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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...


Matthew Pope trial hears murder accused held piece of wood aloft while man lay bleeding nearby

January 22 2014

An “angry and raging” murder accused was found in his alleged victim’s Dundee flat holding aloft a piece of wood while a man lay bleeding nearby, a trial was told. Matthew Pope was seen with the item “at shoulder height” in the living room of Michael Given, who was lying on the floor, a witness told a jury at the High Court in Aberdeen on Tuesday. Pope, 22, denies murdering Mr Given in the Elders Court multi-storey block last July. Witness Ryan Crighton, 22, told the trial Mr Given lived in the sixth-floor flat opposite him and was his “best mate” for a while. Mr Crighton said “you couldn’t ask for a better guy” when Mr Given was sober but, when drunk, he had threatened him although “never followed through”. Returning to his flat on the evening of July 20, Mr Crighton said Mr Given had threatened him again, leaving him “scared”. He reported this to the caretaker, who told him to call the police. After returning to his flat, Mr Crighton later heard a “couple of bangs” and looking through his peephole saw Matthew Pope shouting and banging on Mr Given’s door. Mr Crighton’s statement was read out and it stated that Pope said: “I’m fed up of the threats, I’m fed up of the bullying.” It became quiet and Mr Crighton went across to investigate. Mr Given’s front door was “swinging” and he heard Pope shouting from the living room. Asked by advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC to describe the scene, Mr Crighton said: “Mikey was lying on the floor and Matty was standing a bit away from him.” Mr Fairley asked if there was anything in Matthew Pope’s hand. Mr Crighton said: “A piece of wood. He was holding it up with both hands at shoulder height.” “What did you do?” asked Mr Fairley. Mr Crighton replied: “I ran across and took it off him. I flung it.” He then grabbed Pope in a “bear hug” and took him out of the flat. Pope is accused of murdering Mr Given on July 20 or 21 by punching, kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body, striking him with a piece of wood with nails protruding from it, striking him with a TV and inflicting blunt force injuries to him. He is accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by removing blood-stained clothing and disposing of evidence in a bin. He faces three other charges assaulting Mr Given by inflicting blunt force injuries, adopting an aggressive and threatening manner towards Paul Taylor, Rowena McIntosh and Douglas McIntyre on July 20 or 21 and assaulting a man in Victoria Road, Dundee, on February 10. Pope denies all five charges. The trial continues.

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

Dundee FC

Ian Crighton’s return to Dundee board was vital says Scot Gardiner

July 4 2013

Dundee boss John Brown’s budget has been “significantly improved” as moves towards a new regime at Dens Park start to gather pace. As expected, the club confirmed that former finance director Ian Crighton is back on the board following the agreement of revised Heads of Terms with US investors Football Partners Scotland late on Monday. Although the signing of the paperwork does not guarantee an immediate injection of funds, the club’s board have agreed to boost the playing budget accordingly in anticipation of the takeover being formally completed in just under a month’s time. The first paperwork was due to be signed on Friday evening but that did not take place as planned, prompting Brown to accuse directors Dave Forbes and Fraser MacDonald of dragging their heels and potentially costing the club new signings. However, the paperwork relating to the proposed investment by the Texas consortium has now been done. In a statement, the club said the increased budget agreed following a board meeting on Tuesday night would allow Brown to finalise his playing staff for the forthcoming season. “It is hoped that signing targets that have been identified by the manager can now be secured to ensure he has a full complement of players going into the series of pre-season games,” the statement added. “The board are now progressing with arrangements for a general meeting to consider the proposed injection of funds from FPS. “Dundee FC Supporters’ Society are also progressing with the staging of an election and special general meeting to provide their members with the opportunity to vote on the offer and the consequent reduction in their shareholding.” Crighton’s return to the board represents a significant step in the long-running takeover saga, as it was he who quit along with fellow directors Bill Colvin and Steve Martin due to the lack of progress with their plans. While Colvin and Martin are expected to return when the takeover is completed, Dundee chief executive Scot Gardiner suggested Crighton’s immediate return to the boardroom was vital. “We require his skill set,” he admitted. “You can’t run without a financial director, it’s impossible. We need that and we’re coming into a busy time.” Gardiner also explained that the club was now entering a “technical transitional period” as due process had to be followed behind the scenes. He noted: “There’s no transition with regards the running of the club because while this transitional period is between now and when it finally gets done, we’ll carry on as normal. “But the articles of association had to be changed according to the new shareholding and the new share issue because effectively we are having to create new shares in order so that the money all comes into the club and you are not buying shares from anybody else. “That process will run parallel with whatever the society has to do in writing out to its members and we as a football club will write out to our shareholders informing them of this situation. Once the shares go through, then there will be a board meeting. At the completion of the deal there will have to be a board meeting. “At that stage, that board will then decide where it’s at personnel-wise going forward. There may well be special general meetings from the society which will also dictate who can or cannot be on the board from their point of view, but we don’t have anything to do with that.”

