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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...


Stobswell resident’s anger at persistent car vandalism

August 2 2011

A Stobswell resident has hit out at the actions of vandals after once again having his car's wing mirrors kicked off. Wayne Tams (29), who lives in the area with his partner Nicola and their three-month-old son, says he and his neighbours have had their cars vandalised on various different occasions in the past couple of years. He says while he does not blame the police "something has to be done" to rid the area of the scourge, and is meeting with Councillor Craig Melville today to discuss the matter. Mr Tams, an electronic engineer, underlined his determination to face up to the problem saying, "It's either that or you just have to give in and move away from the area. "Between our two cars we've had about 10 different bouts of vandalism, from scratches to people running over the roof and denting the bodywork. "I just got the wing mirrors repaired about a month ago from the last time they were damaged. The police do what they can and I don't blame them, but maybe a bit more visibility would help. "The obvious thing is CCTV, although you can't put that everywhere, and I've even thought about putting a camera in, but you only see things after they've happened. "I've been in touch with all the ward councillors and I've got a meeting tomorrow with Councillor Craig Melville to discuss what can be done. It's just frustrating for us and the neighbours, we're all frustrated. "I just feel I need to do something, there's got to be something you can do." A police spokesman confirmed the matter had been reported to them and said they were giving the area extra attention. Mr Tams revealed the vandals targeted his Vauxhall Corsa and at least three others last Friday night or Saturday morning ironically on the day he was trading the vehicle in for a new car. "Thankfully it was repairable so it was okay," he added. Three months ago Mr Tams and his fellow residents on Pitkerro Road saw their cars targeted in another weekend spate of vandalism, with at least six vehicles having their nearside wing mirrors wrenched from door frames. Cars and other vehicles throughout the Stobswell and Maryfield area have also previously been the targets for vandals, with scores of residents waking up to find their vehicles scratched or dented and wing mirrors and aerials torn off. In April, police charged two 13-year-old boys after hundreds of pounds of damage was caused to cars during a vandalism rampage in the Mid Craigie area of Dundee. The boys were reported to the Children's Panel.


Dundee Matters: Craig Melville just another politician unable to admit when he’s wrong

March 19 2018

Craig Melville, Alex Salmond and MSP Mark McDonald all made the headlines for the wrong reasons last week. All three SNP - or former SNP - politicians put on displays of arrogance and hubris that must have left First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with her head in her hands. McDonald, the MSP for Aberdeen Donside and one-time childcare and early years minister, quit the SNP after a party probe into his behaviour towards women. Although McDonald admitted his behaviour had caused distress and quit his party, he has decided to continue serving as an independent MSP - and drawing his £60,000-a-year salary - despite being urged to quit by Ms Sturgeon. Things got worse for the SNP when former First Minister Alex Salmond tried to defend Kremlin propaganda station RT, home  of The Alex Salmond Show, by saying it is just the same as other media outlets like the BBC. RT seeks to equivocate Russian actions in places like Ukraine and Syria while undermining trust in Western governments. The BBC, which Mr Salmond denigrated for its "propaganda" during the independence referendum, might make mistakes in its news coverage, but is not a wedge being used to promote the interests of a gangster state, unless there's more to Bargain Hunt than meets the eye. Russia stands accused of the first use of chemical nerve agents on European soil since the second world war but Salmond is, unwittingly or not, giving credence to those Manichean conspiracy theorists who believe everything the UK does is intrinsically bad. While Ms Sturgeon spoke like a leader in her condemnation of Russia, her predecessor was advancing arguments barely worthy of a bedroom blogger. At the lower end of the scale, former Maryfield councillor Craig David Melville was finally found guilty of sending Islamophobic texts to his lover Nadia El-Nakla on the night of the Bataclan terror attack in Paris. Like McDonald, who seems to think his own redemption is more important than how his return to Holyrood will affect his victims, Melville seems unable or unwilling to accept when he's wrong or the consequences of his actions. Despite having to quit politics, he chose to put his own young family through the humiliation of having their dirty laundry aired in public. Nor does he seem able to grasp how offensive and distressing his messages actually were. Perhaps Melville, McDonald and Salmond genuinely all believe themselves to be in the right. Perhaps an absence of doubt is a prerequisite of a career in politics. But let's hope not. If the remarkable rise of Donald Trump to power in the US has shown us anything it's that while simple answers may be superficially attractive, they are rarely effective. Being able to admit when you get things wrong is a sign of maturity, not weakness. And while Melville, as his solicitor intimated, is no doubt filled with regret about the end of his political career, what should really bother him is this: his replacements as councillor in Maryfield, Lynne Short, has done more for her constituents, her party and her city  in the two years since her election than he did in his near seven-year career in the City Chambers.


