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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...


US paedophile ‘a master manipulator’

May 11 2010

An American paedophile who sexually targeted a vulnerable Fife boy at Dundee's Olympia Leisure Centre has been described as "a master manipulator" by one of his child victims. Brian Christian Hohman (46), from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was jailed for a year and put on the sex offenders register for 10 years by Sheriff Richard Davidson last week for an act of gross indecency. The case has caused outrage, prompting questions over how the dangerous sexual predator was able to travel freely without being monitored or notification of his movements relayed to authorities in the countries he visited. At Berkshire Superior Court in the US in March 1993, Hohman admitted four counts of rape, nine counts of rape and abuse of a child without force, nine counts of indecent assault and battery on a child aged 14 or over, six counts of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was ordered to serve a state prison sentence of up to 10 years. Hohman spent six years behind bars in Massachusetts, but his jail term did nothing to rein in his craving for sexually assaulting juveniles. Some of Hohman's Berkshire County victims have come forward after his latest assault in Dundee. One man, who is now in his mid-30s and asked to remain anonymous, said Hohman was "cunning, dangerous and unrepentant." The victim, who is married and has a child, said, "He's truly a predator. He is a master manipulator. "Not even six years in prison changed his behaviour."Victim's "silent sentence"The victim bumped into Hohman in a marketplace soon after he was released from prison in the late 1990s. He said, "I was with my wife shopping and I saw him with a woman with a baby in a shopping cart." The victim described the meeting as one of the worst moments of his life, adding, "I just grabbed my wife, pulled her close to me and said, 'That's Brian'." He underwent years of counselling to deal with being the victim of a sexual assault. "It is a silent sentence you live with this every day for the rest of your life." At his Dundee trial Hohman's solicitor said he was a landscape gardener who travelled abroad in winter. Initially he stayed at Cambo House in Fife but, after he was charged, moved to Murray Place, St Andrews, and has been in Perth Prison after his admission of the Dundee offence. Three youngsters from a children's unit in Kirkcaldy had been taken on an outing to Olympia. Hohman spoke to the boys in the changing rooms. The boys had gone into the pool and then returned to the changing room, where Hohman had told the victim there was a pornographic image in the toilets and made an indecent suggestion to him. The boy became alarmed and told his friend. Staff were alerted and police attended but Hohman had left. Police were unable to trace him, but six days later he returned to Olympia. It emerged during the case that Hohman had an American passport, which has since been surrendered to the court. The Department of Justice admitted there was no blanket policy on whether offenders under supervision in the US were required to give up their travel documents. Although Hohman's name is no longer listed on the website for the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, it still appears on a national registry for sex offenders and Florida's registry.


US ‘travelling paedophile’ revelation

April 1 2010

An American paedophile, who preyed on a vulnerable teenager at the Olympia swimming pool in Dundee, was able to travel the world unhindered and off the law enforcement radar, it emerged last night. The US Department of Justice confirmed that it has no system for alerting other countries to border-crossing predators like Brian Hohman. The alarming loophole was exposed by The Courier amid outcry over the monitoring of Hohman, a convicted child rapist registered as a sex offender in three US states. The Dundee case prompted a sheriff at the city's court to speculate that the 46-year-old was a potential "international travelling paedophile." Politicians have since demanded answers on why the American authorities failed to share information on Hohman with their British counterparts. Asked about the case, department of justice senior policy advisor Lori McPherson said that measures to restrict the foreign travel of potential perverts were still in development. "At present, there is no established notification system regarding registered sex offenders as they depart the United States," she said. "Section 128 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (as expanded on in its final guidelines) directed the Attorney General, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and State Department, to develop a system for tracking registered sex offenders as they depart and enter the United States. "The Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) has taken the lead on this work and has organised an international working group to develop such a system, consisting of multiple component offices from the Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense. "The system that this working group is developing is not yet operational and has not been deployed." Ms McPherson said that overseas authorities were told of potential threats travelling to their shores "in certain circumstances," but was unable to comment on whether Hohman was placed on a watch list. It is understood, however, no such notification took place when the sex offender left the USA for an extended holiday in Europe and South Africa in November. Hohman, who has a conviction for the rape and abuse of a child dating back to 1993, admitted at Dundee Sheriff Court last month that he made comments of a sexual nature to a 15-year-old boy at the Olympia centre, pointed out to him a pornographic image and attempted to make him commit an act of gross indecency. His victim was a youth from a Fife children's unit who had been taken on an outing. It emerged during the case that Hohman was in possession of an American passport, which has since been surrendered to the court. The Department of Justice admitted that there was no blanket policy on whether offenders under supervision in the United States were required to give up their travel documents. "It will depend on the court and/or supervision agency as to whether a registered sex offender is required to surrender their passport. Unless further action is taken by the court and/or law enforcement, however, that offender would likely be able to apply for and receive another passport," said Ms McPherson.


