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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Court gets to the bottom of women’s Xbox spat

February 8 2012

A Montrose woman has appeared in court for sitting on top of her ex-girlfriend after a spat over an Xbox. Susan McPhee (30), of Murray Lane, had previously admitted assaulting the woman at her home address on July 14 by sitting on top of her and restricting her breathing, to her injury. Arbroath Sheriff Court court heard the pair had been in a relationship prior to the disagreement. Depute fiscal Hazel Anderson said: ''During the course of a visit an argument ensued regarding ownership of an Xbox games console. Words were exchanged and there was a tussle, after which the accused sat on her.'' The squashed woman shouted: ''I can't breathe,'' to which McPhee replied: ''I don't care.'' ''The police had been contacted by the accused regarding the theft of the games console and when they attended the circumstances of the assault came to light,'' Ms Anderson said. ''Officers noted that the complainer had suffered bruising as a result of being sat on.'' Defence agent Nick Markowski said his client was a care worker and had three children to support. ''The implications for the accused are far-reaching and will mean her employment will be lost,'' he said. McPhee is now back together with her partner, having reconciled after the assault. Sheriff Brown deferred sentence for six months for good behaviour. Photo by Tim Ireland/PA Archive

Politics

Budget 2015: Nicola Sturgeon dismisses living wage plan

July 8 2015

Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed Chancellor George Osborne's claim that he is giving Britain a pay rise with the introduction of a new "national living wage". In the first Conservative Budget for almost 20 years, Mr Osborne announced that from April next year all workers over the age of 25 will be entitled to £7.20 an hour - rising to £9 by 2020. The Chancellor hailed the measure as part of a new "higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare" Britain. But the Scottish First Minister insisted the move does not amount to the introduction of a living wage, pointing out this is already set at £7.85 everywhere but London. She tweeted: "£7.20ph nxt yr & £9 by 2020 is increase in minimum wage (tho offset by cuts in tax credits) but it's not living wage - LW is already £7.85." Meanwhile, Susan McPhee, of Citizens Advice Scotland, said that, while it welcomes a move towards a living wage economy, "it looks like for most people this will not be enough to offset the impact of the wider cuts". Ms McPhee, head of policy at CAS, added: "We note too that the projected minimum wage rise to £7.20 next year still falls short of the Scottish living wage which is currently £7.85." Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) ,was also critical, saying: "The Chancellor's so-called national living wage, pitched at £7.20 next year, will be nothing of the kind and is simply a cheap gimmick aimed at undermining the successful work we have undertaken to promote a meaningful living wage that genuinely helps people out of in-work poverty." As he unveiled the measure, Mr Osborne told MPs in the House of Commons: "Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise." Scottish Secretary David Mundell said afterwards that the "national living wage is an essential part of the move from a low-wage, high-tax, high-welfare society to a higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare society". He added: "It ensures that work pays and reduces reliance on the State topping up wages through the benefits system." In the run-up to May's general election, the SNP backed an increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 an hour by 2020. Scottish Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "Here we have a Conservative Government going much further to help working people in Scotland than the SNP ever would have. "It's humiliating for the Scottish Government to demand devolution of the minimum wage, only to set it at a lower rate than the rest of the UK. "That would have penalised low-paid workers north of the border, and provides more evidence of why Scotland is so much better off as part of the UK."

Dundee

Dundee couple jailed for assaulting paralysed man

May 23 2016

A prostitute and her sex offender boyfriend have been jailed after they robbed a paralysed man in a violent attack. Nicola McPhee and Garry McNair - both previously jailed for separate bizarre offences - attacked Darrell Collings on January 28 this year. As previously reported, Mr Collings ended up in the pair’s flat after encountering McPhee - jailed last year for throwing a soiled sanitary towel at a cop - in the street. McPhee, 30, a prisoner at HMP Edinburgh, and McNair, 39, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of assault and robbery committed on Mr Collings on January 29 this year. McPhee further pleaded guilty to stealing £500 from Mr Collings on January 29 and robbing Ronald Nelson, 60, on August 27 last year at St Paul’s Close. McNail also admitted stealing electricity at the couple’s flat in Invercraig Place on January 29. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC jailed McNair for 16 months and McPhee for 18 months.

