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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...

Perth & Kinross

New inquest is ‘beginning of the end’ says Perth soldier’s mother

July 19 2014

The mother of a Perth soldier who died in mysterious circumstances has said she was confident that a new inquest will be held into his death after years of lobbying. The son of Yvonne Heath, 17-year-old James Collinson, was one of four young soldiers to die from gunshot wounds at Deepcut barracks in Surrey. High Court judges have ordered an inquest into the death of soldier Private Cheryl James. Mrs Heath welcomed the legal breakthrough as a significant development in the families’ quest for the truth. She believes this will inevitably pave the way for inquests into the deaths of all the young soldiers who died between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse. Cheryl James’s parents, Des and Doreen, applied through human rights campaign group Liberty for a new inquest after the Human Rights Act was used to secure access to documents held by the authorities about the teenager’s death. “This case is the first one through the gate and the other three will follow,” said Mrs Heath, who now lives in Cheshire. “Someone had to go first and I am absolutely delighted for Des and Doreen James. I am so flabbergasted and very emotional it is the beginning of the end.” High Court judges Mr Justice Mitting and Judge Peter Thornton QC have now both agreed that there was “an insufficiency of inquiry” at the 1995 inquest into Cheryl James’s death and quashed its open verdict. Judge Thornton said “the discovery of new facts or evidence” made “a fresh investigation including a fresh inquest necessary or desirable in the interests of justice”. Mr and Mrs James said they were “delighted” to have a fresh inquest but “a meaningful inquiry into Cheryl’s death is almost 20 years late”. They said in a statement: “When young people die in violent circumstances, a rigorous and transparent investigation should be automatic. “Something went dreadfully wrong at Deepcut yet until now no one has bothered to look at how and why our daughter died. “We can only hope that Cheryl’s legacy helps change the current ineffective and discredited military justice system.”

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

Perth & Kinross

Tributes paid to tragic Perth pensioner Billy Clark

July 25 2016

Tributes have been paid to a Perth pensioner, with some describing him as “a gentleman” and others saying he “always had a hello for you.” Although a body found in Perth on Sunday afternoon has to be formally identified, police have contacted the family of 71-year-old Billy Clark following the grim find. The sad news came after an extensive search was carried out for Mr Clark, who had been reported missing from the Muirhall Road area of Perth around 7.30pm on Saturday. Seven fire units arrived at Tay Street, Perth, on Sunday morning and spent nearly six hours searching the river for signs of Mr Clark. Police later confirmed a body had been found in the Perth area and that officers had told Mr Clark’s family of the find. As a result, scores of people have posted messages of condolence to his family on social media. Louise Smith, Mr Clark’s niece, said: “Heartbreaking. RIP Uncle Billy. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” And Kenny Tunn posted: “RIP Bill. Lovely man. Always had a hello for you.” And similar sentiments were expressed by Jamie Fairlie, who posted: “RIP. Thoughts are with his family – what a gentleman.” Other Perth residents expressed their sadness, with Debbie Smith commenting: “Thoughts are with the family and friends.” And Margaret Latto added: “So sad. Thoughts are with his family.” Jackie Unsworth posted: “So sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to his family. RIP Billy.” * During the search of the Tay, firefighters identified a piece of metal they had concerns for and the bomb disposal squad were called. However, it turned out to be a simple metal pole.

UK & World

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.

UK & World

Deepcut soldier’s family ‘close to justice’

May 18 2015

A review into the death of a young soldier at the Deepcut Army barracks where Private James Collinson from Perth died in mysterious circumstances opens on Tuesday. The father of Private Cheryl James, 18 said the family is “finally close to gaining justice” ahead of a pre-inquest review into her death. Pte James was undergoing initial training when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose in November 1995. She was one of four soldiers, including James Collinson, who died from gunshot wounds at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse. Last year High Court judges ordered a fresh inquest into Pte James’s death after they quashed an open verdict recorded in December 1995. The pre-inquest review will consider Surrey Police’s request that Pte James’s inquest should be heard alongside inquests into the deaths of the other three soldiers. Her family have voiced concerns that doing so could cause further delays because fresh inquests have yet to be ordered into the deaths of Pte Benton, Pte Collinson and Pte Gray. Pte James’s father Des James said: “Each of the young people who died at Deepcut deserves the dignity of their death being individually investigated. “After a two-decade battle, we’re finally close to gaining justice for Cheryl but it’s a sad irony that our new Government is now intent on axing the Human Rights Act, without which we could never have got this far.” The coroner is also expected to decide whether Pte James’s body will be exhumed, the date and scope of the inquest and whether there will be a jury . Emma Norton, lawyer for Liberty which is representing the family, said: “Cheryl’s family have had to fight every step of the way for answers about their daughter’s death - and thanks to the Human Rights Act, justice is finally within reach. “Twenty years on from her death, her parents deserve answers - not the cruelty of further delays.” Meanwhile, Liberty paid tribute to Pte Benton’s mother Linda, who died on Friday. “Linda remained determined to the end,” Ms Norton said. “She refused to accept that Sean had simply committed suicide. The rumours of bullying, abuse and the fundamental unanswered questions were too strong and too real to ignore.”

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.


