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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...

Fife

Police drive to tackle rising number of violent crimes in Fife

March 11 2016

Murders in Fife were up last year as the region suffered an increase in violent crime. Four people were murdered in the region between April and December 2015. The figure is twice the average for the past five years. However, Police Scotland said overall crime rates had dropped since 2010. The force is taking steps to tackle crimes of violence, which it said were increasingly happening behind closed doors. At yesterday’s Safer Communities Committee meeting, divisional commander Chief Superintendent Angela McLaren said a board led by Superintendent Dougie Milton would be looking at ways of addressing the issue. Ms McLaren said: “Violent crime, compared to last year, has increased, but last year it was incredibly low. “Obviously it’s an area of high priority for us and we want to look at different ways of addressing some issues.” She added: “It’s really important that communities know that there has been a reduction in crime.” In 2014, there were 251 violent crimes, which was below the five-year average of 282. The figure for the same period in 2015 was 299. Police Scotland said statistics had been affected by a change in the way assaults were recorded. Injuries previously treated as minor are now treated as serious by Police Scotland if the victim is left with a scar. Ms McLaren said the force was seeing a trend towards violent crimes being committed behind closed doors. “The problem we are finding now is private space violence,” she said. “There is a lot of domestic violence and also a lot of problems with people known to each other drinking indoors, and not drinking in pubs. “These aren’t covered by CCTV. These are people in private dwellings drinking and falling out.” Overall, there were 156 fewer crimes in Fife between April and December 2015 compared with the period the year before. Ms McLaren said: “While we don’t sit on our laurels, these results are generally very encouraging. “I am pleased that crime is continuing to fall and this is very much down to a team approach with our communities and partners.”

Dundee

Trial date set for Mary McLaren death accused

January 18 2011

The trial of the man accused of murdering Dundee mother Mary McLaren is to take place this spring. Patrick James Rae (40), a prisoner at Perth, denies murdering and raping Mrs McLaren between February 25 and March 10 last year. At a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday, Lord Kinclaven ordered Rae to stand trial on May 3. Six weeks have been set aside for the case at the High Court in Edinburgh, and a further preliminary hearing to ensure all parties were ready for trial was ordered for April 6. Rae denies that at North Marketgait and elsewhere in Dundee, he assaulted Mrs McLaren, then of Rowantree Crescent, by seizing hold of her, forcibly removing her clothing, raping her, repeatedly punching her on the head, repeatedly striking her head and body on the ground and against a wall, or otherwise inflicting violence on her, repeatedly striking her on the neck with a knife or similar instrument, placing a piece of fabric or similar over her throat, seizing her by the throat, compressing, thereby restricting her breathing and murdering her. The indictment Rae is facing also alleges that between February 25 and March 15 at North Marketgait, Dundee, Brechin Road in Arbroath and elsewhere unknown, he concealed the body of Mary McLaren under leaf litter and plant foliage at North Marketgait and, at the same location and elsewhere, removed and disposed of a coat, bagging contents belonging to Mary McLaren. It is also alleged that, at the same location and elsewhere, he disposed of a knife or similar instrument. Rae is also accused of disposing of and washing clothes at Brechin Road, Arbroath, and elsewhere, doing so to avoid arrest, detection and prosecution and thus attempted to defeat the ends of justice. Rae's defence is being conducted by Mark Stewart QC, while the prosecution is being led by advocate depute David Young QC.

Dundee

Mary McLaren murder accused appears at preliminary hearing

April 7 2011

The man accused of raping and murdering Dundee mum Mary McLaren will stand trial early next month. Patrick James Rae (41), a prisoner at Perth, appeared from custody at the high court in Edinburgh at a preliminary hearing. Rae denies murdering and raping Mrs McLaren between February 25 and March 10, 2010. At the hearing defence advocate Mark Stewart QC lodged an updated witness list and a list of productions. Mr Stewart also outlined a number of outstanding issues that he moved could be dealt with on the trial date of Tuesday, May 3. There was no objection from advocate depute David Young QC, who also noted a number of procedural issues still to be resolved on the same date. Lord Tyre, who intimated he would preside over the trial, continued the case to the trial diet, for which six weeks have been set aside. Rae denies that at North Marketgait and elsewhere in Dundee he assaulted Mrs McLaren, of Rowantree Crescent, by seizing hold of her, forcibly removing her clothing, raping her, repeatedly punching her on the head, repeatedly striking her head and body on the ground and against a wall, or otherwise inflicting violence on her, repeatedly striking her on the neck with a knife or similar instrument, placing a piece of fabric or similar over her throat, seizing her by the throat, compressing, restricting her breathing and murdering her. He also denies that between February 25 and March 15, 2010, at North Marketgait, Dundee, Brechin Road in Arbroath and elsewhere unknown, he concealed the body of Mary McLaren under leaf litter and plant foliage at North Marketgait and, at the same location and elsewhere, removed and disposed of a coat, bagging contents belonging to Mary McLaren. It is also alleged that at the same location and elsewhere, he disposed of a knife or similar instrument, disposing of and washing clothes at Brechin Road, Arbroath, and elsewhere, doing so to avoid arrest, detection and prosecution and thus attempted to defeat the ends of justice.

