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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...

UK & World

Lord Advocate announces new ‘cold case’ unit for Scotland

June 3 2011

A new "cold case" unit to investigate unsolved murders such as Fifer Sandy Drummond who was killed 20 years ago this month is to be created. Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said the specialist unit would support prosecutors and police in reviewing unsolved crimes from across the country which they believe merit fresh investigation. "Justice will pursue down the years those who have so far evaded detection for their crimes," he said. "The passage of time should be no protection. "We will not give up and will seek to identify the perpetrator using new forensic and other investigation techniques and prosecute them for their crimes," he added. "No one should escape the consequences of their criminality and the grief this brings to victims and their families. "Our specialist unit will work with local prosecutors and the police to identify unsolved murders for renewed investigation. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and the Scottish Police Services Association welcomed the creation of the unit. Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton, secretary of the ACPOS crime business area, said, "I welcome this significant commitment which builds upon existing local arrangements. "Through scientific advancement and re-interviewing of witnesses, positive progress has been made in recent years in bringing some unresolved matters to a successful conclusion. "The introduction of this national unit will further assist and support both the investigation and prosecution of unresolved matters which continue to impact significantly on those families and communities directly affected." Tom Nelson, director of the Scottish Police Services Authority forensic services, said improvements in forensic science could be key to cracking previously unsolvable crimes. He said, "Rapid advances in forensic techniques have changed the parameters of forensic science dramatically. Continued... "Technological advancements such as improved ballistics and fingerprint databases and DNA techniques means we are able to revisit material obtained from the original investigation providing officers with a new avenue to investigate that could be the key to unlocking a cold case." There are more than 70 unsolved murders in Scotland but Mr Drummond's death is the only outstanding case in Fife. The 33-year-old was found dead on Monday, June 24, 1991, on a farm track near his home, an isolated cottage near St Andrews he shared with his brother Jimmy. Over the four days before his murder, he withdrew several sums of money from his accounts, most of which was found in his house. On the Friday before his death, he rang Guardbridge Paper Mill where he worked to say he was resigning and refused to work his week's notice. Dundee's most famous unsolved murders are those of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe, whose bodies were dumped in Templeton Woods. Ms Lannen's body was found in 1979 and Ms McCabe's a year later. Former taxi driver Vincent Simpson was tried for Ms McCabe's murder at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2007 but was cleared after an eight-week trial.


