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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

Montrose murder trial: Head found in suitcase

December 8 2016

The severed head of a missing mother-of-three was found inside a suitcase at an empty flat in Montrose, a murder trial has heard. The head was wrapped in two bin liners and tied up with a necklace. Police forced their way into the property at William Phillips Drive and found the suitcase and a pink rucksack hidden inside a shower unit. The grim discovery was made on November 5, last year - just days after Kimberley MacKenzie was reported missing. Steven Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 28, deny murdering Miss McKenzie and cutting up her body. The pair are further accused of disposing of body parts in bins around the town. Jurors heard that Higgins was found with a key to the William Phillips Drive property when she was detained by police In Aberdeen. Detective Constable Victor Whyte told the court that the suitcase and rucksack were taken from the flat to Dundee mortuary for examination. He said they were carefully opened by scientists, biologists and forensic officers. Mr Whyte said that inside the suitcase was Miss MacKenzie's head and two thighs. Jurors were shown pictures of the black bags found inside the case. The bag containing the head was knotted and had a necklace looped around the end, Mr Whyte said. Inside the pink rucksack was more bags containing Miss MacKenzie's left knee and lower leg and her left arm and hand. Lady Rae warned jurors and members of the public before showing a photograph of a hand inside a thin plastic bag. Another image showed blood stains and damage to the rucksack. Murray Pete, a mark enhancement recovery officer for the Scottish Police Authority, said that a fingerprint was found under the knot on the back which contained the head. He said further prints were found on a Skean Dhu dagger, which was recovered by police from behind a box in Jackson's living room. More fingerprints were found on a steam cleaner at the property. The trial heard that Higgins was detained by police in Aberdeen on November 6, the day after the body parts were discovered. Detective Constable Kim Duncan, 31, said that her colleagues had traced Higgins, and her boyfriend David Melville, to Market Street in the city centre. As she sat in the back of the car, Higgins burst into tears. She told DC Duncan she understood why she was being detained. "It's that lassie Kim," she said. "It's common knowledge that she had been murdered." Higgins went on tell how Jackson had been Miss MacKenzie's boyfriend and that she herself had also been in a relationship with Jackson for about three weeks. Higgins said she had gathered her belongings and left Jackson's house days earlier, when he was spending a weekend in the cells. She added: "It happened on Monday." DC Duncan said: "I didn't know what she was referring to and I didn't ask her about it." But when questioned about what she said to DC Duncan during a police interview, she said: "I never said it happened on Monday. I never said he murdered anybody on Monday."   Accused: "It's the end of the world" After he was detained by police, Steven Jackson told an officer: "It's the end of the world." Police Inspector David Small, 40, said he visited Jackson in his cell on November 5. The court heard that Jackson had voluntarily attended at the police station in Montrose in the early hours of that morning. He was later moved to a custody suite in Dundee. Insp Small said he was called in to process an application to extend Jackson's detention from 12 to 24 hours. Mr Small said that he had been told Jackson was unfit for interview "due to episodes of psychosis." He was told this may have been "alcohol induced." Asked if he wanted to respond to the time extension, Jackson replied: "It's the end of the world." The trial also heard that Higgins was given a medical examination prior to her police interview. Under cross examination by Mark Stewart QC - representing Higgins - Detective Constable Nicola Annan said she was present during the check and noticed an injury on Higgin's body, possibly the left thigh. "She had SJ scratched into her skin," she said.   The trial continues.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose “murder” victim could have survived, court told

