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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...

Angus & The Mearns

September trial date for pair accused of murder of Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie

March 4 2016

The trial of two people charged with the murder of a Montrose mum will be held in September. Steven Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 28, are accused of killing Kimberley MacKenzie at a flat in the Angus town last October. Prosecutors allege the 37-year-old was struck with a hammer, machete and knife or similar items. It is claimed Ms MacKenzie’s body was dismembered using a saw, knives and a screwdriver or similar instruments. Parts of the corpse are said to have been wrapped in bin liners and bags and hidden in bins at a number of addresses in Montrose. It is further alleged her head and other body parts were put inside a rucksack and case and concealed in a shower cubicle. Walls, floors and other surfaces of the flat are said to have been cleaned. Caustic soda and bleach are also alleged to have been poured into a bath and clothes and footwear disposed of. The charge claims this was all done “with intent to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution”. As well as the murder charge, Jackson and Higgins face an allegation of attempting to defeat the ends of justice. Jackson is further charged with two separate drugs accusations as well as having a machete in a public place. Higgins faces a similar allegation of having a knife. The pair appeared for a short hearing at the High Court in Glasgow today. Jackson’s QC Donald Findlay and Higgins’ lawyer Mark Stewart QC each pled not guilty on their behalf. Judge Lady Scott set a trial due to take place in September in Edinburgh.

Angus & The Mearns

Police failed to find body in small Montrose flat, murder trial hears

December 2 2016

Police officers searching for a missing woman in a single-bedroom flat failed to find her butchered body lying in the bath, the High Court in Glasgow has been told. A search of murder accused Steven Jackson’s home was conducted without a single officer opening the door of his bathroom to look inside. The body of Kimberley Mackenzie was within, according to witnesses. It has emerged that four police officers carried out searches at Jackson’s home in Market Street, Montrose. Each admitted they had failed to open the bathroom door, with the officers blaming “miscommunication” and “distraction”. During two visits on the same day, they looked under a bed, opened cupboards, searched behind curtains in the living room and poked around the kitchen. The failure to enter the bathroom left presiding judge Lady Rae bemused and she questioned the methods used by Police Scotland. Having heard evidence from three officers it fell to Montrose PC Debbie Ironside to answer for the failings. Lady Rae asked the officer what it meant to search a house, adding “ do you mean just part of the house?”. The officer replied: “It means all of the house. I will search half of a property and a colleague will search the other half.” Lady Rae replied: “Is there some special system because you are the fourth officer that did not search the bathroom. The witness said colleagues “did usually communicate” but admitted that had not taken place on that occasion. PC Ironside admitted her attention had been drawn, midway through her search by a number of heavy duty black bags, half-filled with unknown but bulky contents and a chainsaw. The jury heard she and a colleague had accepted the explanation offered by Jackson, who told them: “There’s nothing to worry about. It belongs to a friend. There’s not even a motor in it.” The officers did not search the bags and did not to complete their search of the flat. The court heard how during the multiple visits by Police Scotland Jackson had been calm and unflappable and officers undertaking what was, at that time, a missing person inquiry had found nothing untoward. But during a return visit on November 4, as the search for missing Ms Mackenzie continued, officers were assaulted by the smell of death as they knocked on the door. PC Garry Smith said when he arrived with his colleague PC Michael Woodburn, they were aware of “a smell you would associate with a dead body” from the communal stairwell. Incense was being used to mask the smell. Moments after their arrival at his flat on November 4, Jackson had admitted killing his former partner Kimberley MacKenzie, PC Smith said. He told the High Court in Glasgow Jackson had made a series of admissions that began with his knowledge of her killing and his part in her death, before detailing her dismemberment and the disposal of her body in bins across Montrose. PC Smith said Jackson — identified in court as a drug dealer — confided in the officers that Miss Mackenzie had visited his flat and offered sex in exchange for drugs. That was overheard by co-accused Michelle Higgins, a heroin addict and his current partner, who had been in the flat’s single bedroom. He said she had run from the room with a hammer and had struck Miss Mackenzie “six or seven times in the head”. PC Smith continued: “He told us that he had finished Miss Mackenzie off by cutting her throat using a yellow-handled saw.” He was confessing at such a rate, the court heard, that the officers had trouble keeping up with their notetaking. He admitted cutting Miss Jackson’s body into numerous pieces in the bathtub. The parts were then placed in black bags, one of which burst and spilled blood on the living room floor. PC Smith said: “He said that he had cut her arms at the wrists, at the elbows and the shoulders, that he had cut her head off and cut her torso in two. “He had also cut her thighs off.” The body parts, he told the officers, had been placed in nearby bins on the street. He later admitted some parts had been moved to a house elsewhere in Montrose. CCTV footage was shown of Jackson and Higgins pulling suitcases through the streets between two locations named in charges. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins, 29, are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow. They deny murdering and dismembering 37-year-old Kimberley Mackenzie at Jackson’s flat in October last year. It is alleged they cut up Miss Mackenzie’s body and put her parts into bins at Market Street, Paton’s Lane, Chapel Street and William Phillips Drive. Jackson and Higgins are also alleged to have cleaned and bleached the walls of the flat and disposed of a bloodstained rug. Both deny murder. The trial continues.

