will have to supply a compelling reason as to why he should not be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in jail, his disability should not affect his sentencing, one cannot give leniency to anyone who killed a person without any proof that they posed a real threat.”

This morning Barry Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp’s farther said: “We will have to wait and see what happens at sentencing but for now justice has prevailed and we can try get on with our lives for now.”

Gandhi’s grandson calls for end to punishment

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson has called on the world to abandon punishment at a lecture in Edinburgh.

The non-violence activist spoke of the “passive violence” that plagues society, arguing that restorative justice rather than imprisonment was the best way to reform criminals.

The New York-based campaigner travels the world to preach his message of non-violence, with the belief that only a global effort will achieve that aim.

Speaking at the lecture, organised by Scottish community justice organisation SACRO, he said: “Justice should not mean punishment, it should mean transforming the individual.”

He went on to speak of how all actions are rooted in violence, be they “physical” or “passive”, adding, in relation to justice: “Would I be hurt by it or helped by it?”

The socio-political activist added his belief that most crime is rooted in inequality. He said: “People who are marginalised are angry.

“By calling them criminals, we de-humanise them; they are human beings.”

He added that he did not believe in the abolition of prisons, but that they should be redefined as places for rehabilitation.

Mr Gandhi cited much of his upbringing as being the root of his belief. He recounted that his parents would inflict punishment on themselves should he misbehave as a child, notably by not eating, while he would eat in front of them.

He said that a “non-punishing culture starts at home”.

Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of SACRO said: “It was a privilege to hear [Arun’s] message; the real inspiration lies in the stories.

“It allows people to become ‘peace-farmers’ and to take that message in to the future.”

He added that Mr Gandhi’s ideas were “not about being soft on crime” but “allowing people to transform and move on”.

 

Edinburgh Airport hosts public safety event for Counter Terrorism Awareness Week

By Marion Guichaoua

Police Scotland will be present today at Edinburgh Airport to alert the public about safety travel, as part of Counter Terrorism Awareness Week.

Police Scotland,  the British Transport Police are amongst UK forces taking part in Counter Terrorism Awareness Week which will run from Monday 24 November until Sunday 30 November 2014.

They will be present in transport hubs all across the UK to help the public understand the threat to the UK and emphasise the importance of reporting any suspicious activity.

The Police Scotland website explains that: “The aim is not to alarm the public. No one is better placed to notice someone or something out of place within a community than those who live and work in that community.”

Staff who work across transport hubs will receive training to look out for suspicious behaviour and learn what they should do if an attack should happen.

Speaking ahead of the Safer Travel Days, Superintendent Alan Crawford said: “Police Scotland Border Policing Command welcomes this opportunity to raise the awareness of Counter Terrorism across the transport hubs and wider business community in Scotland.

“Airports and seaports are vibrant transport hubs where the public work and transit on a daily basis. These ports are, in their own right, communities where there is an opportunity for us all to report suspicious activity no matter how insignificant this may seem.

“At a time of increased threat levels, and with the focus on Syria and the Middle East, it is vital that collectively we work together to protect our border.”

Police Scotland also said: “Although the threat level has recently been increased to severe, meaning that a terrorist attack in the UK is “Highly Likely” there is no specific intelligence of any planned attack, however this raised threat level does mean that we all need to be vigilant.”

During Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, the focus will be on five key areas: vigilance in crowded places and transport hubs, preventing violent extremism, preventing financing of terrorist groups and ensuring the safety and security of goods and materials which could be used by terrorists.

There will be a range of activities taking place across Scotland including increased police patrols and additional training for those responsible for safety and security of buildings, businesses and neighbourhoods to help them recognise, respond to and report any suspicious activity.

Today also sees The Safer Travel Day initiative being held at airports and ports across Scotland where travelers will receive information and advice to help keep them safe.

David Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport, said: “Keeping our passengers safe and secure is our number one priority and we work very closely with Police Scotland to ensure Edinburgh Airport is a safe environment for everyone.

“By supporting Counter Terrorism Week we’re playing our part in a much wider operation to ensure the safety of all passengers and employees. Events like today’s Safer Travel Day are vital to help educate people on how to spot potentially suspicious behaviour.”

“There will be high visibility police patrols throughout the airport with officers available today to talk to passengers and staff about how to spot potentially suspicious behaviour.

“Police Scotland is also working with OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator to remind everyone to be cautious of donating to charity via third parties.

