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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


World’s End killer linked to murders in Templeton Woods

August 10 2015

A former police intelligence officer has claimed that World’s End killer Angus Sinclair was also responsible for two notorious unsolved murders in Tayside. Chris Clark and journalist Tim Tate investigated unsolved cases from across the UK for a new book about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s “secretmurders”. Mr Clark, who served with the police from 1966 to 1994, believes Sutcliffe did kill in Scotland while working as along-distance lorry driver but ruled out a link to the Dundee murders. However, Mr Clark said his evidence points to the man responsible being serial killer and rapist Angus Sinclair, who was jailed for 37 years in November 2014 for the World’s End murders in 1977. The body of 20-year-old Elizabeth McCabe was discovered in Templeton Woods on the outskirts of Dundee in 1980 only 150 yards from where the corpse of Carol Lannen, 18, was found almost a year before. Vincent Simpson was tried for the murder of Elizabeth McCabe in 2007 but walked free from the High Court in Edinburgh after the jury returned a not guilty verdict. Speaking exclusively to The Courier, Mr Clark said: “I am familiar with the murders of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe as I spent some timeresearching them. “My own feelings are that a serial killer was responsible. “Vincent Simpson wouldn’t fit that bill because there was no evidence that he had murdered before or since. “The police should instead befocusing their attention on AngusSinclair.” Sinclair raped and strangled 17-year-olds Helen Scott and Christine Eadie after a night out at the World’s End pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in October 1977. Mr Clark said: “Sinclair had acampervan which he took away on weekend and holiday fishing trips with brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton. “On Monday November 19 1978 17-year-old Mary Gallagher wasmurdered and her body found at the foot of a 20ft wall near a footpath crossing waste ground between Flemington Street and Edgefauld Road inSpringburn, Glasgow. “Sinclair held a knife to her back, made her take off her clothes,strangled her with the leg of hertrousers, raped her and slit her throat three times. “Her handbag was missing.Sinclair would not be caught for another 23 years. “On Wednesday March 21 1979 the strangled and naked body of CarolLannen was found in Templeton Woods close to Clatto Reservoir, which is apopular fishing venue. “Her handbag and clothing would later be discovered some 80 miles away washed up on the riverbank of the River Don near Kintore, a popular salmon and trout river. “On February 26 1980, almost ayear after the murder of Carol Lannen, came the discovery of 20-year-old trainee nurse Elizabeth McCabe’s naked strangled body in Templeton Woodsjust 150 yards from Carol Lannen’smurder. “It would appear that she had been choked to death with her own blue jumper, which was similar to the Mary Gallagher method. “Her handbag and shoes werelater found thrown away some three miles away in Cobden Street, on the route to the River Tay and the Tay Bridge. “My personal thoughts are thatthese are Sinclair’s crimes,” Mr Clark concluded. Detective Superintendent Bobby Hendren, of Police Scotland’s Homicide Governance and Review, told TheCourier: “The murders of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe initially formed part of the Operation Trinityinvestigations that led ultimately to the conviction of Angus Sinclair for the World’s End murders. “In both cases all investigativeopportunities were explored and there were no charges brought in relation to the Dundee murders. “As with all unresolved crimes, these two murder investigations are subjectto periodic review and any new evidence identified by or brought to the police’s attention will be fully investigated,” he added.


Vincent Simpson says he has nothing to fear from Elizabeth McCabe ‘cold case’ review

February 1 2012

The man cleared of murder in the notorious Templeton Woods case has said he has nothing to fear from a fresh police probe. Vincent Simpson was tried in 2007 for the murder of 20-year-old nursery nurse Elizabeth McCabe in 1980. He walked free from the High Court in Edinburgh after the jury returned a not guilty verdict. The former Angus taxi driver, who now lives in Surrey, has spoken after it emerged that officers are to carry out a ''cold case'' review of the evidence to see if there is any chance of bringing a new prosecution. He said: ''I am aware that the double jeopardy law has changed. I knew from talking to my lawyer that a review was to take place but it's part of the procedure. "Do I have anything to fear from it? Nothing whatsoever why should I? I was cleared by a jury and I'm not concerned about this at all.'' Mr Simpson said he had been put through ''a lot of hurt and grief'' and he still thought about it often. ''But it was tough on my wife Gillian too and of course it must be difficult for the family of Elizabeth McCabe her mother especially,'' he said. And he insisted: ''I didn't kill Elizabeth McCabe. I have my own thoughts about who did, but I won't say the name.''