Dundee mum’s final wish granted at daughter’s wedding day

December 5 2013

A young Dundee bride has granted her dying mum’s final wish by tying the knot. Cheryl Soutar, 26, found out she had just a fortnight to plan her big day after her mum was diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer. But her mother, Michelle Shirkey, 47, watched with pride as her daughter married Kevin in the Mirage on St Andrews Street. Cheryl, from the Fintry area of the city, said: “I’ve got everything I need now and I couldn’t ask for more. I’ve got what I need, which is my mum at my wedding and that’s perfect. “I will cherish the day forever, so thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen for my mum. “I really can’t believe how amazing everyone has been and a big thank you to Ann Dodds, my wedding planner, for getting so much done so quickly.” The mum-of-three’s wedding dress came all the way from Essex and dozens of people from across Tayside pulled together to make the big day a success. Cheryl received donations for everything from the flowers to beauty treatments and photography. And family and friends flocked to watch her walk down the aisle. Michelle has been having treatment in Ninewells Hospital for lung cancer, which spread to her spleen. She was first diagnosed in August this year, but took a turn for the worse last month. Her daughter has been by her side day and night and being at Cheryl’s wedding was Michelle’s final wish. One anonymous well-wisher even sent a £500 donation so Michelle could get a new outfit for the big day. Charity fundraiser Charlie Kean helped out with some of the donations and said it was a great day for the family. He said: “It’s brilliant that it has all come together for Cheryl. Everybody wanted to help. Everybody knew the circumstances and wanted to pull together. “It was a hard position for Cheryl to be in and I tried to help as much as I could. Michelle is so lovely and I have visited her in hospital a few times. It was a great day for the family. “They had everything organised and it was remarkable that they pulled it off.”


‘I have to run away’ kidnap victim fears for life when ex-partner is released from prison

September 26 2013

A kidnap victim said she would never be the same again after her former partner abducted her and subjected her to a “horrendous” ordeal. Cheryl Timmons, 30, bravely spoke out, saying she had feared for her life when partner of 14 years John Lindsay held her against her will. On Wednesday. Lindsay, 33, was handed a six-year extended sentence at Dundee Sheriff Court for the attack in March. He will spend four years of that sentence in prison and the remaining two in the community on licence, but Cheryl said she is still living in fear. “I was afraid for my life,” she said. “I thought I knew him, obviously I didn’t. I feel like I have to run away when he gets out.” A jury previously found Lindsay guilty of assaulting, abducting and detaining her against her will at locations in Dundee. The court heard he butted her, placed her in a headlock and compelled her to go upstairs to a bedroom. He then bound her wrists and ankles with tape, covered her mouth with tape, uttered threats towards her and abducted her on March 25. Lindsay was also found guilty of preventing her from leaving the house and detaining her against her will. Defending, solicitor Kevin Hampton said his client, who is a prisoner at Perth Prison, was aware that a lengthy custodial sentence was “inevitable” in his case. Lindsay had been subject to a psychiatric report after the trial. Sheriff George Way said: “Having read the report it seems totally clear, because he does not have a treatable psychiatric condition, he needs to have psychological assistance. “I am satisfied that because he accepts there is a need for behavioural adjustment in the community I can deal with this by way of an extended sentence. “Part of it will be served in the community.” Sheriff Way told Lindsay he had subjected Cheryl to a “horrendous experience”. He said: “In the circumstances it seems to me that an extended sentence of six years is appropriate. Four years of that will be in custody and two years will be in the community.” He told Lindsay he would be required to comply with any supervision felt necessary. Cheryl said she was grateful to the sheriff for handing Lindsay the lengthy sentence. However, she said she was still afraid for her life. “He’s ruined my life. I will never be the same again,” she said. “I want everyone to know what he’s capable of. I was with him for 14 years. He just left a big hole in all of our hearts.” Cheryl’s friend, who was with her in court, added: “She was 16 when she met him. She’s so used to being his other half she’s going to have to find her whole.”

Angus & The Mearns

VIDEO: US star Jenn Bostic’s praise an ‘insane’ surprise for budding Angus singer

March 25 2014

An up-and-coming Tayside singer has been left stunned after flowing praise by an award-winning American pop star. Cheryl Brown, 17, from Arbroath was moved to tears when she heard Nashville-based artist Jenn Bostic’s Jealous of the Angels for the first time and decided to cover the song on her YouTube page. The emotional ballad explores the grief experienced by Bostic following the loss of her father, a sentiment Cheryl identified with following the death of a close friend this year, Michael McKay. Michael, of Arbroath, died on February 8 following a battle with cystic fibrosis and Cheryl had formed a close friendship with him in the year leading up to his death. She decided to cover the song in honour of Michael and received a wealth of positive feedback from viewers for her heartfelt rendition of the piece. https://www.youtube.com/embed/pBg9btpGqKU?rel=0 Cheryl emailed the cover to Bostic and was reduced to tears again but this time they were tears of joy after the country music star told the Arbroath girl she was “honoured” Cheryl had covered the song. Bostic wrote to Cheryl saying: “I am honoured that you covered the song. Thank you so much for sending it as well. It’s gorgeous. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenn.” The Tayside singer said the comment left her stunned and overwhelmed with the praise and cited Bostic as one of her main inspirations. “I started crying when I read the reply from Jenn and got really emotional,” said Cheryl. “To have her say that she was honoured was insane because she’s one of my inspirations. “I became really good friends with Michael last summer and wanted to cover the song for him. I’m not that good with words so it let me express myself in my own way.” Cheryl has amassed followers online and through gigs at venues with her simple but honest acoustic style. She enlisted the help of her grandfather, a keen videographer, to help make her video of the recording.