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.


Elders Court murder trial hears blood spots matching DNA of accused were found on door

January 29 2014

Blood matching the DNA profile of a Dundee murder accused was found on the front door of his alleged victim’s flat, a trial has heard. A police forensic scientist said the likelihood of it coming from anyone other than Matthew Pope was more than one in a billion. The trial in Aberdeen heard a pair of jeans soaked in blood matching alleged victim Michael Given’s DNA were also found in Pope’s girlfriend’s flat. Pope, 22, denies murdering Mr Given at his home in Lochee’s Elders Court on July 21 last year by punching, kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body and striking him with a piece of wood. A charge alleging Pope attempted to defeat the ends of justice by concealing and destroying evidence by hiding clothing and a piece of wood was dropped by prosecutors on Wednesday. During the final day of Crown evidence, police forensic scientist Fariha Abidi, 41, told the jury she had examined items and blood patterns in Mr Given’s sixth-floor flat and its surroundings. These included a fingerprint in blood matching Mr Given’s DNA and a blood swab matching Pope’s on the outer door of the flat. Ms Abidi had also tested fingernail swabs taken from Pope on July 21. She said: “One swab was blood-stained with a mixed DNA profile of two individuals. Matthew Pope and Michael Given could produce such a DNA profile.” Ms Abidi said jeans recovered from Pope’s girlfriend Melissa McKay’s second-floor Elders Court flat had saturated blood staining matching Mr Given’s profile in the knee area, indicating possible contact with “a large volume of blood”. Referring to blood found on Mr Given’s living-room wall, Douglas Fairley QC, prosecuting, asked: “Could it be consistent with a kick into wet blood at that level or a stamp into the source of blood or striking with an implement or weapon? “Yes,” she replied. Ms Abidi said a small spot of blood matching the DNA profile of Ryan Crighton was found on the living-room wall but that its age could not be determined. Cross-examined by defence QC Brian McConnachie, Ms Abidi agreed that no DNA matching Mr Pope’s profile had been found on two pieces of broken wood found in Mr Given’s flat and a communal bin. Pope denies murder and has lodged special defences of incrimination against Ryan Crighton and Aaron McHugh and a special defence of self defence against Michael Given. The trial continues.


Dundee FC boss confident ahead of Falkirk’s visit, despite lack of strikers

January 18 2011

Dundee boss Barry Smith insists his side can once again triumph in adversity despite facing a striker crisis for Saturday's game against Falkirk. Dundee were already set to be without Leigh Griffiths who is currently training with Wolves before hopefully sealing a permanent move. Now, they will also be missing Sean Higgins who is suspended after being sent off for two bookable offences against Dunfermline at the weekend. However, Smith is still optimistic that his side can pick up another priceless win against the Bairns, especially after being impressed by the performance of trialist Tom Brighton at East End Park. "Sean being suspended presents us with a problem but we will just have to get on with it," Smith said. "The boys will continue to fight their corner and stick together. Whoever is asked to play up front will do a job for us, it is as simple as that." He added, "We managed to bring in Tam Brighton on trial on Saturday and from what I saw of him, I think there is a player there waiting to get out. "He has not played a competitive game for a long time but I thought his work rate was different class. "He was up front by himself and he really ran himself into the ground." He added, "He has gone into our dressing-room and realised what the lads are fighting for and he has bought into that. "That is credit to the boys in there as they will not let anyone come into the dressing-room and not make them aware of what is at stake."