Racist text message trial of former SNP councillor continues

January 26 2018

The trial of a former senior Dundee SNP councillor accused of sending racist text messages continued on Thursday morning. Craig Melville, 37, is accused of acting in a threatening and abusive manner towards Nadia El-Nakla, a former SNP colleague. It is alleged Melville, who had been having an extra-marital relationship with Ms El-Nakla, sent messages saying he wanted to "shoot" Muslims following the Paris terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theatre in 2015. Melville is further accused of referring to Muslims as "filth" and saying a particular Islamic youth worker in Dundee should be "buried alive". He and Ms El-Nakla had worked together in the SNP office on Old Glamis road. She was a case worker for Shona Robison MSP and Melville worked for Stewart Hosie MP – Ms Robison's ex-husband. Ms El-Nakla was asked by Melville's defence solicitor Douglas McConnell if it was possible the messages read out to Dundee Sheriff Court had been made up to "keep the heat" away from herself. Ms El-Nakla responded: "(This experience) has been a nightmare. I did not write these messages. Craig Melville did. I was not an elected member. I had an affair, which I didn't realise was a crime."   Ms El-Nakla said she regularly deleted messages sent to her by Melville because of their affair and that she saved his name on her phone under an alias. She said the got rid the messages in question after challenging Melville about them. "I found the messages upsetting. He said he felt bad about the messages and asked me to delete them," she said. Ms El-Nakla's estranged husband, Fariad Umar, told the court he downloaded the texts in December 2015 using software he had found via Google, after becoming suspicious of her behaviour. Mr Umar, an IT technician at Dundee University, said he initially reported Melville to SNP bosses because he felt someone representing the public should not hold those views. He also put the messages on to a CD which was handed to police a month later, he told the court. Mr Umar said: "I went to the SNP for them to take the matter further. "Someone in the party responded who said he would deal with it in-house and urgently. "I spoke with the police in January 2016...the story had come out in the press. My route was to go through the employer (the SNP) to see what they would do." Detective constables from Police Scotland also gave evidence at Thursday's trial. DC Paul McIlreavey told the court Ms El-Nakla submitted her phone to officers for examination, but despite a thorough search, none of the alleged messages could be recovered by specialist forensic officers. DC David McLeod noted messages which had been sent via Apple's iMessage service sometimes could not be recovered. Melville, of Marlee Road, denies sending threatening, derogatory and abusive remarks regarding Muslims between November 13 - 15 2015 to Nadia El-Nakla. Final submissions are due to be heard when the trial reconvenes before Sheriff Scott Pattison on March 15.


Former police officer David Melville

April 9 2010

Former Dundee City and Tayside Police officer David Melville has died after a short illness. Mr Melville, who was 80, was born in Dundee and attended St Joseph's Primary and St John's High School. He saw national service with the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1948-1949 then worked with a Dundee rubber company until 1955. He joined Dundee City Police in 1955 and worked on the Kirkton, Mid Craigie and city centre beats. He moved to traffic in 1969 staying there until he retired in 1985 and was promoted to sergeant. Mr Melville's son Brian joined Tayside Police in 1982 and grandson David also joined in 2005. They are still both serving officers with the force. Mr Melville was also a member of Fairfield Bowling Club and Dundee Indoor Bowling Club. He is survived by wife Lavinia and the late Agnes, sons David and Brian, and grandchildren Gordon, Craig, David and Fiona.


