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Business news

TAG Games hiring for ‘aggressive growth’

November 23 2013

Dundee’s Tag Games is targeting “aggressive growth” as it gets set for a string of key appointments. Ongoing recruitment will take the city games studio’s workforce to around 35, but founder and chief executive Paul Farley told Courier Business the new additions would also hasten further expansion. He expects Tag’s “massively important” new hires which will include a senior business development executive, art director, and marketing and data management support to help grow headcount to 50 over the coming months. “These are strategic appointments, but we’re being fairly aggressive in how we want to grow the company,” Mr Farley said. “We want to get bigger, but it’s also about planning for the future and ensuring we’ve got the people we need to keep delivering great games to customers. “The industry is more competitive than it has ever been, so this is about some key hires for the next stage of Tag’s development.” Tag is already on course to post its strongest ever turnover this year, but the new appointments are key to the company’s future. Mr Farley said a yearly review of the business had shown areas for new growth. Bringing the marketing function in house is important in the ultra-competitive marketplace, he added, while better interpretation of existing user data will help to focus what Tag offers. “It will mean we’ve got good people in all the key posts and will allow us to get to 50 fairly quickly,” Mr Farley said. “This is about planning for the future and ensuring that we don’t stagnate, which is just so important in our industry.” But he warned that, while Dundee is full of good industry talent, bringing candidates for top jobs to the city could prove challenging. “We could probably maintain our position in terms of where we are at our current size,” he said. “But we don’t want to stay where we are we want to go for the much more aggressive growth. “We think we can get business in the current environment in many multiples of what it is now.” Mr Farley said Tag is “expecting great things” from a busy pre-Christmas period, with several releases on the cards. The studio, which specialises in social and mobile games, has already worked with a range of well-known names including Doctor Who and Channel 4’s Hotel GB. Recent releases included a penalty-kick game for credit card firm and English league cup sponsor Capital One, which hit the top of the UK’s Apple download chart.


Life sentence for Kirkcaldy knife murderer Steven Kettles

November 10 2011

A Kirkcaldy man who knifed his neighbour to death following a row over loud music has been jailed for life at the High Court in Edinburgh. Steven Kettles (28) was told he must serve at least 14 years for the murder of David Allan (44) at a flat in Overton Mains on March 3, although Lord Tyre warned him to expect to be behind bars for longer. Mr Allan, who lived in the flat directly above Kettles, was stabbed when he went to confront his neighbour over the volume of music being played from Kettles' television. Kettles maintained he had been defending himself and insisted Mr Allan ''went into'' the knife, which he claimed had still been in his hand from making a cheese sandwich. However, he was found guilty of murdering Mr Allan by majority jury verdict last month. Lord Tyre told Kettles: ''There is no excuse for you having taken a knife with you when you answered the door of your flat to David Allan that night.'' He added Kettles had taken away the remaining years of the victim's life and deprived his family of him. ''Nothing I can say or do today can bring him back nor provide any comfort or consolation,'' said the judge. Neighbours in Overton Mains were reluctant to speak about March's incident, but those who did were united in condemnation at Kettles' actions. One resident said: ''The guy was bad news plain and simple. If you stab someone, for any reason, they should throw away the key in my book.'' Kettles claimed Mr Allan had banged on his bedroom window, shouting for him to turn the music down. He said he did, but shortly afterwards, he claimed, Mr Allan had come to his door and was banging and kicking on it, shouting about the music. Kettles, who has learning difficulties, then told officers he ''never forced'' the knife into his victim, but jurors were not convinced. During the trial, the court heard Mr Allan had mentioned loud music being played all the time in the flat directly underneath him to friends. Mr Allan's brother John (49) said his brother would bang his foot on the floor to try to make it stop. Detective Sergeant Alan Stewart, who was called to the flat after the fatal incident, said he had found a flat screen television in Kettles' bedroom with the volume control at ''full blast''. Lord Tyre told Kettles he had regard to his learning difficulties, but pointed out that he had ''a lengthy record of offending'' and added: ''You don't appear to have been able to learn the lesson that criminal behaviour is wrong.'' Temporary Detective Inspector James Adamson said Kettles' punishment should act as proof that knife-carrying is unacceptable. ''David Allan died after being stabbed by Steven Kettles,'' DI Adamson said. ''Knife crime has a devastating effect on individuals and communities. ''There is no place in society for those who use a knife as a weapon and Fife Constabulary and partner agencies will continue to work together to discourage individuals from committing crimes of violence. ''When an individual is assaulted we will work tirelessly to bring the culprit to justice.'' Following the initial verdict, advocate depute Keith Stewart QC said Kettles had a number of previous convictions, including assault, theft by housebreaking, theft of a motor vehicle, wilful fire-raising and assault and robbery. At the time of the murder, he was on deferred sentence for possession of an offensive weapon a screwdriver and had also been on bail in relation to alleged theft.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Scottish League 2

