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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...


New leads in Sandy Drummond murder case

March 28 2016

Police have thanked the public for bringing forward new information in the quest to solve a 25-year-old murder case. Claimed to be Fife’s only unsolved homicide, Sandy Drummond was found strangled outside his Boarhills cottage in June 1991. Nobody has ever been traced in connection with the crime, however, almost a quarter of a century on, officers responsible for reviewing the murder say they have been encouraged by the public response to an article that appeared in The Courier last month. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin of the Specialist Crime Division, based at Gartcosh, said: “We’ve received an excellent response from the public since the publication of the recent Courier article and I thank everyone who has taken the time to come forward. “At this time we’re still assessing the relevance of the new information provided, however I believe that the answers to Sandy’s death lie in the local community.” Mr Drummond’s body was found by an elderly walker just 200 yards from the cottage that he shared with his brother James. At first a senior officer at Fife Constabulary believed that the former Black Watch soldier had died of natural causes, though it soon became apparent that foul play had been involved. Mr Drummond was described as a loner and a man with no enemies. As police investigated his death, it soon emerged that a series of strange events had occurred in Mr Drummond’s life prior to his killing. He had worked at the Guardbridge Paper Mill before handing in his notice just days before he was murdered. He also withdrew hundreds of pounds of savings, almost all of which was recovered when police searched his home, ruling out robbery as a motive. The investigation also uncovered rumours of a car an orange or red Morris Marina being seen regularly outside his home, and a neighbour spotting Mr Drummond depositing a holdall in the countryside, though both reports failed to generate any leads. The Courier reported on the mystery last month in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of Mr Drummond’s murder, an article that prompted members of the public to come forward with new information for the police. Mrs Martin said all submissions would be studied accordingly, adding: “Time is no barrier and we will act on all information that is passed to us.”

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

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.


Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.


Dundee dealer facing jail for £54,000 cannabis haul

October 1 2015

A cannabis dealer found with £54,000 worth of the drug in a bag in his house has been warned to expect jail. Christopher Ferrie’s home in Dundee was raided on September 11 last year and as soon as officers entered he said: “It’s in that bag in there I’m just holding that for somebody.” Police found 18.9 kilos of cannabis in total mostly divided into 100 gram “slates” for onward distribution. Officers later interviewed Ferrie’s brother who told them he had been “regularly” buying the drug from Ferrie. Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court that the maximum street value of the cannabis was £54,000, though at the time it was divided up into deals worth a total of £35,910. Ferrie, 32, of Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to being concerned in the supply of cannabis. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC deferred sentence for social work background reports and released Ferrie on bail meantime. She said: “It is an offence that warrants custody. It is highly likely you will be sent to jail for this offence.”


Dundee man breached bail with drugs and illicit encounter

January 20 2014

Police found “an adult-sized lump” under the covers in a man’s bed while searching for drugs, Dundee Sheriff Court has heard. The “lump” turned out to be the girlfriend of a man who was banned from approaching her as a condition of his bail order. Kevin Wright, 27, of Hilltown, was arrested by police after they found Abi Drummond in his bedroom, along with a quantity of cannabis in his living room. Wright admitted breaching the bail condition on Thursday at Hilltown by possessing cannabis and by allowing Ms Drummond to enter his home and to stay overnight. Depute fiscal Beverley Adam said police had stopped him in the street at about 11.15am and he had dropped a rolled cigarette which smelled of cannabis. He was also smelling strongly of the drug and, while nothing was found in his possession when they searched him, he appeared nervous, she said. He allowed police to accompany him to his flat in Hilltown, but on entering the living room he grabbed a jumper and threw it on top of a table. Police had seen a quantity of herbal substance there, which was cannabis valued at £313. “They checked the premises and in a bedroom they saw an adult-sized lump under the bedclothes,” Ms Adam said. The person was identified as Ms Drummond and Wright was detained. Solicitor Gary McIlravey said his client had had “no choice” in the matter as she had pursued him from the minute he was granted bail. He said Wright had tried to ignore Ms Drummond’s approaches but had eventually given in when she came to his door and banged and shouted through the letterbox to let her in. “He was pursued by the complainer, who wanted to rekindle the relationship,” Mr McIlravey said. Sheriff Richard Davidson said: “Clearly she was in your house and I’m entitled to assume that she sought you out.” He said he would “reluctantly” grant Wright bail, but this time with a curfew, and deferred sentence for reports until February 13.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.


