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Perth & Kinross

Police cleared of any wrongdoing in Perth drug dealer’s death

September 11 2015

A 33-stone suspected drug dealer tried to eat a bag of cocaine as police raided his flat, according to the findings of a fatal accident inquiry (FAI). It also concluded “there were no reasonable precautions” to avoid his death. In a written judgment, Sheriff Fiona Tait stated Stuart Sandeman died due to cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), cardiac enlargement and adverse effects of cocaine, physical restraint and obesity. However, Sheriff Tait alluded to “other facts” relevant to his death, which stated she felt medical assistance should have been summoned “as soon as it was realised” Sandeman had swallowed a package, “suspected” to be cocaine. Sandeman, 37, died during a drug raid on his flat at Struan Road, Perth, on May 6 2011. During the inquiry held at Perth Sheriff Court, it was stated that 33-stone Sandeman had been seen putting a bag of white powder in his mouth and chewing it. The court had heard how Sandeman, known as ‘Big Sandy,’ struggled with officers with one sitting on top of him to stop him from kicking out. Police had to link three pairs of handcuffs together due to Sandeman’s size. Forensic pathologist Dr James Grieve had said Sandeman had a body mass index of 62, and thus carried a risk of death. Drug user Roddy Moncrieffe, who was in the flat at the time along with another drug user, and had told the inquiry that Sandeman “spewed” something “meaty” and claimed officers stuck their fingers in his mouth. However, Detective Sergeant Rob Prudom, 42, had told the inquiry that Sandeman told officers he was eating a bacon roll at the time police thought he had swallowed cocaine. Sheriff Tait dismissed the evidence of Mr Moncrieffe, stressing police intelligence and evidence led her to “infer” a history of “chronic cocaine abuse” prior to Sandeman’s death. “This would predispose him to cardiac enlargement,” her findings said. “I am content that there were no reasonable precautions that could have been taken whereby Sandeman’s death may have been avoided nor any defects in any systems of working which contributed to his death. The officers’ response was reasonable and proportionate.” DS Prudom had said police raided Sandeman’s home after information that he was selling cocaine from his flat. Sandeman had been convicted of dealing cocaine at T in the Park in 2001. The inquiry had also heard from PC Dale Evans, 33, who arrived at the property with drugs officers in full riot gear. He had described how Sandeman’s breathing was “shallow” and how he applied cardiopulmonary resuscitation. “We were trying to get him to spit out something he had put in his mouth, but Sandeman was laughing and writhing around,” he said. PC Evans said he noticed Sandeman’s breathing was shallow and felt this was caused by an obstruction in his mouth. He had administered CPR. The inquiry had heard ambulance crew took over but Sandeman died shortly after.

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

Family lose £100,000 police compensation bid after death of Stuart “Big Sandy” Sandeman

October 23 2015

The girlfriend of a drug dealer who died during a police raid on their Perth home has lost a £100,000 compensation claim. Kelly Maguire and members of Stuart Sandeman’s family raised concerns about the way the police carried out the raid and lodged a claim for damages against police chief Sir Stephen House. Sandeman, who weighed 33 stones, died after swallowing a package of cocaine and brawling with officers as they tried to arrest him. Ms Maguire and her legal team claimed that the officers did not follow appropriate procedures to deal with the situation and said they were entitled to damages. But the action at Perth Sheriff Court failed in the wake of a fatal accident inquiry which established nothing the officers had done had contributed to Sandeman’s death. The court was formally told that the action was no longer being pursued. The fatal accident inquiry into the death of Stuart “Big Sandy” Sandeman, who suffered a heart attack, concluded that the officers involved in the operation could not be blamed for his death. Sheriff Fiona Tait ruled in her written findings that the officers were justified in using force upon Sandeman when he tried to swallow a package of drugs. She said: “I require to determine whether their use of force was a reasonable, justifiable and proportionate response, and so lawful, in the circumstances. “Given the scale and persistence of Mr Sandeman’s resistance and the risk which he posed to officers’ safety and his own safety, I am satisfied that the officers’ response was reasonable and proportionate.”