Paedophile Brian Hohman deported back to US

December 2 2011

An American paedophile who preyed on a vulnerable teenager at a Dundee swimming pool has been thrown out of the UK. The case of Brian Hohman prompted considerable anger last year when it emerged the US authorities had failed to notify the UK Border Agency that he had been placed on the register of sex offenders in three separate states. Despite previous convictions for child rape and sex abuse which had earned him a 10-year prison sentence in his homeland, he was free to travel the globe and entered the UK by apparently claiming to be a tourist. His lawyer told Dundee Sheriff Court that Hohman was a landscape gardener who travelled to other countries over the winter. Hohman was sentenced to 12 months in prison after admitting trying to persuade a 15-year-old boy to commit an indecent act at Dundee's Olympia Leisure Centre. Now it has been confirmed that he has been deported back to America and details of his criminal record will remain on file and be flagged up if he ever tries to return to the UK. ''We will seek to remove all foreign nationals who commit serious offences,'' said a UK Border Agency spokeswoman. ''Last year we deported 5,342 foreign national offenders from the UK.'' Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie was one of the prominent critics of the system which had allowed Hohman into the UK in the first place. ''I'm pleased the process has finally worked and that warnings will come in if he tries to come back to Scotland,'' he said.

UK & World

Dundee MPs demand foreign offenders review

March 30 2010

The home secretary has been urged to do more to ensure that convicted sex offenders from foreign countries can not enter the UK unchallenged. Dundee East and West MPs Stewart Hosie and Jim McGovern called on Alan Johnson to review procedures to ensure the monitoring of travellers with convictions coming into Britain was robust enough. American paedophile Brian Hohman was convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court on Friday of attempting to incite a 15-year-old boy to commit an indecent act at the city's Olympia centre on February 10. He made comments of a sexual nature to the boy, pointed a pornographic image out to him and attempted to make him commit an act of gross indecency. He also breached the peace. The 46-year-old from Massachusetts was able to enter the country because the US authorities failed to place his details on an international alert list that would have informed officers in the UK of his past.ConvictionThe UK Border Agency had no idea of the threat Hohman posed and allowed him to continue an extended tour of Europe and South Africa despite the fact he is a registered sex offender in three US states and has a 1993 conviction for the rape and abuse of a child. The landscape gardener -- who had visited several countries before travelling to a holiday cottage in Fife prior to the offence at Olympia -- was branded a potential "international travelling paedophile" when he came before Sheriff Richard Davidson at Dundee last week. The sheriff said Hohman was an extreme danger, especially to young boys, and remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing on May 7. He was also placed on the sex offenders register and will be deported back to America upon completion of his sentence. The Courier has repeatedly attempted to discuss the case with the US Department of Justice but our calls have not been returned.Watch listIt is understood Hohman has now been placed on the relevant watch list but his movements are curtailed anyway as he is in custody waiting to hear his fate from the court. Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie reiterated his concern over the case last night and said the British authorities had to do everything in their power to ensure there was no repeat. "What I have committed to do today is go back to the home secretary and ask if he is now satisfied that the procedures are robust enough and that anyone with similar convictions will not fall through the gaps (in future)," Mr Hosie said. "He needs to ask the question of the American authorities, would it not make more sense for anyone with similar convictions to be placed on the international alert register, irrespective of whether their intention is to travel or not. "The home secretary needs to satisfy himself that everything that could be done, and should be done, is in place."InvestigationDundee West MP Jim McGovern tabled a parliamentary question yesterday asking Mr Johnson for a full investigation of the case. His question stated, "To ask the secretary of state for the Home Department, if he will investigate with the UK Borders Agency how a known and convicted US sex offender was allowed into the UK where he committed and has been convicted of incitement to commit an indecent act in Dundee, and what changes will be made to ensure this doesn't happen again." The UK Border Agency previously told The Courier that everyone entering Britain was checked against a watch list but it was incumbent on an offender's country of origin to provide details-something that did not happen in the Hohman case. Director Steve Brassington said, "The onus for passing international information on to the UK police rests with the authorities in each country concerned. "Our priority is to protect the public and we seek to remove foreign law-breakers who commit serious offences from the UK at the earliest opportunity."