Dundee

Bogus workman stole £1,600 from 87-year-old woman

March 2 2012

A bogus workman claiming to be looking for gardening work targeted two elderly women in their homes, one aged 87 and the other 77, stealing £1,600 from the older pensioner. John McPhee (28), of Dura Street, conned his way into the pensioners' homes on separate occasions in January and diverted the women's attention by asking them to make him a cup of tea. He then stole their money and made off. McPhee, who had originally appeared in private on petition last week before the indictment was reduced to a summary complaint by the Crown, admitted that on January 9, at Logie Avenue, he stole £35 from a 77-year-old woman. He further admitted that on January 31, at a house in Kenmore Terrace, he stole a purse containing £1,600 from an 87-year-old woman. Depute fiscal Nicola Gillespie told the court the 77-year-old woman was in her house awaiting her mobile hairdresser. She had her purse, which contained £35 to pay for the haircut, in the living room. The accused managed to convince her he was working for a friend of hers who had gone out and asked to fill his watering can. Once in the house he asked for a cup of tea and to visit the toilet. When he left she became suspicious and saw her cash was missing. Police were contacted, and although the accused wasn't traced at the time, CCTV spotted him coming from that area and standing outside a local shop. On January 31, the 87-year-old woman opened the door to McPhee, who told her he needed access to trim a tree in the rear garden. While in the house he asked for a cup of tea. After drinking it, he asked the pensioner to make another cup of tea and went to use the toilet. Ms Gillespie said when he didn't reappear after about 10 minutes the woman became suspicious and went to look for him. He emerged from the living room and told her he had been looking for the toilet. After finishing his cup of tea, she felt he had overstayed his welcome and asked him to leave. ''Once he had gone she went to check her bag and found her purse, where she kept her savings, was missing,'' the depute said. She said police were called and made door-to-door enquiries but it wasn't until February 17 that police received a tip-off that McPhee was responsible for the crimes. During interviews, he denied knowing either of the women and denied the charges. Solicitor Scott Norrie said McPhee had three previous convictions for dishonesty ''but nothing of this magnitude.'' He said the accused was on a community payback order of 18 months, imposed in November, and was also on a restriction of liberty order until March 12. Mr Norrie told the court he had assumed heroin was to blame for his actions but McPhee had told him that he was now free of the drug and, having no benefits, had stolen the cash in an attempt to buy a van. He said McPhee had done some legitimate gardening work in the past and wanted the van to be able to resume that. McPhee had in fact bought a van, which was in the possession of a friend, he added. Sheriff Munro deferred sentence on McPhee until March 23 for reports and told him: ''There was absolutely no prospect of bail.'' She also told Ms Gillespie she hoped the Crown will take some action in terms of the van to see if some form of compensation can be obtained for the victims, particularly for the 87-year-old woman.

Dundee

Pair robbed disabled man after luring him into Dundee flat

May 11 2016

A prostitute and her boyfriend robbed a paralysed man in a violent attack that left the disabled man "fearful for his life". Nicola McPhee and Gary McNair - who have both previously been jailed for separate bizarre offences - attacked Darrell Collings on January 28 this year. Mr Collings ended up in the pair's flat after encountering McPhee in the street. Prosecutors say at that point she had stolen his bank cards while her lawyer claims they went to the property to have sex for cash. But once he entered McNair appeared and launched a violent assault before the pair demanded he reveal his PIN. McPhee then took a credit card belonging to Mr Collings - who the court heard is partially paralysed down his right hand side - and withdrew £500, blowing it on a TV and cigarettes.   McPhee, 30, a prisoner at HMP Edinburgh, and McNair, 39, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of assault and robbery committed on Mr Collings on January 29 this year. McPhee further pleaded guilty to stealing £500 from Mr Collings on January 29 and robbing Ronald Nelson, 60, on August 27 last year at St Paul's Close Dundee. McNail also admitted a charge of stealing electricity at the couple's flat in Invercraig Place, Dundee, on January 29.   Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC deferred sentence until a proof in mitigation hearing next week and remanded the pair in custody meantime.  

