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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...


Jail for ‘moron’ who plunged town into darkness by trying to steal 11,000-volt electrical cable

May 21 2015

A "moronic" thief who plunged parts of Leven into darkness, blew himself up and caused more than £60,000 worth of damage when he tried to steal a live 11,000-volt electrical cable has been jailed. John Maguire suffered horrific full thickness burns to his right hand and wrist after trying to steal the cable in the Fife town in a bid to bolster his finances two days before Christmas. Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard his stunt plunged a large area of Leven - including a Sainsbury's supermarket and an industrial park - into darkness until Scottish Power engineers fixed it. A Scottish Power insider said: "This was utterly moronic - it's hard to imagine anything more idiotic than tampering with a live high voltage cable." Maguire, 54, of Haughgate Terrace, Leven, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of attempted theft on December 23. His not guilty plea to charge of culpably and recklessly tampering with the cable causing danger of injury and death was accepted by the Crown. Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC jailed Maguire for eight months. For a full report and reaction, see Friday’s Courier.

Perth & Kinross

Woman abused police who arrived at house to search for girl

August 16 2013

A woman who screamed abuse at police searching for a missing girl has been ordered to undertake unpaid work. At Perth Sheriff Court on Thursday, a lawyer for Kelly Maguire, 37, said she had been unaware that the child was hiding in a wardrobe at her home in Perth’s Newton Place when police arrived at her door on May 12. Defence solicitor John McLauchlin said she had previous problems with officers after her partner died in a police-related incident and refused to let them in, screaming and swearing at them. Maguire admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting and swearing, and to calling police officer Derek Li a derogatory term in a racially aggravated offence. Depute fiscal Rebecca Kynaston told the court that officers had attended Maguire’s address after checking the missing girl’s Facebook account at around 2pm on the day in question. On the doorstep Maguire repeatedly called officers “piggy b*******” and told them to “f*** off” as the child was not there. Ms Kynaston said: “She was charged with abusing the police and she told them to f*** off again.” Mr McLauchlin said the girl was invited to the house by Maguire’s daughter and his client was unaware of her presence. He said: “Unknown to Ms Maguire, her daughter had brought the girl back in the house and hidden her in the wardrobe when police arrived. Ms Maguire asked her daughter if she had brought the girl to her house and she said she hadn’t.” Mr McLauchlan added that Maguire’s animosity was a result of her former partner’s death. He said: “He died during police operations. She has significant resentment about Tayside Police. As a result, she thought she was being targeted by police.” Sheriff William Wood told Maguire: “There must have been a point when you realised, due to their persistence, that this was a real investigation.” The sheriff imposed a community payback order of 60 hours.

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

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

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

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.


Fife lorry driver admits causing death of woman and eight-year-old in crash

December 13 2017

A lorry driver has admitted his carelessness killed a woman and a young boy in a collision in Fife. Donald Maguire was not paying proper attention to the road and ploughed into the back of a Ford Focus on the A92 near Kirkcaldy last year. The car driver, 36-year-old Monika Lewandowska-Ritchie and her eight-year-old passenger Bartlomiej Plachta, both died. Another eight-year-old boy was severely injured. Maguire, 56, of Waverley Drive, Glenrothes, appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday. He admitted that on April 4 last year on the A92 near the Redhouse roundabout he caused the two deaths by driving his lorry without due care and attention and failing to pay proper attention to the road in front of him. Depute fiscal John Adams said Maguire told police officers he was driving back to Glenrothes when the accident occurred. He said the Ford Focus “stopped in front of me and put the flashers on”. Maguire said there was also car at the side of him and there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision. However, Mr Adams said police investigations showed no evidence of the lorry braking. The injured boy required extensive facial surgery and may require further surgery on his lip. Sheriff Craig McSherry called for reports and Maguire will return to court to be sentenced on January 9. An interim driving ban was imposed. Following the tragedy, the boy’s family said: “Bartek was a much loved and treasured son and brother.” Ms Lewandowska-Ritchie’s family said: “Monika was a loving wife, mother, sister and daughter who was much loved and will be sadly missed by all who knew and cared for her.”