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers appoint Darren Jackson as assistant manager

May 25 2016

Raith Rovers have announced that Darren Jackson has been appointed as new boss Gary Locke’s assistant. Locke, who was unveiled last Friday at Stark’s Park as the successor to Ray McKinnon, was previously a team-mate of Jackson’s when they were at Hearts together. The former Scotland striker was most recently working as a coach at Dundee United but he left the club when boss Jackie McNamara lost his job. He will now link up with Locke at Rovers. For more on this story, see tomorrow’s Courier.

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.


Raith Rovers win Celtic pay day in Scottish Communities League Cup

September 4 2012

Raith Rovers were handed a money-spinning plum tie when they were pulled out of the hat to face Celtic in the third round of the Scottish Communities League Cup. The draw also saw St Johnstone paired at home with Queen's Park, who knocked Dundee out in the last round. Dundee United face the long journey to Dumfries to play Queen of the South, while Dunfermline have a home tie against Aberdeen. The new Rangers will face SPL opposition for the first time with a tie at home to Motherwell. Raith Rovers striker Greig Spence says he will return to Celtic with a point to prove. Spence moved to Stark's Park in the summer having been released by the Hoops after three years at the club. The 20-year-old is delighted former team-mates Tony Watt and Jackson Irvine are beginning to make a name for themselves in the east end of Glasgow but hopes he is the one who is making the headlines when the two teams lock horns. Spence said: ''I was obviously at Celtic for a few years and I enjoyed my time there. It will be nice to go back there with some things to prove. ''I have a lot of friends still at Celtic and it's great to see people like Tony Watt, Marcus Fraser and Jackson Irvine all getting their chance in the team now. ''I'll be giving them a wee message later to see what they're saying about the draw. ''I've played at Celtic Park once in a Scottish FA youth cup semi-final but it will be good to play in a competitive game. There was only something like a few thousand at that match.''Full draw:Celtic v Raith RoversRangers v MotherwellSt Mirren v HamiltonQoS v Dundee UnitedHearts v LivingstonDunfermline v AberdeenSt Johnstone v Queen's PkStenhousemuir v Inverness Ties to be played Tuesday 25 or Wednesday 26 September.


Toulon 51 Glasgow 28: Stirring comeback sees Warriors awoken from nightmare in France