Angus & The Mearns

“This will not be a camp site of any kind,” says static caravan owner

October 3 2016

The owner of two static caravans controversially sited in Tealing has insisted he has no intention of creating a camp site. The Courier told on Thursday how Angus Council had launched an investigation into the homes parked near Balnuith Farm after complaints were received. Planning officers from the authority visited the site after issuing prohibition notices and noted "ground work" had been carried out. Tealing Community Council chair Sandra Burke, too, revealed concerns had been raised by local residents over the appearance of the homes. Some locals feared the homes may be the beginning of a new camp site. However, Thomas McPhee, 25, who is hoping to buy the land in question and build two dwelling homes, says locals have "the wrong end of the stick". Mr McPhee is adamant that no camp site of any kind will be created on the land and that he has already submitted a pre-planning application to Angus Council for the creation of two dwelling houses. The 25-year-old apologised for any stress caused to residents, but insisted he simply wants to purchase the land in order to build homes for his family. Mr McPhee said: "When I saw the picture of the land in the paper I felt discriminated against and humiliated. "The owner of the land who I am trying to buy from has had lots of people in the town on the phone to him concerned there is going to be some sort of camp here. "But that is not the case at all. "I have already submitted a pre-planning application to Angus Council to build two dwelling houses here. It's not going to be a camp site of any kind." The 25-year-old added: "One of the vans is there because it belonged to a relative who died and the other is there while we move horses in. "The first one is being taken away next week, but the other will remain at the moment. "The cistern system is only going to be connected to one of the vans. "I understand why people were concerned when they saw the article — I would not want a camp site near my home either. "But this is not what is happening here. I want to make that clear."

Angus & The Mearns

Hare courser claims he was “filling the pot” during Angus incidents

January 10 2018

A Dundee man caught hare coursing on Angus farmland has claimed the poaching was being done for the pot and not in connection with criminality linked to the barbaric pursuit. James McPhee was seen twice in fields near Forfar last year, hunting hares with lurcher-type dogs and now faces being electronically tagged after a sheriff at Forfar said the 48-year-old could be jailed for up to six months or fined as much as £5,000. McPhee, from  Bloomfield Crescent in Arbroath, has previous convictions for hare coursing, which was outlawed by legislation in 2002. But his solicitor told the court that as a member of the country Travelling fraternity that the hunt was being done for food and not connected with gambling often linked to such incidents. McPhee pleaded guilty to charges of hunting a brown hare with a dog at Carrot Farm on April 28 last year, and at Ingliston Farm, both near Forfar, on May 12. Although it involves poaching, the court was told the activity often centres around the “thrill of the chase”, with owners betting on which dog will catch the hare. Dogs can be sold for many thousands of pounds, with the activity at its height in spring or autumn. Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown heard that the April offence happened around 7pm when the farmer saw a silver Subaru Forrester parked in a field entrance and a lurcher/greyhound-type dog was seen chasing a hare two fields away. The farmer’s neighbour also witnessed the crime taking place. McPhee, who had two other dogs in the car, then got in the vehicle and drove away. In the second incident, around 7.30pm, four men were seen poaching, running through a field with a dog that was chasing a hare. The four were then seen leaving in a silver Subaru and police found two lurcher-type dogs in the car. McPhee’s solicitor said: “Despite the information regarding the background to this type of matter, my client comes from the country Travelling fraternity and his position is that hare coursing has been a means of filling the pot, so there is no question of gambling or anything else involved in the commission of this offence. “My client accepts that on the days in question he had one of the dogs chasing hares. “He has a considerable record in relation to unassociated matters and some convictions for previous offences of this kind. “He is a mechanic, and runs a self-employed business as a car dealer based in Dundee.” Sheriff Martin-Brown deferred sentence until next month for the preparation of a criminal justice social work report and Restriction of Liberty Order assessment. The court decided not to impose a disqualification order which would have banned McPhee from keeping dogs.