Lorry driver who caused death of woman and eight-year-old on Fife road spared jail

January 10 2018

A lorry driver, who ploughed into the back of a car, killing the female driver and her eight-year-old nephew, has avoided a jail term. Donald Maguire admitted his careless driving caused the horrific collision and could offer no explanation for not seeing their car stop ahead of him after it lost power. HGV driver Maguire was not paying attention to the road in front of him and smashed into the back of the Ford Focus on the A92 near Kirkcaldy last year. The car driver Monika Lewandowska-Ritchie, 36, and her eight-year-old nephew Bartlomiej Plachta, known as Bartek, both died. Another eight-year-old boy, also travelling in the back of the car, was severely injured. Maguire, 56, of Waverley Drive, Glenrothes, appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday for sentencing. He previously admitted that on April 4 2016 on the A92 near the Redhouse roundabout he caused the two deaths by driving without due care and attention and failing to pay proper attention to the road in front of him. Sheriff Craig McSherry imposed a community payback order with 300 hours of unpaid work and two years’ supervision. Maguire was also banned from driving for two years. The accident took place at about 2.55pm on a Monday afternoon north of the roundabout, outside Kirkcaldy. The young victim, on holiday from his home in Poland, died at the scene of the crash and Ms Lewandowska-Ritchie died in hospital. A 36-year-old male passenger in the car was not injured. Depute fiscal John Adams previously told the court that Maguire was driving back to Glenrothes when the accident occurred. He had told police the Ford Focus “stopped in front of me and put the flashers on”. Maguire said there was also a car at the side of him and there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision. However, he later changed his position, saying he could not explain why he had not braked. Police investigations showed no evidence of the lorry braking. Tachograph evidence confirmed the lorry had been travelling at 50mph and had not slowed down before the collision. The injured boy required extensive facial surgery on his left cheekbone and eye socket. He may require further surgery on his lip, which was badly injured and his speech is affected. Defence advocate Barry Smith said, “The circumstances of this tragic accident and its terrible consequences have taken a considerable toll on Mr Maguire. “He has said to me that he has thought about it every day since it happened and does not see that changing. “He has shown genuine remorse. He has a daughter around the same age as the young boy who died and as such, is very empathetic to the relatives. “He absolutely accepts full responsibility for causing the accident and its consequences.” Mr Smith said his client had been in constant employment since leaving the army and was working at Amazon as a warehouse operative.


Cupar rugby player found guilty of rape

September 4 2014

A Cupar rugby player has been convicted of raping a woman in a garden just hours after playing in a sevens tournament. Girvin Imrie, 25, an engineer from Cupar, grabbed his 20-year-old victim, who was drunk and incapable of giving consent, from behind and raped her. The attack took place in a garden at the rear of Howe of Fife Rugby Club, Cupar, on May 5 2013. He was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow. He had denied the charges. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on October 1. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in evidence she was at the rugby sevens event at Duffus Park, Cupar, with friends and ended up at the clubhouse. She told advocate depute Shanti Maguire, prosecuting, after a few drinks she decided to go to the toilet, but, instead, ended up outside. The woman said: “I was very happily drunk. I remember thinking I had to phone my boyfriend, but I can’t remember if I phoned him.” Ms Maguire said: “What happened next?” and she replied: “I just remember somebody being behind me. I know he was quite strong. He was hurting my arm. I was scared. I remember a big dark shadow. He never said a word.” She said the only part of him she could see was his hands as he held her in a vice-like grip and raped her before running off. The court heard the hat Imrie was wearing that night had been found close to where the rape took place. A DNA sample was taken from his victim, but went missing after Cupar police office closed down the day after the attack. The sample, which was in a fridge in the CID office, disappeared during the removal process. However, after hearing police were investigating an incident at the rugby club Imrie told them he had had consensual sex in the garden area that night with the woman. Judge Lord Kinclaven remanded Imrie in custody and ordered a background report.