From the archives: the gruesome murder of Janet Henderson

April 30 2010

When we learned this week that the brutal murder of a Perthshire woman nearly 150 years ago is Scotland's oldest unsolved killing, it got The Courier's online team wondering -- just how did our papers report the crime all those years ago? As Kirsten Johnson reported on Thursday, Tayside Police have revealed that -- at least officially -- the file on Janet Henderson's mysterious death at Mount Stewart Farm, near Forgandenny, on March 30, 1866, has never been closed. The 50-year-old's mutilated body was discovered lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen of her brother William Henderson's home, sparking a nationwide murder hunt. The wife of Airntully labourer James Rodgers, Janet had been helping out at the farm while her brother sought new servants in Perth. But as The Dundee Advertiser revealed in its edition of April 3, 1866, neither James nor William would ever again see her alive. In an article headlined "MYSTERIOUS MURDER OF A WOMAN NEAR BRIDGE OF EARN" The Advertiser warns the reader: "It is our painful duty to record one of the most atrocious and mysterious murders that has ever come within the range of criminal jurisprudence." In the colourful writing characteristic of 19th century journalism, it continues: "The scene of the tragedy is so peaceful, the motives that prompted it so inscrutable, and the victim so amiable and respected, that a feeling of intense interest cannot but be awakened by the narration of the circumstances that followed the discovery of the crime which we proceed to give..." We learn that "at half-past ten o'clock on Friday night" the assistant procurator fiscal of Perthshire, John Young, receives at his home in Perth a letter from William Henderson. In a strikingly polite manner considering the circumstances, Henderson writes: "Dear Sir, -- Please come out here immediately, as my sister has been murdered whilst I was in Perth. Your obediant servant WILLIAM HENDERSON." Young rounds up a Superintendent McDonald and a constable of the County Police and, after establishing the exact location of the crime: "Thither they at once proceeded, where a terrible spectacle presented itself." Sparing no detail, the report reveals that Janet: "...lay on her back on the kitchen floor, a murdered corpse. A fearful contusion of the right ear, and a large wound on the top of the head by which the skull had been crushed in, and a heavy axe close by, showed too clearly how the foul act had been perpetrated. The head of the body weltered in blood, and lay towards the door, while the feet were extended in the direction of the fire. A great portion of the floor was covered with blood, which also bespattered many articles around. The house had a confused and disordered appearance, as if it has been ransacked for plunder." Now, at this point, we, and perhaps you, are starting to have suspicions about William Henderson. The first to find the body... The first to report the murder... That oddly calm letter to the assistant procurator... His claim to have been in Perth when it happened... Could he have been responsible for this "horrid crime"? Once again, The Advertiser leaves no stone unturned and no angle ignored. "For a considerable time back Mr Henderson has lived alone, without any servant or attendant; but on Wednesday last his sister ... took up residence with him at his request, for the purpose of cleaning his house and attending a cow that was daily expected to calve. On the forenoon of the day in question, Mr Henderson states he left home for Perth with a horse and cart at eleven o'clock, leaving his sister alive and well. On his return home, between six and seven in the evening, he was surprised to find both the back and front doors of the house locked, and also the shutters of the windows secured. Having knocked in vain for admittance, he had recourse to entering the house by a ladder at one of the windows of the second storey, when he was horrified to find that his sister had been foully deprived of life during his absence." But, for The Advertiser, any suspicion surrounding Henderson stops there. Referring to his account, it declares: "This statement, it is of consequence to mention, has received material corroboration. It has been proved beyond all doubt that Mr Henderson was in Perth in the course of Friday, and also, that on his way home he made business calls on two tradesmen at Bridge of Earn, between six and seven in the evening." There are no such assurances given for Henderson's foreman James Crichton, however. In a sentence dripping with innuendo, the article states: "The man Crichton was ploughing in the neighbourhood at the time, but can give no information on the subject." Newspapers across the UK initially carried descriptions of a "tramp" reportedly seen leaving the scene around the time of the murder and a £100 reward was offered to anyone who could offer information that might lead to a conviction. Crichton was subsequently charged with murder -- but following a trial at Perth the following year the case was found not proven and Crichton was released. And so a crime that shocked 19th century Scotland gradually faded to memory. The Advertiser and its successor The Courier & Advertiser will have made reference from time to time. But as the years passed and any possible witnesses died, the "atrocious and mysterious" murder near Forgandenny was to become what it is today -- Scotland's oldest unsolved killing. Police forces across Scotland are currently investigating 77 unsolved murders -- 53 in the Strathclyde region, 10 in Tayside, six in Lothian and Borders, four in Grampian, three in the Northern Constabulary area and one in Fife. Most forces only have records dating back to 1975, when the current force structure was established. But Scotland's newspapers, in their various guises, have been around much, much longer. So perhaps the answers to these crimes lie waiting to be discovered in the dusty files that fill the shelves of publishers like D. C. Thomson. It would be a fitting legacy to the generations of journalists, printers and readers who have helped investigate and document our nation's affairs and lay down a priceless historical archive for future generations to explore. To read the full Advertiser article, click here (link will open in a new tab or window. Zoom in to read).


New leads in Sandy Drummond murder case

March 28 2016

Police have thanked the public for bringing forward new information in the quest to solve a 25-year-old murder case. Claimed to be Fife’s only unsolved homicide, Sandy Drummond was found strangled outside his Boarhills cottage in June 1991. Nobody has ever been traced in connection with the crime, however, almost a quarter of a century on, officers responsible for reviewing the murder say they have been encouraged by the public response to an article that appeared in The Courier last month. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin of the Specialist Crime Division, based at Gartcosh, said: “We’ve received an excellent response from the public since the publication of the recent Courier article and I thank everyone who has taken the time to come forward. “At this time we’re still assessing the relevance of the new information provided, however I believe that the answers to Sandy’s death lie in the local community.” Mr Drummond’s body was found by an elderly walker just 200 yards from the cottage that he shared with his brother James. At first a senior officer at Fife Constabulary believed that the former Black Watch soldier had died of natural causes, though it soon became apparent that foul play had been involved. Mr Drummond was described as a loner and a man with no enemies. As police investigated his death, it soon emerged that a series of strange events had occurred in Mr Drummond’s life prior to his killing. He had worked at the Guardbridge Paper Mill before handing in his notice just days before he was murdered. He also withdrew hundreds of pounds of savings, almost all of which was recovered when police searched his home, ruling out robbery as a motive. The investigation also uncovered rumours of a car an orange or red Morris Marina being seen regularly outside his home, and a neighbour spotting Mr Drummond depositing a holdall in the countryside, though both reports failed to generate any leads. The Courier reported on the mystery last month in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of Mr Drummond’s murder, an article that prompted members of the public to come forward with new information for the police. Mrs Martin said all submissions would be studied accordingly, adding: “Time is no barrier and we will act on all information that is passed to us.”

