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Dundee

Dundee man jailed for five years after Smith and Wesson pistol discovered

April 27 2016

A Dundee gun enthusiast has been jailed for five years for storing an illegal weapon. Paul Markie was found with a Smith and Wesson pistol and ammunition in his work locker in Dundee last April. Markie, 55, told police he had the items for farmer David Evans, who he knew through their shared passion for guns. Evans is currently serving 16 years in jail after being caught with a fearsome haul of weapons including Uzis and a Kalashnikov following a raid by West Midlands police. Markie was caught after he left legitimate gun parts on a train when he was travelling to Inverness to meet another collector. The painter travelled from his Dundee home last April but, after realising he was on the wrong train, got off leaving his holdall behind. The bag, which contained parts of a deactivated gun was eventually found by rail staff before police were called in. When officers raided his works locker in Dundee they found a fully operational Smith and Wesson and ammunition in breach of the UK’s strict handgun laws introduced after Dunblane. Another 500 bullets were found in a burn by a dog walker. The court heard Markie traded in “obsolete, antique and deactivated” firearms and parts with contacts he met via the web, magazines and at gun shows. Ronnie Renucci QC, defending, said Markie had been involved with a legitimate hobby but, after he left the bag of gun parts on a train, he had panicked. He told the court: “He accepts that a custodial sentence is inevitable. He takes no issue with the criminal justice social work report. It’s a very good report as these things go and he’s assessed as a low risk. “The report recognises the positive aspects of his life. He’s been described by the writer of the report as a ‘model citizen’ in the community with a settled home life. “He’s hopeful that when he’s released from his sentence he’ll settle in the system although he does recognise that a conviction of this type will cause him some difficulty.” Judge Lord Burns told Markie he had pleaded guilty to a very serious offence. He said: “It is, I have to say, tragic that you find yourself before the High Court facing a prison sentence at the age of 55 for the only time in your life. “What possessed you to take these catastrophic decisions I can’t imagine. You must have known full well the risks you were running because of your knowledge and interest in firearms. “You took these weapons and failed to report them to police and you kept them for five years. Further, you endangered members of the public by dumping dangerous ammunition into a burn.” He sentenced Markie to the minimum five years in prison for five firearms offences.

News

Win £100 in the great #courierseagullselfie challenge!

August 13 2016

From stealing sandwiches to attacking pets and even children, seagulls are bolder and more aggressive than ever before. The Courier has been inundated with tales of the winged menace from above in areas from Dundee to Kirkcaldy and Arbroath to St Andrews. In response, we’re launching our “Don’t be gullible” series online, in print and on social media We’ll be finding identifying Courier Country’s worst hotspots for attacks. We’ll speak to victims of seagull strikes, including one man whose nose was broken in an encounter with an angry bird. We’ll be asking what can be done to combat the increasingly aggressive incursions into our town and city centres. And we’ll find out why humans – and our litter – are the root cause of the problem. We’re also launching our #courierseagullselfie campaign. All you need to do is take a picture of yourself with a seagull in the background and post it to The Courier Facebook page or on Twitter using the tag #courierseagullselfie. We want to get you, your friends, family and children involved to highlight our drive. This is the kind of thing we're looking for: https://twitter.com/GullOfBrighton/status/735365652849041409 https://twitter.com/mtro1974/status/752219608879423489 There’s a £100 prize for the best pic as judged by our editor, so be as creative, crazy, cool or cheesey as you like. We'll name our winner in The Courier on August 20. Good luck!

Dundee

Fife rapist jailed for nine years after two murder attempts

April 27 2016

A violent thug who raped and tried to kill two women has been locked up for nine years. Stephen White was jailed on Wednesday after being convicted at the High Court in Glasgow. One victim recalled how the 25 year-old would beat her up and demand sex.   He also knocked her out by choking her while accusing of cheating with other men. The second woman also suffered a similar ordeal as she remembered how White would "batter" her. White was found guilty following a trial of rape and attempted murder. He was also convicted of assaulting a third woman and attacking a man. The crimes occurred in Dunfermline, Fife between 2005 and 2014. Judge John Morris QC jailed him and also ordered he be monitored for a further three years when he is freed. He said: "I have to have regard to the protection of the public, particularly any females you get involved with." White - who denied the allegations - was also placed on the sex offenders register. Defence QC Frances McMenamin said: “At the time he thought the women were consenting to sex. He now accepts that they could not possibly have been.