Dundee

Tagging order for Dundee cyclist who called elderly driver a ‘middle class p***k’

November 19 2015

A Dundee cyclist who launched a tirade against a couple in their 70s, punched their car’s wing mirror and branded the man a "middle class p***k" has been sentenced to a tagging order. Duncan McLaren followed the driver after claiming he had been cut up as he pulled into the approach to the council recycling centre on Riverside Drive. The 37-year-old later told officers his victim, Alexander Ramsay, was a “middle-class p***k” who “shouldn’t be allowed on the road”. McLaren avoided a jail term over the incident, after a sheriff warned him that he had to change his ways. Depute fiscal Trina Sinclair told Dundee Sheriff Court: “The complainers are a couple in their seventies. At around 1pm they were driving to the skip at Riverside. As they turned, the accused was riding a bike with a trailer and they swerved in front of him. They then slowed down to let the bike pass. “Mr Ramsay got out of his car to unload items to the skip and the accused arrived two minutes later. “He approached Mr Ramsay, shouting about his driving and swearing, saying: ‘You shouldn’t be allowed on the road’. “Mr Ramsay walked away and the accused shouted: ‘I am not finished with you yet’. “As Sybil Ramsay, his wife, asked an employee where certain items went, the accused punched the wing mirror and smashed it. He then left.” Miss Sinclair told the court that the couple went to the police, who traced McLaren after reviewing CCTV footage. After being detained, McLaren told officers: “The boy drove like a p***k. That middle-class p***k shouldn’t be on the road. I don’t care what you do, I will keep doing things like that.” McLaren, 37, of Forest Park Place, pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner by shouting, swearing and threatening Alexander and Sybil Ramsay and punching the wing mirror of a car, smashing it, at Dundee City Council amenities site on Riverside Drive on March 23. Doug McConnell, defending, said: “The only option for the court other than custody is a restriction of liberty order. “Mr McLaren suffers from Huntington’s disease. At the time, it was a very difficult period, as he was a carer for his mother. “He has been of good behaviour and that has changed his attitude.” Sheriff Tom Hughes imposed a restriction of liberty order for four months, meaning McLaren will be electronically tagged and confined to his house from 7pm until 7am every day. He said: “It has to be quite clear to you that I take a very dim view of your conduct. You can’t go on acting like that. “You are very close to being detained in respect of this matter now. “If you carry on acting the way you are going, your next stop is custody you’re going to have to change your ways.”

Motoring news

Hyperfast McLaren

March 21 2018

McLaren has announced its fastest production car of all time. The McLaren Hyper GT has a claimed top speed of 243mph. That’s faster than the most iconic car the company has ever made, the McLaren F1. That car had three seats, with the driver occupying a central seat thrust forward from the other two. This arrangement will be replicated on the Hyper GT, which will be powered by a petrol-electric hybrid. Only 106 examples of the car will be built, each costing in excess of £1.6 million, and every single one of them has already been sold. Production will begin next year.

Motoring news

Designs on McLaren

April 25 2018

In the fortunate position to be able to afford a McLaren? Then you’ll be interested to hear the British supercar maker has souped up its 570S Spider range. The drop top sports car is now available with five Design Edition versions. Buyers choose from Silica White, Storm Grey, Vermillion Red, Onyx Black or Vega Blue body colours then pick a finish that either emphasises the Spider’s sports appeal or enhances its luxury. There’s a huge range of customisation options, ensuring you’re never likely to see two completely identical McLarens on the road. Although you still need deep pockets, McLaren says the special editions make financial sense as they cost less than choosing the same finishes from the options list. The Design Edition packages add between £8,100 and £10,700 to the McLaren 570S Spider’s start price of £164,750. Order books are open now.

Fife

Man admits lewd talk with girl

March 22 2014

A RETIRED RAF warrant officer who featured on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2012 faces a possible jail term after he convinced a 10-year-old girl to engage with him on the internet for his own sexual pleasure. At Cupar Sheriff Court Steven McLaren, 54, of Campbell Crescent, Cupar, admitted intentionally making sexual communications to a girl under the age of 13 with the intention of obtaining sexual gratification. The court heard how he secretly enticed the girl to chat to him online during a meeting with her father. Depute fiscal Beverly Adam told the court McLaren ran his own mobile DJ business. She said McLaren initially approached the girl at a wedding he had been asked to play at and told her: “We need to stay in contact.” Later, the girl accompanied her father to meet McLaren to pay him for his DJ services at the wedding and, while her father was distracted, McLaren slipped her a piece of scrap paper with his Skype username on it. She asked why it was in the name “Iain Martin” and he told her it was because he did not want anyone to know his real name. The girl eventually contacted McLaren, a former branch support officer for RAF Leuchars and Queen’s Birthday Honours 2012 recipient, and began to ask her a series of inappropriate questions. Ms Adam said: “He initially asked ‘How was school?’ before adding ‘What were you wearing? Were you wearing a skirt? Were you naughty at school today?’” The messages were thereafter discovered by the girl’s shocked mother on her iPad, and she immediately contacted the police. When interviewed by officers, McLaren admitted his behaviour had been inappropriate and that he was fully aware the girl was 10 years old. Defence solicitor David Bell said: “There’s little that can be said in mitigation. “The content of the communications was not sexually explicit but there was obviously a sexual element to this and heis aware a custodial sentence is apossibility.” Sheriff Charles Macnair QC deferred sentence until May 1 for a criminal justice report and a psychological assessment and placed McLaren on the sex offenders register in the meantime. cwilson@thecourier.co.uk

