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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.


Court shown video of pet cat head bite

August 3 2016

A courtroom was shown a video of a Fife man biting the head of his pet cat during a horrific attack which caused its death. Craig Mills was later found by his partner covered in blood in bed with the dead animal. Details of the sickening killing were shown at Dunfermline Sheriff Court where 22-year-old Mills was appearing for sentencing. Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia said the incident occurred at Mills’ home in the early hours of the morning when he was heavily under the influence of alcohol. The cat had been trying to escape from the clutches of Mills but he continued to hold it on his lap. “It was in a panic and continued to claw and cry. It was so distressed it then urinated,” said the depute. His then partner David Walker, who recorded the incident on his mobile phone, told police he had been too scared to stop Mills, fearing his anger would be turned on him. Mills began to punch and slap the cat, which bit him in an attempt to escape. This resulted in Mills putting its head in his mouth and biting on it. The cat scratched him to get away and Mr Walker, who was becoming increasing frightened at Mills’ behaviour, left the flat. “He received a phone call from the accused about 30 minutes later. It was from the accused who was hysterical and said the cat was dead,” said Mr Kapadia. Mr Walker went home and found Mills covered in blood. “He was lying in bed stroking the dead cat. He told Mr Walker he’d thrown it against the hallway wall and after that it didn’t move.” Mr Walker put the dead animal in a shoe box, took it away and buried it. Mills, of Union Street, Lochgelly, previously admitted that between April 9 and September 30 last year, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by carrying out acts of cruelty against the family pet cat and placed his partner in a state of fear and alarm by causing a cat unnecessary suffering by restraining it on his knee, distressing it and causing it to urinate. He thereafter punched and slapped the cat, put its head in his mouth and bit it, threw it against a wall and killed it. After being granted bail last month to await sentencing, Mills then committed a string of further offences including biting two people, one a policeman, which he has admitted. On July 19 at Woodend Park, Cardenden, he shouted, swore, threw and broke a mobile phone and struggled with Kimberley Dow. He also assaulted Kieran Campbell by biting him to his injury. On the same day at Dunfermline police station, Mills assaulted PC Martin Ronald by biting him. He also assaulted PC Selina Bruce by spitting on her. Sheriff Craig McSherry said he was considering “an extremely lengthy custodial sentence”. However, he delayed sentencing for a week for a psychiatric report and Mills will remain in custody until returns to court next Wednesday.  


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 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.


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!


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”.


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.


Lochgelly man jailed over child sex assaults

June 3 2016

A young man who committed sex acts with two under-age boys was “driven by a sexual attraction to children”, a court heard. Samuel McDonald – who admitted having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old and sexually assaulting a seven-year-old – was jailed for four and a half years at the High Court in Livingston. Judge Lady Scott also imposed an extended sentence which means he will remain under supervision for two years after his release and his name will remain on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely. The judge told McDonald, 21, from Lochgelly, Fife, that the licence conditions meant he would be returned to prison to serve the balance of his sentence if he reoffended. Passing sentence, Lady Scott said McDonald had “groomed” the older child by communicating with him and buying him alcohol before making him take part in disgusting sex acts. Lady Scott went on: “The second child was only seven years old. You were friends with his family and you grossly abused their trust. “Your crimes are liable to leave your victims with long-term damage. “The detailed background reports suggest you are driven by a sexual attraction to children. This course of conduct demonstrates this as does the information you volunteered. “The report presents you at serious risk of sexual offending and I’m satisfied that, having regard to that reason, an extended sentence is necessary to protect the public from serious harm.” She said she recognised that McDonald had learning difficulties and long-term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which made him act impulsively and made it difficult for him to form social relationships. She added: “I take into account you will be vulnerable in a prison setting but you will get comprehensive help to address and resolve your conduct.” The court heard earlier that accused had discussed online the "sexual activity" he had with the teenager. The boy’s mother alerted the police after she found explicit Facebook messages between her son and the accused. The boy later told police that 'stuff had happened' with an older person in a tunnel near Lochgelly. He said McDonald had made a deal that he would give him an electronic cigarette if he carried out a sex act. Michael Anderson QC, defending, said McDonald had had a “tragic start in life” and still suffered from the death his mother when he was aged five. His father had been “no support whatsoever” and he had been brought up by his grandparents. He admitted: “I recognise that this is a very complex case.” McDonald admitted committing the offences against the older boy inside a tunnel between between December 2014 and March 2015. He also admitted sexually assaulting the primary age youngster in the garage at his home on an occasion between February 22 2015 and May 9 2015. He was a first offender.


Man tells Fife Christian Brothers abuse trial he woke up without pyjama bottoms

April 25 2016

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.