Dundee

Glencross Motors owner charged

September 12 2014

A Dundee garage owner whose premises were raided and closed down by police in June has now been charged. Charles Sandeman, owner of Glencross Motors on Clepington Road, has been accused of various “licence offences”. The procurator fiscal’s office in Dundee will consider the evidence against him before deciding whether he will have to appear in court to answer the charges. A police spokesperson said: “Following inquiries into business premises in Clepington Road, Dundee in June, Police Scotland can confirm that a 39-year-old man has been charged in connection with licence offences. “A report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal.” Mr Sandeman’s licence was suspended by the city council following the police raid and he claimed in July that he had lost £10,000 worth of trade as a result of having to shut down for two weeks after officers stormed the premises. He successfully appealed the suspension to the sheriff court and a sheriff returned his case to the city council’s licensing committee, where councillors agreed to lift the suspension. On Thursday the city council’s licensing committee restored Mr Sandeman’s trading licence in a behind-closed-doors meeting, having initially revoked it. Mr Sandeman has owned Glencross Motors since 2007 and held a second-hand car dealer’s licence for 14 years. Glencross Motors was raided on Wednesday June 4 by agents from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), Trading Standards, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and the police. Mr Sandeman’s solicitor, Kris Gilmartin, said the proprietor immediately made himself available to all the agencies involved in order to deal with any issues arising from the raid which might affect his licence. Earlier this month the city council’s licensing committee deferred a further decision on Mr Sandeman’s trading licence to await the outcome of the court action and he remains free to trade as normal.

Angus & The Mearns

Forfar man appears on murder charge

November 4 2013

A Forfar man has appeared in court on a murder charge. Lee Arne Hopsdal, of Glenmoy Terrace, is accused of killing Catherine Sandeman at his home by repeatedly striking her on the head and body with a knife or similar implement between October 29 and November 1. Hopsdal made no plea or declaration when he appeared in private in front of Sheriff Gregor Murray at Arbroath Sheriff Court on Monday. The 32-year-old was remanded in custody while the case was continued for further examination. Hopsdal’s flat in a two-storey block was the subject of intense police activity all weekend after the discovery of Ms Sandeman’s body on Friday evening. Ms Sandeman, who was 40, was originally from Dundee.

Angus & The Mearns

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. © SuppliedWalter, left, and Frank, pictured in 1917. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” © SuppliedWalter, left, and Frank Johnston, pictured at Balgray Farmhouse in Dundee. Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

Angus & The Mearns

Forfar man who stabbed girlfriend to death after Taliban paranoia detained indefinitely

October 24 2014

A Forfar man who killed his girlfriend after fearing she was poisoning him has been detained at a high-security hospital indefinitely. Catherine Sandeman was knifed almost 50 times by Lee Hopsdal, who later told psychiatrists he feared his 40-year-old drug addict girlfriend had been poisoning him on the instructions of the Taliban. Unemployed Hopsdal, 33, previously admitted a charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Edinburgh High Court in March. He was originally charged with murder following the discovery of Ms Sandeman’s body on November 1 last year in the flat they had shared together at Forfar’s Glenmoy Terrace. Lord Boyd of Duncansby said he was satisfied that Hopsdal would present a serious threat of harm to himself and others if released into the community. He said: “Nothing I can say can alleviate the pain and suffering that has been caused by the death of Catherine Sandeman through your acts of violence. “It is, however, clear to me you are suffering from a mental illness, namely paranoid schizophrenia, as well as a personality disorder. “I shall order you be detained at the State Hospital at Carstairs without limit of time.” The judge imposed a compulsion order and a restriction order on Hopsdal whose case would have to be referred to Scottish ministers before he can be released.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus killer’s sentence delayed while mental health is assessed

June 7 2014

The sentencing of a man who killed his Angus partner because he thought she was poisoning him for the Taliban has been deferred while his mental state is assessed. Lee Arne Hopsdal cut Forfar woman Catherine Sandeman’s jugular vein twice when he stabbed her repeatedly in their home. The 33-year-old then walked 13 miles with a bleeding hand wound to Dundee, where concerned staff at a shop convinced him to seek medical attention. He claimed he had been attacked in his home by men with knives. When he got to Ninewells Hospital, he told a doctor he was burning from ultraviolet rays which were being shot from the roof, and used a blanket to shield himself. Police found the body of Ms Sandeman on November 1 2013 next to blood-stained knives and a multi-purpose tool with a blade and a hammerhead. The former Liverpool man later told psychiatrists that he believed his partner was acting as a spy against him spiking his food and drink for the Taliban, who he said were “after him”. Psychiatrists who spoke with Hopsdal on a number of occasions came to the consensus that he was suffering from a psychotic mental disorder. When he later appeared in court, he admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was expected to be sentenced at the High Court in Aberdeen on Thursday but the case was deferred because he is still receiving treatment at the State Hospital in Carstairs. Defence agent Mark Stewart QC said: “It’s clear from the reports that doctors say he is making progress and improvements.” Judge Lord Boyd said he would continue Hopsdal’s interim compulsion order for another two months and he will now be sentenced at the High Court in Livingston on August 15.