“OSCR’s Head of Engagement, Judith Turbyne, said:”We are pleased to support Counter-Terrorism Awareness Week, to alert the public in making sure that they check the organisations seeking donations from them.

“As with any requests for donations, there are a number of simple checks that you can make.  You can check the Scottish Charity Register and view our guide to Safer Giving at www.oscr.org.uk.”

 

UK charity Refuge opposes launch of Clare’s Law pilot scheme

By Charlotte Barbour

Domestic abuse campaigners yesterday called into question the effectiveness of Clare’s Law, a scheme which will be piloted across areas of Scotland today.

Domestic abuse charity Refuge expressed concerns that the Law is not enough to help protect women from violence.

The scheme is named after Clare Wood, a 36-year old woman who was murdered by her abusive boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009. She was not aware of his history of violence against women.

“Clare’s Law” will be piloted in Ayrshire and Aberdeen today and will last for six months. It will allow people suffering from domestic abuse access to information on a partner’s potential violent history. If successful the scheme will then be rolled out across Scotland.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“Clare’s Law sounds good on paper, but in reality it will do very little to help the hundreds of thousands of women and children who experience domestic violence in this country.

“Some people will say that if Clare’s Law saves just one life, it is worth it. But let’s be clear – two women are killed every week as a result of domestic violence in England and Wales. Saving just one life is not enough.

“What will happen if a woman is told that her partner does have a history of violence? Will she be expected to pack her bags and leave straight away? At Refuge, we know that it isn’t that simple.

“Leaving a violent partner is an incredibly difficult step to take. It is also extremely dangerous – women are at greatest risk of homicide at the point of separation or after leaving a violent partner. And if women do leave, where are they supposed to go? Refuges are closing up and down the country because of huge funding cuts.

“Clare’s Law may help a few individuals but we need to help the majority of victims – not the few. The most effective way to save lives on a large scale is to improve police practice and protect the vital services run by specialist organisations like Refuge. Let’s get our priorities right.”

Lily Greenan, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, fully supports the scheme. She said:

“Clare’s Law allows people who are concerned about the behaviour of their partner now have the right to ask if they have a history of abuse.

“We are supporting it because anything that potentially helps to prevent domestic abuse against a person is worth having a go at. The levels of domestic abuse in Scotland are very high, and these can become quite extreme before people feel that they can contact the police about it.

“We see the law as a pro-active approach to try and encourage people who feel uncomfortable about what their partner is doing to quietly enquire about whether or not there is a history of domestic abuse.

“Obviously it is not a replacement for a criminal investigation if what is happening to them is already definable as abuse but it may be helpful to some people to have that information in advance.”

According to the Scottish government website, the number of reported incidents of domestic abuse last year reached 60,080, a rise of almost a third in a decade.

Half of all incidents recorded in 2012-13 led to the recording of a crime or an offence, and of these, 78 per cent were reported to the procurator fiscal.

Factors which may increase women’s vulnerability to some types of violence include age, disability and poverty.

Clare Wood’s father, Michael Brown, believes that had his daughter been able to access information on Appleton’s criminal history it may have saved her life.

Hunt continues for attacker in Edinburgh

By Adam Wilson

Police are continuing to hunt for an attacker who sexually assaulted a young woman on Saturday morning.

Between 6.45 and 7.10 am on Saturday a 19-year-old woman was walking home from a night out with friends in the Cowgate area when she was approached by a man who knocked her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.

The attack happened where Middle Meadow walk meets Jawbone Walk, which cuts accross the centre of the Meadows.

The attacker fled when a member of the public saw the scene and came to the woman’s aid.

The attacker has been described by police as a white male wearing dark clothing and a dark hat.

Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell said: “This has been a horrific attack on a young woman and she is understandably extremely distressed at this time.

“Specially trained officers are currently working alongisde our relevant partner agenceis to offer the victim all the necessary support and assistance she requires.

“This incident took place in an area that is often busy with joggers, dog walkers and other members of the public, regardless of the time of night, and I would urge anyone who was in the Meadows on Saturday morning and remembers anything suspicious to contact police immediately.”

Students Alex and Susan, 20 and 21, who live in the area, said: “We run in this area quite a lot and we haven’t seen anything suspicious.

“But there’s three of us in our flat so we try to run or walk to uni together.”

Inspector Bell added: “If you believe you can be of assistance to our investigations please call us on 101. Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

 

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.

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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: https://edinburghnapiernews.com/2012/03/05/paul-mcbride-qc-1963-2012/

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

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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

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