Perth & Kinross

Man warned he faces jail after reversing into police vehicle following high speed chase

May 8 2018

A Dundee man has been warned he faces jail after reversing into a police vehicle and driving off after a high-speed chase. Isaac McPhee was spotted driving with the licence plate of his white transit van obscured with a red rag towards an estate off the A924 road near Bridge of Cally on August 15. Perth Sheriff Court heard how the 29-year-old led officers on a race along a series of rural Perthshire roads before reversing into a police vehicle and driving off after his van's engine became severely affected by rain water. Police had been chasing McPhee for approximately 20 miles and were joined by another two pursuit vehicles by the time of the collision on the single-carriageway B952 Alyth to Pitcrocknie road. McPhee attempted to take off again but was unable to reach speeds above 20mph and he and a passenger ran off across a field. He then became tangled in a wire fence before continuing into a wooded area. A police search revealed McPhee held a provisional licence and had been driving with no insurance. He was traced later the same day but made no reply at the time of arrest. Sheriff Gillian Wade said the circumstances of the case were "deeply concerning" given McPhee's recent disqualification from driving. She told McPhee she took "a rather grim view of the matter" and warned him the circumstances could attract a custodial sentence. She said: "I urge you to cooperate very fully with the criminal social work department." McPhee, of Balmedie Drive, Dundee, pled guilty to driving with no insurance and a provisional licence with no qualified driver present on August 15, 2017. He also pled guilty to driving dangerously and at grossly excessive speeds for the road and conditions, failing to stop for police officers and reversing his vehicle when it was unsafe to do so and colliding with a police vehicle. The roads named were the A924 Kirkmichael to bridge of Cally, A93 Bridge of Cally to Rattray, Rattray High Street, A926 Rattray to Alyth, Leifrie Tce New Alyth, New Alyth road Alyth, B952 Alyth to Pitcrocknie, B954 Pitcrocknie to North Balloch and the unclassified road to Dryloch. The case was adjourned until June 20 for a criminal justice social work report to be obtained and McPhee was instructed not to drive in the meantime.

Angus & The Mearns

Families refuse to give evidence against alleged attackers after Montrose incident

May 20 2016

The trial of two men accused of threatening to kill a baby was unable to start in Angus due to the “general disinclination” of Traveller community witnesses to give evidence. Father and son William McPhee Sr and Jr are also accused of attacking a man with a sword, and destroying two vehicles during an incident in Montrose last year. Forfar Sheriff Court heard the members of two families named as alleged victims had sent letters indicating they would not testify in the sheriff and jury trial. However a sheriff rejected a Crown motion to pursue the witnesses with warrants, as police were unable to serve their summonses in person. The McPhees are accused of a number of offences in Brent Avenue on June 22. They are alleged to have both assaulted Donald Stewart by brandishing a sword at him, chasing after him, striking him on the body and arm with a shovel and striking him on the harm with a hammer. McPhee Sr is alleged to have assaulted James MacDonald by aiming blows at him with a sword through the window of an Audi A4 and striking him on the face and leg with the sword to his injury. McPhee Jr is accused of assaulting Shannon Stewart by striking her on the body with a hammer causing her to fall to her injury. The older man is then accused of culpably and recklessly swinging a hammer in the direction of the Stewart and MacDonald families, to the danger of injury. Prosecutors say both men behaved in a threatening or abusive manner towards Shannon Stewart and threatened to kill her, her baby and members of her family. Both men are then said to have wilfully or recklessly destroyed the Audi with a sword by repeatedly striking and damaging bodywork, lights and windows of the motor. McPhee Jr is also said to have destroyed a Ford Transit van with a hammer during the incident. The court previously heard the accused and witnesses in the trial are members of the Traveller community. Fiscal depute Jill Drummond asked for the MacDonald and Stewart families to appear on warrant. She said: “There is currently a Crown witness difficulty… “I accept that normally we don’t obtain warrants when citations are left with another (person). “However we have received a letter that simply indicates that I, James McDonald, on behalf of (my family), will not be attending the court case against William McPhee.” The court heard the Stewarts had also sent in a letter indicating they would not take part. However Sheriff Pino di Emidio said: “It doesn't seem to me in these circumstances you’re in a position to indicate that effective citation has been made on any of these people… “It is necessary for the Crown, and those acting on its behalf, to demonstrate greater adherence to the normal processes before this matter comes back to the court.” Ms Drummond made another motion, opposed by the accused’s defence agent, to postpone the trial due to lack of witnesses, and the case was continued until the assize beginning August 18. McPhee Sr, 46, of Fairlie Street, Camelon and McPhee Jr, 23, of Ure Street, Bonnybridge, both deny all charges.

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