Trial of former SNP councillor continues

January 25 2018

The trial of a former senior Dundee SNP councillor accused of sending racist text messages continued on Thursday morning. Craig Melville, 37, is accused of acting in a threatening and abusive manner towards Nadia El-Nakla, a former SNP colleague. It is alleged Melville, who had been in an extra-marital relationship with Ms El-Nakla, sent messages saying he wanted to "shoot" Muslims following the Paris terrorist attacks at the Bataclan theatre in 2015. Melville is further accused of referring to Muslims as "filth" and that a particular Islamic youth worker in the city should be "burried alive". Ms El-Nakla finished giving evidence at Dundee Sheriff Court on Thursday morning, before Sheriff Scott Pattison. She was asked by Melville's defence solicitor Douglas McConnell whether there was a possibility the messages read out to the court had been made up to "keep the heat" away from herself. Ms El-Nakla responded: "(This experience) has been a nightmare. I did not write these messages. Craig Melville did. I was not an elected member. I had an affair, which I didn't realise was a crime." She further noted, during cross examination by Mr McConnell, she and her estranged husband had spoken to the press after initially raising the allegedly racist text messages with SNP party chiefs. Melville, of Marlee Road, denies sending threatening, derogatory and abusive remarks regarding Muslims between November 13 - 15 2015 to Nadia El-Nakla. The trial continues.

Perth & Kinross

Former council planning expert’s second indecent image conviction

January 11 2018

A once-respected planning expert has been convicted of possessing indecent images of children for a second time. Blair Melville, of Kinross, has been assessed as "high risk" of further sexual offending and of posing a "medium risk" to the public. The assessment of his threat was made by the Tay Project, which works with sex offenders. It recommended stringent conditions and restrictions - including limiting his computer use - be imposed to prevent him offending in the future. The 62-year-old was caught with a single illicit image on his mobile telephone following an intelligence-led police operation in 2015. As he appeared for sentencing at Perth Sheriff Court, it emerged he had committed a similar offence in 2009. Melville claimed to have turned to illegal images of children in each case during difficult periods in his marriage, which has now ended. The retiree was a member of the planning departments of Tayside Regional Council and Perth and Kinross Council. He subsequently worked with Homes for Scotland, one of the country's leading industry lobby groups. He retired in 2016, a short time after his second offence came to light. Depute Fiscal Tina Dickie told the court: "In 2015, intelligence was received by Police Scotland that a device located at the accused's address had accessed an indecent image of a child. "As a result, a search warrant was executed and that led to the recovery.and examination of a mobile phone belonging to the accused. "It was found to contain one category C image." Melville, of Gallowhill, Kinross, subsequently admitted making an indecent image of a child at his home on May 9, 2015. Solicitor Sarah Meehan said her client had been highly regarded in both his professional and private lives and that the offences appeared at odds with that. "He accepts that he appears on a serious charge," she said. "Difficulties in his marriage led to these offences. He would accept that he needs further support to ensure he does not re-offend. Sheriff Gillian Wade told Melville: "The terms of the Tay Project report are deeply concerning. "They are that you are at very high risk of re-offending and at moderate risk of causing harm. Given the 2009 offence, the recidivism is also a concern." The sheriff said it was also "unusual" to see the Tay Project recommend such stringent conditions. Melville was placed upon a three year community payback order as a direct alternative to imprisonment. He will be under the supervision of social workers and has been ordered to undertake a group-work programme to address his offending behaviour. Meville will be on the sex offenders register for three years.

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.


Councillor warns it’s getting harder to sniff out poo bag supplies

December 28 2012

A SHORTAGE of dog poo bags is causing a stink in Broughty Ferry. Ferry councillor Laurie Bidwell says some of his constituents have been unable to pick up bags from their usual suppliers over recent weeks. Others have been limited to small amounts, which has raised fears that the council is phasing out the supply of the bags in an effort to cut costs. He has now warned the council to watch their step with any plans to save money by ending supplies of the green bag. Mr Bidwell said: “A number of constituents have approached me to complain about the short supply of the council’s dog poo bags. “Earlier this month these constituents tried the library and their vets and they were both out of stock. “When they returned a few days later to the library on Queen Street, they were limited to one bundle of bags even though they own more than one dog. “I have written to the director of environmental services, Ken Laing, and the convener of the environment committee, Councillor Craig Melville, to inquire why Broughty Ferry residents are losing out. “I have also asked for reassurance that these shortages will be sorted out without further delay.” Mr Bidwell said he has also pressed the convener and the director as to any plans for cutting back or even phasing out the dog waste bags. Councillor Craig Melville said: “I would like to stress that we are committed to continuing the council’s successful policy of providing free dog poo bags to help in efforts to keep our city clean. “The vast majority of dog owners in Dundee take responsibility for their pets and this is why the free bags prove to be very popular. “I am pleased at this response from people across the city. There is no shortage of these bags in Dundee.” awilson@thecourier.co.uk