UK & World

New Cold Case Unit concentrating on five unsolved murders

November 10 2011

A total of five unsolved murders have been prioritised for immediate re-investigation by a unit set up to crack Scotland's cold cases. The Cold Case Unit was set up in June in the wake of the conviction of Malcolm Webster, who killed his wife in Aberdeenshire in 1994. The five priority cases date from between 1974 and 1999 and involve victims aged 20 to 59. This means unsolved murders, such as those of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe, whose bodies were found dumped in Templeton Woods on the outskirts of Dundee in 1979 and 1980, could be among those being re-investigated. The Cold Case Unit hopes technological advances, like DNA technology, improved ballistics and fingerprint databases will help them track down the culprits. The death of 33-year-old Sandy Drummond 20 years ago is another case the unit may reinvestigate. Mr Drummond was found strangled on a farm track near his home near St Andrews in June 1991. Over the four days prior his death, he withdrew several sums of money from his bank accounts and rang his employers at Guardbridge Paper Mill to say he was resigning and would not work his week's notice. After his death, most of the money he had withdrawn was found in the house he shared with his brother. His death is the only unsolved murder in Fife, but other than the Templeton Woods murders there are several more in Tayside. One of the most infamous was the death of 74-year-old widow Eliza Connelly in Barnhill 30 years ago. Her body was found in the blood-splattered bedroom of her home in Abderdour Place in April 1981. Police interviewed 1,500 people in connection with the death, but nobody was ever charged in connection with the crime. Other unsolved murders on Tayside Police's books include that of Martin Mullady, whose body was found in a flat in Jamaica Tower in September 1999, and Brian Robertson, whose body was found on a grassy area at Grange Road in Arbroath in July 2002. Despite the high-profile nature of many of these cases, the Crown Office has refused to release details of any of the 93 cases on the Cold Cast Unit's database in case doing so harms tip-off suspects and disrupts ongoing criminal investigations. Solicitor General for Scotland Lesley Thomson said: ''The prosecution service is committed to the pursuit of criminals who have avoided detection for murder. Our Unresolved Homicide Database is a significant step in helping bring them to justice. ''We have commenced the reinvestigation, by the Crown Office Cold Case Unit, of the first five murders from the database. ''The convictions this year of Malcolm Webster and Peter Tobin show our determination to pursue those who have avoided detection for their criminal acts. ''For those affected, the years that pass since the death of a loved one does not diminish their memory, nor does it diminish our determination to ensure that justice is done. ''We will seek them out and prosecute them for their crimes. We will not give up.'' Although the Cold Case Unit's database only goes as far back as 1942, there are even older unsolved murders in Scotland where the investigation remains technically open. The oldest of these is the murder of Janet Henderson, whose body was found at Mount Stewart Farm in Forgandenny in Perthshire in 1866 (link).