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Man appears in court charged with attempted Templeton murder

August 9 2017

A 31-year-old man, Robbie McIntosh appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court accused of attempting to murder a woman in a vicious woodland attack. McIntosh appeared in private from custody before Sheriff Simon Collins QC on Wednesday afternoon, accused of the attempted murder of Dundee woman Linda McDonald. Ms McDonald is currently in a serious condition in Ninewells hospital, where she is being treated for a head injury after apparently being struck repeatedly with a dumbbell. McIntosh, of Rowan Place, Bridgefoot, made no plea and no declaration to two charges levelled against him. He was remanded in custody and committed for further examination. McIntosh was charged with attempted murder in Templeton woods on Monday August 7. The attempted murder charge alleges McIntosh repeatedly struck Linda McDonald, 52, on the head and body with a dumbbell, rendering her unconscious before dragging her along a path – to her permanent impairment and disfigurement, to the danger of her life and did attempt to murder her. The second charge alleges McIntosh attempted to defeat the ends of justice –  having allegedly committed the crime in charge one – by washing his clothes to conceal and destroy any evidence. McIntosh was remanded in custody and ordained to appear back before the court in Dundee within the next eight days. A heavy police presence was witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the alleged crime, both in Templeton woods, Clatto park and Bridgefoot. Officers continued to scour the area and maintained a cordon 24 hours after the incident is said to have occurred. Locals in the area reported seeing scores of police vans and cars lining the road toward Clatto reservoir, with dog walkers continuing to use the remaining open paths. Templeton woods has an infamous and uneasy history of murder, with the bodies of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe being discovered their in 1979 and 1980. Nobody has ever been convicted of killing the young women, but a cold case investigator and former police intelligence officer Chris Clark believes they may have been killed by World's End murderer Angus Sinclair.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose businesswoman and art therapist Elizabeth Walker

December 8 2016

Former Montrose businesswoman and art therapist Elizabeth Walker has died at the age of 87. Born in Montrose, she grew up living above her father, Bert Ritchie’s ironmongery business in Castle Street and enjoyed helping her parents in the shop during World War Two, when staff were scarce. After various jobs in Scotland and England, Elizabeth attended Hillcroft College in Surbiton and met Birmingham artist Syd Walker. They were married in St George’s Church, Montrose on Christmas Day 1954. In 1956 the couple moved to Montrose and the following year opened the Angus Pottery in Bridge Street. Together, they made a great team, with Elizabeth not only running the business side of things but learning how to fettle and glaze pots, as well as collaborating with Syd on developing new pottery products. When an articulated lorry jack-knifed into the shop and destroyed it in 1968, the couple turned disaster into opportunity by developing a former newsagents shop beside the Ballhouse into a craft shop and coffee house. In 1972, Elizabeth and Syd bought an old coach house in the Queen’s Close which they converted into The Stables art centre, a three storey gallery, pottery and studio, which ran for more than 30 years. Where Syd created with clay and paint, Elizabeth's artistic talents lay in fabrics and embroidery. Those talents and her love of working with others led to her studying art therapy and working at Sunnyside Royal Hospital for 15 years, followed by consultancy at Dundee University and her own groups in Montrose. A born storyteller, Elizabeth was a frequent visitor to local primary schools, sharing her memories of growing up during the war. She also enjoyed writing short stories and poems and in 2014, Elizabeth’s wartime stories were taken to the Edinburgh Fringe, when she worked with her daughter, Fiona, on Taking Aim, a performance poem about Elizabeth’s father being in a First World War firing squad. A great sadness in Elizabeth’s life was when her friend, 22-year-old Lieutenant John McDonald was killed in the Malayan Conflict in 1951, and in 1992 she was instrumental in having his name added to Montrose War Memorial. For many years Elizabeth created and choreographed the UV sequences in Montrose Panto Group productions, and she enjoyed being props mistress in many amateur productions in Montrose Town Hall. She is survived by her daughters, five grandsons and three great-grandchildren and her funeral service will take place at Old and St Andrew’s Church, Montrose on Tuesday at 12.30pm.


Games jam played out well in Dundee

September 25 2016

Dundee  developers have come up with new virtual reality games in just 24 hours as part of a competition. A games jam took place from 4pm on Thursday until 4pm on Friday at Tag Games, resulting in games prototypes with names like Spider Spider, Mouse of Horrors and Terminal Station. The developers also created their own answer to the famous Boaty McBoatface, with a game titled Vanny McVanFace. Virtual reality, a form of technology that simulates a player's presence in a replica of a real environment, is said to be the future of games with some VR versions already present in many living rooms. Tag's marketing executive Gavin Moffat said: "At the games jam, staff split into four teams of four people - a designer, an artist and programmers. "They then had 24 hours to design a game prototype. "You would struggle to design a full game in that time, although it could be done if you're extremely good and the game is simple. "But with a prototype, you could then spend months perfecting and polishing it into a full game. "Some really great ideas can come out of these jam - you have to be creative and work fast. It was a great event. "This time the theme was virtual reality. Virtual reality headsets are already being used but it's difficult to say whether they'll become the default in gaming. "It could be the case that it's popular for a few years and then people get bored of it, or it could remain popular. "However, it certainly has great potential." Over the past 20 years Dundee has become an international hub for games developers with the world's biggest-selling video game - Grand Theft Auto - starting life in the city. Games jam are popular events where games developers get together to brainstorm ideas and create new prototypes within a short space of time.