Perth & Kinross

A fishing hut called Tarka built for A Fish called Wanda director

August 27 2016

A Perthshire log cabin built for the director of A Fish called Wanda has gone on the market. Tarka, in Kirkmichael, near Blairgowrie, features an unusual turfed roof. The property was commissioned by Charles Crichton, who co-wrote the 1988 film with John Cleese, who also directed many of the Ealing comedies. He used it as a base for fishing and after his death his wife Nadine made it her permanent home. The property is being sold by their oldest son, David, for offers in the region of £260,000. Speaking from their home in Buckinghamshire, David’s wife Judith said: “The house was built in the mid-80s. “Charles liked fishing, so he went up there to fish – David would call it a ‘fishing retreat’. “Nadine, his wife, died in 2014 and she lived there almost to the end, having moved there from London after Charles died.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xxdYfUvi9g A spokesman for CKD Galbraith, which is marketing the property, said it is the perfect retreat for outdoor-lovers. “Situated on the south-eastern fringes of the village of Kirkmichael, Tarka enjoys an attractive rural setting,” he said. “Perthshire is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and there are a wealth of opportunities for outdoor pursuit enthusiasts with a number of trails for walking and mountain biking. “Shooting, fishing and stalking can all be taken locally and the ski slopes of Glenshee are only a 30-minute drive away. “Kirkmichael itself provides a village store and Post Office as well as a petrol station, church, primary school and hotels. “Very much the heart of the house is the open plan kitchen/dining/sitting room, this bright spacious room is ideal for modern family living with large patio doors and windows making the most of the stunning scenery surrounding the cabin.” A Fish Called Wanda was Crighton’s final film before retiring. It earned him Oscar nominations for both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.


Matthew Pope trial hears witness lied in police statements

January 22 2014

A murder trial witness has admitted lying in his police statements but denied killing a man in a Lochee flat. Ryan Crighton was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Matthew Pope who is accused of murdering Michael Given in Elders Court last July. Mr Crighton, 22, told the trial he saw Pope standing in Mr Given’s livingroom holding a piece of wood in both hands while Mr Given lay bleeding on the floor. Asked by defence advocate Brian McConnachie, QC, why he failed to tell police this on two occasions. He replied: “I was finding it hard to tell the truth at the start. I didn’t say it in the first statement but I got to the truth eventually.” Advocate depute Douglas Fairley, QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Crighton, “It may be suggested that it was you who killed Michael Given. What do you say to that?” Mr Crighton replied: “It wasn’t me.” Matthew Pope, 22 denies murdering 29-year-old Michael Given at Elders Court on July 20 or 21 last year and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by removing bloodstained clothes and disposing of evidence in a bin. The trial at the High Court in Aberdeen continues.

Scottish Championship

Brechin City boss won’t let players feel sorry for themselves

April 3 2018

Brechin City manager Darren Dods won’t let his players feel sorry for themselves as they head to the Highlands in search of their first league win. The Glebe Park side go into tonight’s clash with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Falkirk, which was made worse by two red cards. Sean Crighton and Paul McLean will be missing for the already relegated part-timers but Dods is determined that his team will put in a good performance in their absence. He said: “It was shaping up as a tough week anyway as we were away to Falkirk, up at Inverness and then have St Mirren to face this Saturday. “It will obviously be harder now as we are without two more players after their red cards. “Long midweek trips are difficult for part-time teams in a full-time league but we will look to go out with a bang and end our season on a high, starting at Inverness.” Dods added: “We know what our fate is but it is important to try and end our season well. “We knew that this season would be challenging, and it has actually been more challenging than we had thought, however we can play without any pressure.” As well as having Crighton and McLean banned, Dods is without the injured Ryan McGeever, Craig Storie and Andy Jackson. The good news is Euan Spark returns from suspension.