World’s End killer linked to murders in Templeton Woods

August 10 2015

A former police intelligence officer has claimed that World’s End killer Angus Sinclair was also responsible for two notorious unsolved murders in Tayside. Chris Clark and journalist Tim Tate investigated unsolved cases from across the UK for a new book about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s “secretmurders”. Mr Clark, who served with the police from 1966 to 1994, believes Sutcliffe did kill in Scotland while working as along-distance lorry driver but ruled out a link to the Dundee murders. However, Mr Clark said his evidence points to the man responsible being serial killer and rapist Angus Sinclair, who was jailed for 37 years in November 2014 for the World’s End murders in 1977. The body of 20-year-old Elizabeth McCabe was discovered in Templeton Woods on the outskirts of Dundee in 1980 only 150 yards from where the corpse of Carol Lannen, 18, was found almost a year before. Vincent Simpson was tried for the murder of Elizabeth McCabe in 2007 but walked free from the High Court in Edinburgh after the jury returned a not guilty verdict. Speaking exclusively to The Courier, Mr Clark said: “I am familiar with the murders of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe as I spent some timeresearching them. “My own feelings are that a serial killer was responsible. “Vincent Simpson wouldn’t fit that bill because there was no evidence that he had murdered before or since. “The police should instead befocusing their attention on AngusSinclair.” Sinclair raped and strangled 17-year-olds Helen Scott and Christine Eadie after a night out at the World’s End pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in October 1977. Mr Clark said: “Sinclair had acampervan which he took away on weekend and holiday fishing trips with brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton. “On Monday November 19 1978 17-year-old Mary Gallagher wasmurdered and her body found at the foot of a 20ft wall near a footpath crossing waste ground between Flemington Street and Edgefauld Road inSpringburn, Glasgow. “Sinclair held a knife to her back, made her take off her clothes,strangled her with the leg of hertrousers, raped her and slit her throat three times. “Her handbag was missing.Sinclair would not be caught for another 23 years. “On Wednesday March 21 1979 the strangled and naked body of CarolLannen was found in Templeton Woods close to Clatto Reservoir, which is apopular fishing venue. “Her handbag and clothing would later be discovered some 80 miles away washed up on the riverbank of the River Don near Kintore, a popular salmon and trout river. “On February 26 1980, almost ayear after the murder of Carol Lannen, came the discovery of 20-year-old trainee nurse Elizabeth McCabe’s naked strangled body in Templeton Woodsjust 150 yards from Carol Lannen’smurder. “It would appear that she had been choked to death with her own blue jumper, which was similar to the Mary Gallagher method. “Her handbag and shoes werelater found thrown away some three miles away in Cobden Street, on the route to the River Tay and the Tay Bridge. “My personal thoughts are thatthese are Sinclair’s crimes,” Mr Clark concluded. Detective Superintendent Bobby Hendren, of Police Scotland’s Homicide Governance and Review, told TheCourier: “The murders of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe initially formed part of the Operation Trinityinvestigations that led ultimately to the conviction of Angus Sinclair for the World’s End murders. “In both cases all investigativeopportunities were explored and there were no charges brought in relation to the Dundee murders. “As with all unresolved crimes, these two murder investigations are subjectto periodic review and any new evidence identified by or brought to the police’s attention will be fully investigated,” he added.


Pair arrested over 1988 murder of German backpacker

May 21 2018

Two men have been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of a German backpacker in Northern Ireland 30 years ago.The body of Munich teenager Inga Maria Hauser was found dumped in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest, outside Ballycastle, Co Antrim, 14 days after she was last seen alive on a ferry from Scotland.The 18-year-old’s death in April 1988 remains one of the region’s most high-profile unsolved murders.The two suspects, aged 58 and 61, were held in the Loughguile area of Co Antrim early on Monday morning.The arrests come weeks after a much-publicised series of appeals to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder.In April, detectives said they believed a number of people may have been involved either directly in the murder or in the subsequent cover-up, and said they only need fractional pieces of evidence to bring the chief suspects to justice.Police have a male genetic profile found at the murder scene. A number of years ago, in one of the largest DNA screenings ever undertaken in the UK, 2,000 samples failed to produce a definitive match.Prior to her death, Ms Hauser had travelled through England and Scotland and, according to diary entries, intended to travel south to Dublin when she docked at Larne, Co Antrim.But for reasons as yet unexplained, she ended up going in the opposite direction and was found dead in remote woodland two weeks later.It is understood the IRA carried out its own investigation into the killing 30 years ago.It is believed republican paramilitaries had considered passing information about the alleged murderer to the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) at the height of the Troubles, but did not follow through.After Monday’s arrests, the officer leading the investigation, Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, renewed his appeal for information.“If there are any witnesses still out there with any further information which might help police then I would ask them to come forward now and speak to detectives,” he said.“Even if there are people who know what happened but have stayed silent out of friendship or family loyalty, it is still not too late to come forward and tell us what you know.“Failure to do so can be a criminal offence in itself and surely it would be better to come to police and discuss what happened rather than take the risk we will come to you.”The two men are being questioned by detectives.

