A farmer, who found thieves on his property early in the morning, blocked off the road to prevent them driving off in their van. With their break-in thwarted, one of the group then threatened the farmer telling him he would return the next day to “blow up” his Jeep and “smash his face in”. Appearing from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court were Alexander Cunningham, Darryl McColl and Christopher Wilson. They admitted various offences which occurred at Easter Craigduckie Farm, north of Dunfermline, on August 23. Cunningham, 22, of Carden Castle Park, Cardenden and McColl, 28, of Donald Crescent, Thornton, both admitted they were found in the curtilage of the farm without lawful authority whereby it could be inferred they were there to commit theft. Sheriff Charles Macnair jailed McColl for six months and Cunningham for four months. Wilson was fined £400 and disqualified from driving for 12 months. For the full story get Friday's edition of The Courier.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
A former pupil at a Christian Brothers school in Fife told a jury he remembered waking up in his dormitory with no pyjama bottoms on. The 50-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told prosecutor Kath Harper: “I woke up on one occasion, no in fact two occasions with no jammie bottoms on. They were on the floor.” When asked if he put them on the floor himself, the man replied: “No.” Miss Harper asked: “Did you feel anything unusual," he replied: “I was erect.” The man was giving evidence as the trial relating to allegations of historical child sexual abuse at St Ninian's School in Falkland continued at the High Court in Glasgow. John Farrell, who was a Christian Brother, denies indecently assaulting the man – when he was aged between 13 and 16 - on various occasions between March 3, 1980 and May 28, 1982, by removing his lower clothing when he was sleeping and handling his private parts. The witness added: “On one occasion I felt someone sitting by my bedside. It was very dark. But the hall lights were on and I could see a shadow.” The man said he got up after about five minutes put his bottoms on and went to the toilet. He added: “When I came back Brother Farrell was standing there.” He added that he had noticed a “damp, fusty beer smell,” and was asked what he connected that smell with and replied: “Brother Farrell. The man also claimed that Farrell struck him with a belt. Under cross-examination by Edward Targowski QC, representing Farrell, the man agreed that he had visited Farrell in hospital in 1993 when he had had a heart bypass, and a few years later had had him as a guest at his wedding. Mr Targowski said: “You can't have thought he had sexually assaulted you if you visited him in hospital,” and the man answered: “It was always at the back of my mind. I always wondered if it was a dream or real.” The QC then said: “As far as Brother Farrell is concerned he never sexually assaulted you at all,” and the man replied: “Not true.” Farrell also denies striking the boy with a belt on his body on one occasion between March 1980 and May 1982. Co-accused William Don, a gym teacher at the school, denies assaulting the man between March 1980 and May 1982 by striking him with a flag pole and a hockey stick. The witness claimed that he had been hit once by Don, then said it was twice. He added: “He grabbed me by the privates and hit me with a corner flagpole, or a cricket bat or a hockey stick.” The man agreed with defence counsel Laura Thomson, representing Don, that he had given a number of accounts of what he alleged happened. Miss Thomson said: “Not all your stories can be correct,” and he replied: “It was once or twice. I can't remember, but I was hit.” John Farrell, 73, Paul Kelly, 63, Edward Egan, 78, Michael Murphy, 76, and William Don, 61, are accused of physically and sexually abusing boys at the former St Ninian’s. They deny the charges against them. The trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.
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!
A woman is to stand trial charged with murdering an 82 year-old Fife pensioner with a rolling pin. Sandra Weir is accused of killing Mary Logie at the OAP's home in Leven, Fife on January 5 this year. It is claimed the 41-year-old repeatedly struck Mary on the head and body with the rolling pin “or similar instrument”. Weir is further accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by cleaning blood at the property and disposing of clothing. It also emerged on Friday that prosecutors claim Weir, of Leven, stole from Mary on various occasions over a near six year period. The indictment alleges she took a bank card or cards in the pensioner's name. She is also said to have stolen greeting cards containing money, cash, two rings as well as what is described as “correspondence”. The charge states this occurred between April 2010 and the day of the alleged murder. She faces another charge of using a bank card in Mary's name to steal a total of £4,460. A further allegation claims Weir fraudulently used a debit card to buy £314 of goods at a shop in Leven. A separate fraud charge then claims she pretended to be authorised by the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity to collect cash for them. Prosecutors also accuse her of possessing drugs and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Weir – also known as Gaughan – made her first public appearance in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday. Her QC Murray Macara pled not guilty on her behalf. He also lodged a special defence of alibi in connection with the murder charge. The hearing was told the case could involve 200 witnesses. Judge Lady Scott set a trial due to begin in December in Edinburgh.
A jailed drug dealer used a trip to a children's hearing to smuggle nearly £800 worth of heroin into a high security prison, a court has heard. Brendan McGivern from Blairgowrie was serving a sentence at Glenochil Prison, Clackmannanshire, at the time, after pleading guilty last year to battering his girlfriend with a shoe. The father of five picked up nearly two ounces of heroin that had been hidden in a toilet cubicle at a building in Perth where the Children's Hearing was being held. McGivern, who was transported from the jail to attend the hearing, had asked to use the loo. Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that guards who were accompanying him became suspicious that he might have picked something up in the toilet area. He was searched on his return to Glenochil, and found in possession of four wraps of brown powder, which turned out to be heroin. Prosecutor Graham McLachlan said the total weight of the drug was 52 grams, which would have had a value of £740 in jail. He said: "That's predicated on sub-division into 3.5 gram deals." Two mobile phones and a SIM card were found in his cell. The incident took place on January 12. Another mobile had been found in McGivern's cell four and a half months earlier, on September 1 2015, after warders received a tip-off and staged an on-the-spot search. McGivern, 35, pleaded guilty to possessing three mobile phones and the heroin, the latter with intent to supply, in the jail. Paul Ralph, defending, said he had been put under pressure in the jail after the loss of the first mobile. The solicitor said: "He was approached by others after the recovery of the phone, and told that was going to cost money." Mr Ralph said it was suggested to McGivern that there was a way of paying off the debt. The drugs were then left at an address and taken to the hearing. Jailing him for two years and four months, Sheriff Craig Caldwell said he accepted he had been under "some degree of coercion", but he already had a "significant previous conviction" for drug supply. The sheriff said: "You took part in what was clearly a carefully-planned exercise to introduce a significant amount of class A drugs to the prison, for dissemination and distribution amongst the inmates incarcerated there. "The extremely adverse effects of the use of drugs in prison are well known. "The courts will support the criminal justice authorities and agencies to deter that sort of activity again." Last year McGivern was jailed for a year and eight months for a sustained assault on Nicola Shepherd at her home in Ferguson Park, Blairgowrie, after she revealed to him that she had been seeing another man behind his back. He carried out the attack after being freed early from a five-year jail term imposed in 2012, when he was caught with £30,000 worth of heroin and cocaine in a pink handbag. Ms Shepherd was injured after McGivern hit her on the body several times with the footwear.
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.