Police vow to crack 25-year Fife murder mystery that left bereaved mum feeling ‘a thousand years old’

February 15 2016

Officially it is classed as Fife’s only unsolved murder, but 25 years after the brutal strangling of Sandy Drummond police say they remain hopeful of bringing his killer to justice. Discovered outside of his cottage in the sleepy hamlet of Boarhills in June 1991, the 33-year-old had been strangled, his body left on a farm track just yards from his front door. With nobody ever traced in connection with the death and several bizarre events surrounding the paper mill worker’s movements in the days before, many theories have been developed over the years as to why Mr Drummond may have been targeted, and who may have wanted him dead. However, as the 25th anniversary of the crime approaches, officers responsible for reviewing the murder say they have not given up hope of tracing the killer. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin told The Courier: “The murder of Sandy Drummond is recorded as an undetected murder on the Scottish Homicide Database. “As such it is subject to regular and ongoing review by staff to identify any new available investigative opportunities. “Police Scotland work in close partnership with staff from the Cold Case Unit to regularly review cases to ascertain if there are any new evidential developments, including advances in forensic techniques, which would assist in providing a basis for criminal proceedings.” Mr Drummond’s body was found by an elderly walker just 200 yards from the cottage that he shared with his brother James. At first a senior officer at Fife Constabulary believed that the former Black Watch soldier had died of natural causes, though it soon became apparent that foul play had been involved. Though police are not actively pursuing lines of inquiry almost 25 years on, Chief Inspector Martin added that scientific advances could hold the key to eventually catching Mr Drummond’s killer. “The passage of time is no barrier to providing answers for the families of murder victims in Scotland,” she added. “If anyone has any new information that could assist the investigation then please contact police.”Mother went to her grave not knowingThe murder of her son was to haunt Sandy’s mother, Effie Drummond, until her death in 1996. At the forefront of efforts to have his killer traced, Mrs Drummond campaigned tirelessly for a fatal accident inquiry to be held into her son’s death, which took place in Cupar in September 1992. However, no explanation for Mr Drummond’s death emerged from the proceedings and, despite her appeals, Mrs Drummond died broken hearted and without ever finding out what happened to her boy. The last time she saw Sandy was the evening before his murder, as he kissed her goodbye before riding off on his motorcycle. He had been visiting his parents, who lived just a mile away from his cottage in Boarhills, and had been due to return for dinner the following evening. In an interview from 1993, she told of how her son’s murder had broken her heart, saying: “My life now is agony. The strain makes me feel a thousand years old. The longing to touch him and see him smile is unbearable. “Sandy was the best son a mother could have. “I was afraid for his life when he went to Northern Ireland with the army, but I never imagined that he would be in danger at home.”Character changed in days before deathHe was described as a loner, a man with no enemies and known to be quiet and intelligent. Living with his brother in a small cottage at Boarhills, near St Andrews, Sandy Drummond was the last person who would fit the profile of a murder victim. Yet on June 24 1991, the body of the 33-year-old was discovered just yards from his front door. Though there was no outside physical signs to suggest murder, medical examinations found that Mr Drummond had died of asphyxiation, with extensive damage to his neck muscles indicating strangulation. As police investigated, it soon emerged that a series of strange events had occurred in Mr Drummond’s life prior to his death. A former Black Watch soldier, he had worked at the Guardbridge Paper Mill before handing in his notice just days before he was killed. Having been described by his mother, Effie, as a carefree countryman, Sandy’s personality was said to have changed dramatically before his death, becoming worried and contemplative. After resigning from his labourer position at the mill, Sandy was captured on CCTV at building societies in St Andrews withdrawing hundreds of pounds of savings, almost all of which was recovered when police searched his home and ruling out robbery as a motive. The investigation also uncovered rumours of a car, an orange or red Morris Marina, being seen regularly outside his home, and a neighbour spotting Mr Drummond depositing a holdall in the countryside, though both reports failed to generate any leads. An appeal on the television show Crimewatch also failed to identify any suspects. With no new leads, the investigation remains dormant and Mr Drummond’s killer at large. Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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