Dundee

Environmentalists demand public say on future of Marchbanks Recycling Centre

March 26 2013

An environmental group has called on Dundee City Council to delay the planned closure of a recycling centre so that a full consultation can be carried out. Politicians decided to shut Marchbanks Recycling Centre to save £316,000, leaving the Baldovie and Riverside sites. Council figures obtained by Friends of the Earth Tayside under freedom of information legislation show that 7,118 tonnes of recyclables were processed at Marchbanks between 2007 and 2012, compared to Baldovie’s 6,590 tonnes and Riverside’s 4,385 tonnes. Marchbanks also handled 2,152 tonnes of compostable garden waste and 19,914 tonnes of non-recyclable general waste in the same five-year period. A report by director of environment Ken Laing said an average of 319 cars visit Marchbanks every day. Friends of the Earth Tayside say the closure will “displace” more than 110,000 car visits a year and increase CO2 emissions as a result. Doug McLaren of the group said: “Where will all the cars and the stuff go you might ask? Simple, says Dundee City Council there are two other sites, up to 10 and 15 miles away round trip, where the stuff can be dropped. But hold on: not all of it at the same site; to drop it all you may have to drive over 20 to 25 miles. “There’s a sound approach to governance and taxation which rewards good behaviour and penalises bad, but Dundee is turning that on its head by penalising those who take the trouble to recycle and dispose carefully, while rewarding the ‘dumb dumpers’ and fly-tippers who can chuck valuable materials in the waste bin at home or in a layby, to be collected free of charge or rather from a proportion of the council tax. “The council claims it will make big savings by running fewer of their own lorries but they are asking a gullible general public to pick up the price tag and emit over 4,000 tonnes of CO2 in the process.” Mr McLaren has called on those who use the centre to urge their councillors to delay the closure and carry out a consultation. He said: “There has been no open discussion about the effects of a closure no formal consultation has taken place, no soundly-based environmental assessment carried out.” He added: “They should put the closure plan on hold until all the implications have been looked at and seek a solution which saves money but doesn’t trash the planet.” Dundee City Council environment convener Councillor Craig Melville insisted the environmental group’s CO2 emissions claims are “purely speculative” and fail to take account of operational changes to the council’s other recycling centres “which will considerably reduce the amount of HGV journeys that the council has been making”. He said: “We are cutting the double transport by HGV of bulky and garden waste between sites. So, from April 1, bulky and mixed waste from the public will only be accepted at Baldovie, while people should take all garden waste to Riverside.”

Angus & The Mearns

Loons to launch Bridie the Mascot

May 14 2016

Forfar Athletic hope a life-sized Bridie mascot will whet the fans' appetite for life after relegation to League Two. The Sky Blues have now asked the club’s young supporters to get creative and come up with a suitable name for their new pastry friend. The club will officially unveil the new mascot on June 24 and have also launched an appeal for someone to wear the unique outfit on matchdays. A club spokesman said: “What else could we go for but something iconic and so firmly linked to the Loons – let’s face it no other team but Forfar could use such a mascot. “We are also pleased that through the new mascot we can help to promote a well-known Forfar product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC7V1PKkqE0 “The Forfar Bridie Producers Association, a collaborative team made up of McLaren’s and Saddler’s, are seeking European Protected Food Name status for the Bridie which would guarantee the Bridie’s provenance and will provide protection against imitation. “We hope the introduction of this unique mascot will help this bid by raising awareness and demonstrating the Loons strongly support this venture.” Bridie name entry slips and boxes will be in each of the McLaren and Saddler’s Forfar shops from this morning. The competition will run until Saturday June 11 but the club has stressed the competition is only open to people aged 12 and under. The club said: “This new mascot has been made possible through the fantastic support of local bakers, McLaren and Son and Saddler’s of Forfar. “We were genuinely surprised to find out you could get such a thing as a Bridie mascot costume but thanks to the support of our friends at Forfar based Utopia Costumes we can.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d27qEjOSeFs The youngster who chooses the winning name will be invited to join the Bridie mascot at a first team match next season at Station Park. The classic description of the Bridie was given by Jeems Stark, who was a one-time local character and frequenter of bakehouses. According to James, a bridie was “juist a brodie – a big roons slap o’ dough wi’ the tap hauf spread wi’ steak cut sma’ an’ chappit ingins. “Syne the boddom hauf’s luftit an’ laid ower the tap an’ scolpit ee aidge. “Nick oot twa holes ee tap fauld an’ there y’are – a brode pie – a brodie – a bridie.” Anyone who is interested in donning the Bridie mascot outfit on matchdays should contact fafcretail@gmail.com.

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