Tayside pool pervert held on $5,000 bail in US amid new allegations

April 10 2018

An American child rapist jailed for an act of gross indecency in Tayside in 2010 is being held on $5,000 bail amid new accusations. Brian Christian Hohman, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 54, was jailed for a year and put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years after trying to lure a vulnerable 15-year-old Fife boy to commit a sex act at a Dundee swimming pool. Hohman – who is still registered as a sex offender in three US states and the UK following his Dundee conviction- is currently awaiting trial at Central Berkshire District Court after being charged with assaulting an 18-year-old man in early October. He pled not guilty to one count of indecent assault and battery and the case is scheduled for a final pre-trial conference in May with the possibility of trial in May or July. In his most recent case, according to court documents, he allegedly tried to ply the man with marijuana and offered to pay cash for the man’s used underwear and pictures of his genitals. Judge Paul Smyth set bail at $5,000, with the conditions that he have no contact with the alleged victim and remain at least 100 yards away. The man reported the alleged assault to Pittsfield police and identified Hohman as the perpetrator via a photo line-up. From 1989 to 1992, Hohman assaulted eight males, ages 12 to 17. He pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on March 29, 1993, to four counts of rape; nine counts of rape and abuse of a child without force; nine counts of indecent assault and battery on a child age 14 or over; six counts of indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over; and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Hohman spent six years behind bars in Massachusetts. In June 2002, he pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender in New York, and in June 2007, in Massachusetts, he was charged with being a fugitive from justice. In November 2007, the equivalent of a fine from the prosecuting authority was imposed on him for sexual assault and he was fined $1,000. He was not placed on the international alert list by the US authorities before he left the USA for an extended holiday in Europe and South Africa in November 2009. A police report showed that he travelled to London, Fife, Johannesburg and Tenerife and then went to a holiday cottage in Fife. The Dundee case caused outrage, prompting questions over how he was able to travel freely without being monitored or notification of his movements relayed to authorities in the countries he visited. Three youngsters from a children’s unit in Kirkcaldy had been taken on an outing to Olympia in Dundee on February 10 2010. Hohman spoke to the boys in the changing rooms. Hohman told one boy there was a pornographic image in the toilets and made an indecent suggestion to him. The boy became alarmed and told his friend. After being released from Perth Prison, Hohman returned to the US. He was fined $250 in January 2015 for failing to register as a sex offender. In June 2015, he was fined after being found guilty at Southern Berkshire District Court of sexual conduct for a fee and accosting or annoying another person after repeatedly propositioning a man, who also declined his advances.  

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

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.


Community rallies round family who ran up $16,000 bills during US medical emergency

October 22 2015

The mother of a toddler who passed out four times in the US has incurred more than £10,000 of medical bills there. Cindi Nicolson rushed her three-year-old daughter Aaliyah to hospital when she took ill on a trip to New York State. After training in Scots law for five years Cindi, who lives in Errol, was taking the US bar exam with the hope of creating a new life in the States with her fiance Stefanie, when Aaliyah took ill. “The hospital in New York said they thought it was exhaustion in the end after a series of tests,” Cindi said. “But they said to get her checked over at home, which we did, and are waiting on her results from her blood tests from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh last week.” Aaliyah had to be kept in hospital in Albany for more than 24 hours and have a series of tests before she was allowed to fly home. The total bill came to $16,000. Cindi, who is very involved in the Dundee music scene, has thanked those who threw a fundraising gig to help her pay the bill. Music for Medicine took place at Buskers and was organised Bob Boyd, Alan MacWilliam, Paul McGowan, Dougie McGregor and Brian Howman. The acts taking part were Sons of Nicol, Billy Mitchell, Kenny Martin, Recycled Teens, Mama’s Baby, 6th Street Tour Band, Graham Brown Band, the Howling Wolves and Bravado. Cindi said: “Thank you to everyone who donated, including Bob Boyd, Steve Aitken, Gavin Swadel, Dougie McGregor, Mike Cormie, Dougie Black, Karen Brownlee, Margaret Davidson, Ryan Galloway, Eileen Hood, TC, Vicki Low, Grant McKenzie, Maggie Smith and Brian Howman. “They were amazing people. They raised about £1,000 and are still auctioning things.” A further £700 has been raised via a fundraising page set up by Cindi’s sister Angie Partridge and her niece Melanie Relffe-Arnold while Aaliyah was still undergoing treatment in the US. Angie has written on the page: “Unfortunately Cindi did not take out medical insurance and is currently worried sick about her daughter. “It’s easy to say she should have taken out insurance but she didn’t as she has so little money at the moment and is now down to her last £10. “It could happen to any of us and we would want our child/grandchild/niece to have care.” The fundraising page can be found at www.gofundme.com/5w8gcn5z4.

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