Perth & Kinross

Fatal accident inquiry hears account of Perth drugs bust

March 17 2015

A drug dealer died during a police raid on his Perth home after swallowing his cocaine stash, an inquiry has heard. Stuart Sandeman, 37, was reportedly spitting out what looked like red cocaine moments before his death at his flat on Struan Road on May 6 2011. At Perth Sheriff Court on Monday, a fatal accident inquiry into the death heard Mr Sandeman was seen to spit out a red powdery substance while officers tried to handcuff him during the bust. Detective Sergeant Robert Prudom, then of Tayside Police drugs branch, said the force received information Mr Sandeman was dealing drugs from his home address. During the raid he and another officer used a two-man battering ram to knock down the door of Mr Sandeman’s flat and gain entry. After detaining three men within the living room, Mr Prudom stated he heard a police constable shouting from within the house that someone had swallowed drugs. A pair of constables pulled Mr Sandeman to the living room door, shouting orders for him to spit the suspected drugs out. Mr Prudom, who described Mr Sandeman as “tall and extremely fat”, said: “Due to his size they had little control of him. Because of that he fell to the ground. “Officers were shouting at him to spit out the drugs and he was kicking out with his legs. He was shouting he was eating a bacon roll and there wasn’t any drugs.” Mr Prudom said officers needed to use three sets of handcuffs on Mr Sandeman, known as Big Sandy, because he was so large. “I could see him spitting out a red powdery substance,” he said. “I initially thought it was red cocaine. It wasn’t a natural colour for the cocaine to be.” Mr Prudom ordered an ambulance, adding: “He went from being obstructive to passive. “His health deteriorated very quickly. There was a loss of consciousness and we couldn’t find a pulse.” Officers attempted to carry out CPR and emergency service personnel had to request a second ambulance because of the seriousness of Mr Sandeman’s condition. At 4pm on May 6 2011, just 45 minutes after the police raid began, Mr Sandeman was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy discovered Mr Sandeman had traces of cocaine within his stomach contents. Mr Prudom, who revealed he had been involved in “multiple hundreds” of drug busts, added: “I have thought about it every day since and I don’t think I would have done anything differently.” The fatal accident inquiry continues.

Perth & Kinross

Perth man’s death during police raid will be subject of fatal accident inquiry

August 22 2014

An inquiry will be held into the death of a Perth man who died during a police raid on his home. Stuart Sandeman, 37, collapsed as officers from Tayside Police executed a warrant at his flat on Struan Road on May 6 2011. Full details of the incident will be unveiled during a fatal accident inquiry at Perth Sheriff Court on March 16 next year, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 25. The circumstances surrounding Mr Sandeman’s death have already been the subject of an independent investigation by officers from the Central Police division, though there was no suggestion at the time that the conduct of officers had contributed to his “unexplained” death. At the time of the raid neighbours reported hearing “loud shouts and screams” coming from the property. Mr Sandeman was well known in the local drugs scene and, in 2003, the courts seized almost £50,000 of profits he had amassed from dealing illicit substances. Two years earlier, he had been jailed for selling cocaine at T in the Park. The authorities also tried to seize six cars belonging to Mr Sandeman, as well as his house on Viewlands Road. Reports also revealed that he had five bank accounts, using them to pay for Caribbean holidays and luxury items, including a gold Rolex watch. After he was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison in 2001, the court froze £121,000 of assets. Mr Sandeman repeatedly insisted he only dealt in cars and jewellery and that he did not record his income in a bid to avoid paying tax and losing out on state benefits. He also claimed that his income was higher than disclosed and his outlays far lower than the prosecutors stated.

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