Fife

Fife Christian Brothers trial: Witness claims he was attacked by social worker

May 4 2016

A former pupil at a Christian Brothers school in Fife told a court he protected his face as he was punched and slapped "20 times" by an elderly social worker.   The 50 year-old witness – now an army captain – addressed the High Court in Glasgow about events at St Ninian's in Falkland when he was a boy. He and his brother had been sent to the then List G school, which was run by the Christian Brothers. Giving evidence at the trial – where five men face historical abuse charges – the witness said he initially found St Ninian's “quite scary” and “daunting”. Prosecutor Kath Harper later questioned him on discipline at the school and asked was there anything that “caused concern”. The witness replied: “As an adult, in hindsight looking back, I think it was at times wholly wrong, but at the time you just accepted it and moved on.” He recalled it being “physical” as well as boys being made to stand in a hallway for periods of times. Miss Harper said: “What did you think of the discipline during the day?” He replied: “It seemed the same 24/7. They were the rules and they were obeyed.” The soldier – now married – went on to allege he was physically assaulted by one of the accused, Michael Murphy. The 76 year-old was said to have been a social worker at the school. The witness claimed he was attacked after he had a row with another resident. He told the jury Murphy got hold of him after he told the accused to “f*** off” or stuck two fingers up at him. The witness recalled: “I was crying, screaming. Mr Murphy was irate, angry. “He sort of grabbed me and started slapping and punching me. It went on for a wee while. “I had to apologise for what I had done wrong. Looking back, it was probably 20-odd times (being struck) – my hands were curled up trying to protect my face. “I apologised then Mr Murphy let me go.” Murphy's lawyer Michael Anderson later put to the witness that the OAP had “no recollection whatsoever” of the alleged incident. But, the former resident said it was “factual”. The court heard that the witness later wrote a book – published in 2011 - which included details about his time at St Ninian's. But, the jury was told that nowhere in it was there was a complaint of him being assaulted or struck while at the school. Edward Targowski QC – defending one of the five, John Farrell, 73, showed the witness a number of photos of boys at St Ninian's. These included residents going on trips – including to Celtic FC – and taking part in a Burns Supper. Mr Targowski: “That would be a complete contrast from the life you and your brother had before?” The witness: “That's true.” Prosecutors list a total of 121 charges against Farrell, of Motherwell, Paul Kelly 63, of Plymouth, Edward Egan, 78, of Liverpool, Murphy, of Dunfermline and William Don, 62, from Leven. These involve claims of sexual and physical abuse between 1967 and 1983. The Crown allege that a total of 35 boys were allegedly abused. The trial, before Judge Lord Matthews, continues.

Dundee

Dundee attempted murder trial hears of ‘stabbing’

May 26 2016

A man told a jury he was cuddled by murder bid accused John McGrandle who then pushed him down a flight of steps and stabbed him. David Kettles, 45, was giving evidence at the trial of McGrandle, 42, who is accused of attempting to murder him at Court Street North, Dundee, on November 18. Mr Kettles told the High Court in Glasgow his girlfriend of 14 years Susan Robertson lived in the block of flats in Court Street North. He said he was visiting her and had popped out to buy some bread. When he returned he found McGrandle standing at the secure door entry system trying to get into the building. He said that McGrandle had a dispute with Robert Ramsay – known as Rab – who lived in the same block of flats and wanted to speak to him. The court was told that inside the building Mr Ramsay and McGrandle argued, and Mr Kettles said: “I just wanted to calm it down. I let Mr Ramsay into my girlfriend's flat because I thought he and John were going to start fighting.” This left Mr Kettles and McGrandle standing in the landing. Mr Kettles said: “I asked him to leave. He cuddled me and said alright and then pushed me downstairs.” He told the jury he thought that McGrandle had punched him, but added: “When the blood started coming out I realised I had been stabbed and I went into shock.” Mr Kettles was asked if he had seen a knife and replied: “It was definitely a knife. I saw the glint.” He was asked by defence counsel Ronnie Renucci: “You know Mr McGrandle was trying to get to see Robert Ramsay who lived in that block of flats,” and replied: “Yes.” Mr Kettles added: “He was taking his anger out on me. It was meant for Rab.” He denied a suggestion by Mr Renucci that he had grabbed the knife from the kitchen and stabbed himself after falling downstairs, saying: “I've never carried a knife or used a knife. I'm not a violent person.” Mr Renucci said: “You found out that Mr McGrandle had slept with your girlfriend two months earlier,” and Mr Kettles rep[lied: “Not at all my relationship is solid. She wouldn't sleep with that." “He's been talking about that saying 'I'm going to use that as my defence. I slept with his girlfriend.' It's rubbish.” McGrandle denies attempting to murder Mr Kettles by pushing him, causing him to fall down stairs and then stabbing him on the body with a knife. The 42 year-old faces a separate charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. It is claimed he ditched the knife used in the attack in a hedge and that he also hid in a wardrobe at a property in the city's Brantwood Avenue to "avoid detection, arrest and prosecution". McGrandle is also charged with assaulting a PC and resisting arrest. He denies all the charges against him. The trial before Judge Sean Murphy QC continues.