October 14 2013

For 40 minutes the world ganged up against Glasgow Warriors to deliver a morale-busting reality check in the Riviera sunshine. Gregor Townsend’s Pro12 pacesetters had flown to France with genuine hope of jolting the Euro champions in their opening Heineken Cup group game. But Toony and his charges could only gaze in envious amazement as they were ripped to shreds by the richest club in the global game in a 51-28 defeat. And then the Warriors awoke from their nightmare. At 34-0 adrift at the break, the shellshocked travelling fans feared a drubbing of cricket score proportions. Instead, they witnessed one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the Heineken Cup. Sadly, there was just too much damage to repair fully though the losing bonus point could prove precious in the long run. They may be called Toulon, but in reality they should be named the Best of the World, such is the pace, power and skill of thus band if past and present international superstars. Warriors couldn’t live with them before the interval but they bounced back heroically to not only match them but out-point them. Townsend grinned and groaned in equal measure as he relived his side’s game of two halves in France. He said: “I spoke to the lads and told them how proud I was of their second-half display. “But in the first half they didn’t show the effort and togetherness they had shown all season. For whatever reason they were not switched on, but after the interval they showed their true selves. “As coach, I did feel helpless sitting in the stand when we were leaking all these early tries. I can prepare the team but I cannot be with them out on the pitch. But we do approach every game to win it. “We were much better in the second half and it could have been even closer if we had taken a couple of late chances. “I am delighted we showed the fitness and desire that I know this squad has. We have another very hard Test against Exeter next weekend and we will have to be at our best from the start.” Glasgow had given as good as they got during the high-tempo opening exchanges and there was drama when Niko Matawalu thought he had put them in front. The Fijian pounced on a loose ball in midfield, hacked it deep into enemy territory and scooped it up before flopping over the line. But the video ref ruled he had marginally knocked on at the start of his pursuit and the score was chalked off. Toulon immediately took advantage of their reprieve as Jonny Wilkinson slotted a penalty in trademark calm style. The veteran England hero was back in the spotlight five minutes later to set up a slick try for countryman Delon Armitage, who evaded Ruaridh Jackson’s robust challenge to cross in the corner. Wilkinson banged over the extras from the widest possible angle. Glasgow’s response was positive and Mark Bennett almost burst through. They kept up the momentum with a series of patient phases, only to surrender the ball close to the line. Skipper Ally Kellock needed treatment for a blow to the jaw, but he was able to continue. Within seconds, Glasgow were dealt another crushing setback when Toulon created another score despite the final pop-pass to Maxime Mermoz drifting forward by at least a yard. Wilkinson stretching the gap to an ominous 17 points after the same number of minutes. And worse was to come as former All Blacks giant Chris Masoe was driven over by his pack-mates, with Wilko on target again. The legendary marksman was then forced off with a hand problem and replaced by French playmaker Freddie Michalak. And the match was effectively over as a contest after Mermoz pounced again for Toulon try No 4. Aussie Matt Giteau took over the boot duties to clip over the simple conversion, with Michalak slotting a penalty before the break. Undaunted, the Warriors made a sparkling start to the second half and they broke their duck through Dan van der Merwe, goaled by Ruaridh Jackson. Having had the cheek to score, Glasgow were quickly back under the cosh and Giteau scooted through a half-gap for No 5. But the Warriors refused to buckle and when Jackson sent Matawalu over, they sensed a glimmer of hope of at least salvaging a consolation point. Jackson converted then repeated the feat as Jonny Gray grabbed a third to narrow the gap to 20. And the Glasgow fans could scarcely believe their eyes when van der Merwe skipped in to complete his double. Jackson maintained his flawless kicking display and suddenly the volume of the home support tailed off. Michalak eased the Toulon jitters with another penalty, when he converted Giteau’s last-minute effort.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Victim’s blood found in ex-boyfriend’s flat

December 14 2016

Blood matching Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie's was found throughout her ex-boyfriend's flat, a jury has heard. Forensic biologist Jacqueline Sharp told Glasgow High Court a total of 45 blood spots were found at the Market Street property of murder accused Steven Jackson. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on one of his shoes. Ms Sharp said spots of blood were found on a sofa and armchair in the living room, as well as on a glass table and skirting board. More samples were taken from the hallway and bathroom. Asked by Advocate Depute Ashley Edwards if blood found at the bathroom door could have been caused by an injured person being carried into the room, Ms Sharp said: "Yes, that would be one explanation." Under cross examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, she also accepted there could be "thousands" of reasons. Miss Sharp said that some of the blood found in the flat had been diluted or smeared as if the area had been washed or cleaned. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins 29, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie. They face further allegations that they disposed of Miss MacKenzie's body parts in bins and cleaned the flat and bath with bleach and caustic soda. The court has heard the 37-year-old died at the flat in October, last year. Forensic scientist Barry Mitchell said traces of DNA matching Jackson were found on the handle of the suitcase which held Miss MacKenzie's severed head and thighs. Traces of Miss MacKenzie's blood were also found on one of Jackson's shoes. Mr Mitchell said the chances of the blood being anyone else's were one in more than a billion. The court heard more of Miss MacKenzie's blood was found on Higgins' mobile phone, underneath its outer casing. DNA and blood matching Miss MacKenzie were also found on a claw hammer found in Jackson's living room. The jury was also told Jackson had texted Miss MacKenzie on October 17 — 10 days before she died. He wrote: "I'm with Mishy now and it would be easier if you stop coming. Please. I really want to make a go of it with her." Miss MacKenzie replied: "Yeah, no probs. I'm sorry I've made things difficult 4 u. What happens when you get gear again. Will still sell me? x" Dr Robert Cumming, who examined Higgins while she was in police custody, told the court she had the initials SJ "carved" on her leg. The trial before Lady Rae continues.

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