Angus & The Mearns

Top law officer probes Angus whistleblower’s cover-up claims over hiker’s deatrh

January 17 2018

Scotland’s top law officer is investigating an Angus whistleblower’s claims that police covered up a hiker’s possible murder. The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, is personally probing Kenny McKechnie’s claims that senior officers ignored evidence because it was too difficult and expensive to launch a murder investigation. North East Scotland Conservative MSP Liam Kerr asked the Lord Advocate to review the case notes in relation to Nicholas Randall’s unsolved death. He said: “Most people reading reports of this case would agree there appears to be more to it. “It’s right the Lord Advocate examines this.” Mr Randall, of Blackhall, Edinburgh, vanished in 2005 after buying a sleeping bag in a store in Edinburgh. It is assumed he hiked on the West Highland Way as his silver-grey Audi A2 was found 47 miles away at the Glen Nevis waterfall car park, near Fort William, three months after he vanished. In the following months there were sporadic sightings, including some walkers at Glen Tilt in Perthshire and Blair Castle Carvan Park where a man answering Mr Randall’s description had asked to pitch his tent. The sightings petered out and Mr Randall’s body was found in a pitched tent by forestry workers in 2008 near Bridge of Orchy, Argyll. When Mr Randall’s tent was discovered, two sets of clothes as well as a used condom were found. The case was quickly closed by Strathclyde Police who suspected no foul play. Mr Randall's decomposed body meant the cause of death was registered as “unascertained”. Mr McKechnie, 48, of Forfar, a former police officer with 21 years service, was close to the investigation. He claims senior officers turned a blind eye to evidence which suggested Mr Randall was with a mystery companion. He said management did not want to deal with the case because it was too difficult and expensive to launch a murder investigation. Mr McKechnie said none of the evidence was investigated and the decision was made by management to incinerate everything including a black-handled kitchen knife. He said: “The powers-that-be decided this couldn’t be a suspicious death.” Mr Randall had been suffering from stress-related depression but was said to be in good spirits when he disappeared. Police Scotland said a thorough investigation was carried out by a team led by a detective inspector and included forensic specialists and a post-mortem examination. The Lord Advocate can refer the case to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner watchdog. The Crown Office said: “Correspondence has been received from Liam Kerr MSP and a response will be issued.”

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

UK & World

Serial child killer Robert Black’s ashes scattered at sea

February 19 2016

The ashes of serial child killer Robert Black have been scattered at sea. The Scottish-born sex attacker, who was serving multiple sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls during the 1980s, died in jail last month. The Northern Ireland Prison Service has confirmed nobody wanted his remains. A spokesman said: "In the absence of anyone claiming the remains of Robert Black, his ashes have been scattered at sea, without ceremony, beyond these shores. "This has been done in accordance with the legal requirements for disposal." Sixty-eight-year-old Black, from Falkirk, was a delivery driver who stalked the roads of the UK searching for victims. His reign of terror was ended in 1990 when he was caught red-handed by police with a barely alive six-year-old girl hooded, bound, gagged and stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back of his van in the Scottish village of Stow. He had sexually assaulted her moments earlier. Once in custody, the predator was linked to a series of unsolved crimes in the previous decade. In 1994, Black was found guilty of three child murders in the 1980s - those of 11-year-old Susan Maxwell, from the Scottish Borders, five-year-old Caroline Hogg, from Edinburgh, and Sarah Harper, 10, from Morley, near Leeds - as well as a failed abduction bid in Nottingham in 1988. In 2011, he was found guilty of the 1981 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, from Ballinderry, Co Antrim. Black was also suspected of involvement in other killings and unexplained disappearances and had long been the prime suspect in the case of missing 13-year-old Genette Tate, who was last seen in a rural lane in Aylesbeare, Devon, in 1978. No trace of the newspaper delivery girl has ever been found. All that remained at the scene were her bike and scattered papers. Black died in non-suspicious circumstances in Maghaberry high security prison on January 12 and his body was cremated. No family members attended the short funeral service conducted by a prison chaplain.