Dundee

Smiling knife attacker blows kiss as he is jailed for murder bid

June 27 2016

A Dundee man who tried to kill a friend moments after giving him a hug has been locked up for seven years. John McGrandle shoved David Kettles down stairs then stabbed him with a knife. McGrandle later insisted Kettles had injured himself during the incident in a common close in Dundee last November. But, the 42 year-old was convicted of attempted murder following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Judge Sean Murphy QC told McGrandle the assault had “potentially fatal consequences” as he returned to the dock on Monday. He also noted McGrandle already had convictions for assault and possession of a knife. The judge further ordered him to be supervised for a further two years on his release. McGrandle smiled and blew a kiss towards family in court as he was led handcuffed to the cells. Mr Kettles had told a jury how he had been visiting his girlfriend at her flat in Dundee's Court Street before going to a local shop. When he returned, McGrandle was inside the close arguing with another resident Robert Ramsay. Mr Kettles recalled letting Mr Ramsay into his partner's home in a bid to “calm it down” before asking McGrandle to leave. But, the witness went on: “He cuddled me, said alright - and then pushed me downstairs.” Mr Kettles told they jury he then remembered blood “coming out” of him. He initially thought he had been punched, but realising he had been stabbed. Mr Kettles was asked if he had seen a knife and replied: “It was definitely a knife. I saw the glint. He was taking his anger out on me. It was meant for Rab.” The victim had denied a claim he had grabbed a weapon from the kitchen and stabbed himself after falling downstairs. He told the court: “I've never carried a knife or used a knife. I'm not a violent person.” Mr Kettles also refuted an accusation that he had confronted McGrandle because the witness's lover had cheated on him with the thug. McGrandle was also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice by ditching the knife and then hiding in a wardrobe in a bid to avoid arrest. Ronnie Renucci, defending, said the attack involved “an unusual set of circumstances”.

Dundee

Dundee woman cleared of bringing Bulgarian stun gun hoard to Scotland

September 28 2016

A Dundee woman has been cleared of bringing a hoard of Bulgarian stun guns into Scotland. Holiday maker Niall Dinsmore was caught bringing five illegal stun guns and five truncheons into the country and thought he would escape with a “slap on the wrist”. He was held at Edinburgh Airport as he returned from Bulgaria with his girlfriend Kerri Luff from Dundee, whose not guilty plea was accepted by prosecutors. Dinsmore, 27,  claimed to UK Border Force officials that he bought them as “gifts” but could now face a minimum five years in jail. He pleaded guilty to two firearms charges and possessing offensive weapons at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday. Dinsmore had been on holiday with Ms Luff, 25, in the Sunny Beach resort in Bulgaria. The couple had their luggage checked as they returned to Edinburgh Airport on August 31 last year. Dinsmore had five electric stun guns – disguised as torches – along with five steel batons. The hearing was told he had bought them as presents as he reckoned they were “unusual”. Prosecutor Shirley McKenna added: “He thought he would get a slap on the wrist if caught.” Miss McKenna said he later “attributed his conduct to stupidity”. The court heard the stun gun devices were in good condition and had “an audible and visible display of sparks”. The batons measured 20-inches when fully extended. Dinsmore, now of Bansbridge, Northern Ireland, is now at threat of at least five years in jail for having the stun guns. But, his lawyer said he hopes to convince Judge Lord Boyd that there are “exceptional circumstances” for the electrician to escape a prison term. Richard Souter, defending, said Dinsmore bought the items in “a state of complete ignorance”. Dinsmore had his bail continued pending sentencing in Edinburgh on October 25.  