Gary Locke taking pressure off his Cowdenbeath players

April 1 2017

Most people would view Cowdenbeath's clash with second bottom Clyde today as a must win game. But manager Gary Locke is doing his best to take the pressure off his players ahead of the Central Park fixture. Locke said: “There is no added pressure on us to win this one game. "There was pressure on when we came in last month as we were pretty adrift but we have given ourselves a bit of hope. “It would be great to pull ourselves to within one point of Clyde. The alternative is going seven points behind with six games to go and that sounds a really difficult task. "We played them last midweek and managed to get the win but it was tough. “We will need to same level of performance to do that and I do not think that will be a problem as the performances put in by the players have been terrific since I came in, with the exception of the Montrose game.”   Kenny Adamson and Matthew Rooney continue to be sidelined for the Blue Brazil due to injuries.


Farmer finds unusual pottery in Errol soil

August 31 2011

The discovery of pottery shards could add a new dimension to Errol's history. Farmer Michael Gillies believes that he has found proof of the existence of a pottery workshop in the village. Although better known for its former brickworks at Inchcoonans, according to Mr Gillies, Errol was also noted for its ceramic creations. Now, after using a digger to excavate land at East Inchmichael Farm, he has uncovered examples of these items. Mr Gillies said: "We came across an old garden compost heap. In it we found bits of majolica a soft earthenware ceramic and there were all these fantastic decorations on them. "There were quite a few bits and I decided to glue them together to see what kind of dish they came from." While the shards got Mr Gillies wondering what else was under the ground nearby, he "fully expected" them to have been made by the better-known Staffordshire Pottery. However he kept digging until he found a base piece with some surprising information. Mr Gillies said: "I was astounded by what I saw because it said that it was made by James Adamson and Co, Errol Works. "There are no records or pictures of Errol pottery made during the period the workshop was open so I am interested in finding out more." Attempts to discover more about the elusive James Adamson have come to a dead end, so Mr Gillies has sent photographs to the Scottish Pottery Society in Glasgow in the hope that it can shed more light. Anyone with information is asked to call Mr Gillies on 01821 642953 or email susmic6556@aol.com (link).


Dundee animal lover fighting to end elephant cruelty

January 17 2017

A Dundee taxi driver has raised thousands of pounds towards rescuing elephants in Thailand after learning about their cruel treatment at visitor attractions. Ronnie Adamson is urging tourists to boycott elephant rides due to the barbaric methods used to tame the animals – including beatings, starvation, sleep deprivation and being pieced with sharp objects. The 55-year-old, who works for an airport transfer company, said that volunteering holidays at elephant sanctuaries were a better alternative for animal lovers. Ronnie explained: “About four or five years ago I decided I wanted a holiday with a difference. “I’d always been an animal lover and wanted to go on an elephant trek, so I started looking into it. “In Thailand these are very popular with tourists, but while I was researching it I saw lots of articles on how cruel the practice is, so I decided against it. “I then saw a link to an elephant rescue centre. They have ex-tourist elephants and also ones rescued from illegal logging. “You spend time at the rescue feeding them, washing them, and you can swim with them too. “I saw the good work they were doing, so decided I wanted to raise money for them. “Last year I raised £1700 and the year before that I collected £1300 after I held a race. “I will probably do something this year too, and might make it an annual thing. “But the main thing is to make people aware of what goes on, because many tourists going on elephant rides don’t know about the cruelty.” Elephants would not let a human ride on top of them so they need to be tamed when they’re young, often through a process called “phajaan”, meaning “crushing of the spirit”. This involves methods such as taking baby elephants away from their mothers and confining them in a cage, then beating them with clubs and piercing them with bull hooks, as well as depriving them of sleep and food. Long-term, the animals can also suffer health problems due to exhaustion, overwork and spine damage.

UK & World

‘Breaking Bad-style’ murderer of police officer Gordon Semple jailed for life

December 12 2016

Stefano Brizzi, 50, has been jailed for life for strangling a police officer during a bondage sex session and then attempting to cook and eat parts of his body. Brizzi admitted he was inspired by his favourite TV series Breaking Bad as he tried to get away with killing 59-year-old PC Gordon Semple by also dissolving his flesh in an acid bath. Last month, the former Morgan Stanley IT developer was found guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to two after a jury at the Old Bailey had deliberated for more than 30 hours. The estate where Semple’s remains were found (Jonathan Brady/PA) Semple was a “caring and gentle person” and “much loved” by his family, who were left devastated with the news of his murder, the court heard. The trial had heard that Brizzi met his victim on gay dating app Grindr and arranged a “hot, dirty, sleazy session” at his flat near London’s Tate Modern gallery on April 1. According to Brizzi, Semple died when a dog leash he had been wearing slipped as they played a “strangulation game”. But a pathologist concluded that while strangulation was a possible cause of death, it would have taken minutes rather than moments, as the defendant had claimed. Stefano Brizzi has been jailed for life (Metropolitan Police/PA) In the days after the killing, Brizzi was caught on CCTV buying buckets, a perforated metal sheet and cleaning products from a DIY store. He then set about dismembering the body, stripping the flesh, burning some in the oven and mixing some with acid in the bath. Semple’s long-term partner, Gary Meeks, reported him missing when he failed to return to their home in Dartford, Kent. Neighbours complained about the stench coming from Brizzi’s flat and eventually called police, who came across the grisly sight of “globules” of flesh floating in the bath, bags containing bones and a part of Semple’s head, and pools of human fat in the oven. Pc Gordon Semple was strangled (Metropolitan Police/PA) Following his arrest, Brizzi admitted killing and trying to dissolve the body of the policeman because “Satan told me to”. Brizzi denied trying to cannibalise parts of Semple by cooking and then biting into a rib found in his kitchen bin. But at his sentencing, the prosecution said an expert odontologist had since confirmed that even though Brizzi claimed not to remember it, he had in fact tried to eat human flesh. Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC handed crystal meth addict Brizzi life in prison with a minimum of 24 years. Brizzi was also sentenced to seven years for obstructing a coroner, which will run concurrently. CCTV footage showing Brizzi purchasing supplies like buckets after Semple’s death (Metropolitan Police/PA) The judge said there were “terrible features” of the case and that Brizzi’s drug addiction had ruined his life. He told Brizzi: “Regret you express now for Mr Semple’s death has to be seen against what you did over a number of days to his body.” The defendant sat in the dock with his head bowed throughout the hearing.

Other sports

Marin Cilic suspended after testing positive for nikethamide stimulant

September 17 2013

Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, ruling him out until February 1, the International Tennis Federation has announced. The Croatian’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide a stimulant at the BMW Open in Munich in May. The 24-year-old’s ban was backdated to May 1, the date on which he provided the sample, to end at midnight on January 31. The sample was sent to a laboratory in Montreal for analysis, where it was found to contain nikethamide, a prohibited substance. Cilic was subsequently charged over the doping violation under Article 2.1 although he argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy. A statement from the ITF read: “The independent tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he, therefore, met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substance based on an assessment of his fault.” As well as the ban “it was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. “Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.” Following the BMW Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample. He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match.


Arbuthnott marks author connection

March 31 2010

The life and times of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the celebrated pen-name of James Leslie Mitchell, were recalled when a plaque was unveiled at his childhood home in Arbuthnott. Bloomfield, now a modernised cottage high on the Reisk Road, north of Arbuthnott Church in the heart of the Mearns, was Mitchell's home during his formative years. Born in 1901, Mitchell's background and upbringing were steeped in the traditional crofting life of the north-east of Scotland and as an adult he looked back proudly on his roots. While his early years were spent at his birthplace, the Aberdeenshire croft of Hillhead of Seggat, the following nine years when he lived at Bloomfield were profoundly influential. Among those at the unveiling of the simple plaque were Mitchell's daughter Rhea Martin and her son Alasdair. The idea of the plaque came from William and Dorothy Clark, who bought Bloomfield two years ago.Little-known connectionMr Clark said, "When we came to Bloomfield I picked up a copy of an article which referred to the unknown connection between the house and Lewis Grassic Gibbon. "From time to time we had visitors stopping and asking if this was the house, so we decided to put up a plaque to recognise the fact that a great author had lived here as a boy. "It seemed odd that there was nothing here to mark the author's time in this house. After all, the Grassic Gibbon Centre is just down the road." Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson, who attended the ceremony, said, "This is a fitting and dignified commemoration of the link between Bloomfield and one of Scotland's greatest writers who wrote so powerfully about the Mearns and its landscape and people." The annual supper of the Friends of the Grassic Gibbon Centre was held last week. Guest speaker was Dr David Northcroft from the Elphinstone Institute and musical entertainment was by Tich Frier.

UK & World

Pilot pleads not guilty over Shoreham Airshow manslaughter charges

May 15 2018

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.Hill remains on unconditional bail.