Dundee

Dealer stashed £10,000 cannabis haul in grandmother’s house

November 8 2016

A drug dealer who stashed £10,000 worth of cannabis in his unsuspecting 79-year-old grandmother's house has been jailed for three years. Paul Henderson hid 40 blocks of cannabis resin in a bedroom at the pensioner's home in Dundee. The OAP was forced to deny any involvement in supplying drugs when cops raided her home. Henderson - who previously served a five year term for dealing heroin and has now racked up four separate convictions for dealing drugs - was found in the property and later admitted being responsible for the package. Forensic officers said the stash was worth up to £10,000 in street level deals. Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: "At about 8.15am on May 20 a search warrant was executed at the home address of the accused's 79-year-old grandmother. "A full search of the property was thereafter undertaken during which a backpack containing forty blocks of cannabis resin was recovered from a cupboard in the bedroom and a knife with cannabis resin on the blade was found under the sofa in the living room. "The accused's grandmother attended at the locus during the search. "She denied any knowledge of the items recovered but confirmed that the accused was sometimes present within the property whilst she was out. "He was taken to Police Headquarters in Dundee where he was later interviewed. "He admitted ownership of all items recovered from his grandmother's property. "He claimed that the cannabis resin found within the backpack was being stored by him on behalf of another individual in order to pay off a drugs debt." Henderson, 38, of Burnside Gardens, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to being concerned in the supply of drugs at Caldrum Terrace, Dundee, on May 20 this year. Defence solicitor John Boyle said: "He's aware a custodial sentence is inevitable. "He had run up a fairly significant drug debt and was told if he looked after the bag that would be reduced substantially." Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed Henderson for three years, reduced from four years and six months for his early plea. He said: "You know the score - with your record this has to be a high starting point."

Fife

Liam Fee: Teen who hurled abuse at child murderers “some kind of hero”

June 2 2016

A teenage girl who hurled abuse at child murderers Rachel Trelfa and Nyomi Fee outside court was spared jail. The girl’s lawyer Alan Jackson successfully argued that if she was sent to jail she might be regarded as “some kind of hero” for verbally attacking the pair. She hurled verbal abuse at the Fees before a police officer ordered her to be quiet, Livingston Sheriff Court heard. A television news crew recorded the 17-year-old – who can’t be named for legal reasons –shouting homophobic comments at the lesbian couple as they arrived at the High Court in Livingston. Trelfa, 31, and Fee, 29, were on trial for murdering Rachel’s son Liam Fee and trying to blame the killing on another child. They are currently awaiting sentence after being convicted earlier this week of murder, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and a catalogue of child assault and neglect charges. They have since been dubbed “the most hated women in Scotland” because of the cruelty they showed to two-year-old Liam who was in agony from a broken leg and arm from nearly a week before he died of a ruptured heart. The teen, from Livingston, West Lothian, had just been released from police custody on the day of the incident on May 12. She was immediately re-arrested and appeared from custody again the following day charged with an aggravated breach of the peace. She pled guilty to behaving in a manner likely to cause a reasonable person fear or alarm by shouting and swearing aggravated by sexual orientation. Sheriff Jamie Gilmour took other unrelated offences into account when he sentenced her to be electronically tagged on a nine-month curfew and placed under supervision for two years with 200 hours of unpaid work to be completed within nine months.  

Angus & The Mearns

Chinooks thunder in for Tayside and Fife exercise

September 4 2016

Chinook helicopters were seen thundering along the east coast of Tayside and Fife on Sunday. The aircraft are thought to be taking part in a military training exercise based at Leuchars Station. It is understood the army base is being used during Exercise Chameleon, which is mainly being hosted by RAF Leeming. Around 1pm a Chinook was spotted travelling over the Tay towards Dundee and on to Angus. A helicopter was also spotted flying over Fife. There were reports elsewhere of paratroopers jumping out of an aircraft near Arbroath. A source said helicopters arrived at Leuchars on Sunday and were expected to stay at the base until September 17.

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