December 13 2016

A Montrose mother-of-three lived for about an hour after being hit on the head and could have survived the initial blow, a neuropathologist told a murder trial. Dr William Stewart said there was bruising and bleeding to the right side of Kimberley MacKenzie’s brain and signs of brain swelling. But with immediate medical attention, she could have lived. Dr Stewart was giving evidence at the trial of Steven Jackson and Michelle Higgins at the High Court in Glasgow. The couple deny murdering and dismembering Ms Mackenzie in Montrose on October 27 last year. The trial previously heard Ms MacKenzie had been hit on the head at least 11 times with a blunt object and stabbed about 40 times. Dr Stewart told the jury that he examined the brain last December. He said, in addition to the bruising and bleeding, there had been a segment of bone which looked like it had been “embedded on impact”. The court was told Dr Stewart examined sections of the brain to determine how long Ms MacKenzie had survived after the initial blow to her head. He said: “We use experience and data to produce a timeline. “The textbooks would suggest changes would take three to four hours, however my conservative estimate would be an hour or slightly less than an hour.” He then said that, with medical intervention, the head injury was “potentially survivable”. Defence QC Donald Findlay, representing Mr Jackson, suggested that changes in the brain caused by decay could account for his findings and suggested that Ms MacKenzie died shortly after being injured. Dr Stewart replied: “This is by no means a brain which masked the changes.” Jackson, 40, and Higgins, 29, are accused of murdering Ms MacKenzie by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a hammer or similar instrument and striking her with a knife in Market Street, Montrose, on 27 October last year. They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by dismembering her body using a saw, knives and a screwdriver and wrapping parts of her body in bin liners and bags and hiding them in bins in Market Street, Patons Lane, Chapel Street and William Phillips Drive, all in Montrose, between October 27 and November 4 2015. The trial before judge Lady Rae continues.


Dundee band’s cine film mystery solved following appeal in The Courier

May 24 2018

The mystery behind a cine film that is being used by a Dundee band to promote a track from their forthcoming new album has been solved thanks to a recent appeal for information in The Courier. Spare Snare re-edited the 8mm film featuring Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Craigtoun Park near St Andrews and Southend-on-Sea, to fit the melancholy track Grow from the new album Sounds which is due for release on Chute Records in July. Now a relative of one of the families featured in the footage has come forward with details after Spare Snare lead singer Jan Burnett sought The Courier’s help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q8NcO6qd_A Retired local government worker Linda Gellatly, 62, saw the recent article in The Courier and recognised two of those in the film as her late aunt Frances and uncle Doug – and then realised she was in the film herself. She said: “I only know the people having a party at the end of the film. I do not recognise anyone else. “The party is held in my aunt Betty and uncle Alex's house in Harestane Road Dundee. “I stayed next door with my mum and dad, Rita and Bob Brown and my gran Maggie Barnes stayed up the road. “Frances and Doug stayed around the corner in Newton Road. “The Barnes family were Maggie Barnes, her son Doug and daughters Betty and Rita. “My cousin Margaret (Frances and Doug's daughter) is also in the film. “My gran's cousin Willie McKenzie is also there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZhUnBzTS_4 “I'm the youngest in the film. I think I may be around 10/11 so that film would be around 1965/66.” Spare Snare musician Adam Lockhart, who runs the Media Preservation Lab at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee explained that the films (super 8 and standard 8) were handed into the art college a number of years ago by persons unknown. They had been lying around in the photography department for a long time, until a student became interested in them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZbb2r1ok4 The student came to him to ask if he could use the films for an art project, so Adam had them all digitally scanned. In the end the student didn’t use them so he decided to make the Spare Snare video with them. He added: “The reels were marked as being owned by a William (Willie) MacKenzie, who was a friend of Linda Gellatly’s family. He appears in the party scene at the end. “Linda said that he never married, so perhaps he didn’t have anyone to leave the films to, so when he died someone maybe handed the films into DJCAD?”

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose man reported bag of “pumpkins” to police, murder trial hears

December 1 2016

A tattoo artist has told a murder trial how he found a black bag in his wheelie bin, filled with what he believed were Halloween pumpkins. Iain Fraser found the "very heavy" sack in among his recyclables. The 43-year-old, who lives in the same block as murder accused Steven Jackson, also found a bag with some carpet inside. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins, 29, are on trial at Glasgow High Court. They deny murdering and dismembering 37-year-old Kimberley MacKenzie at Jackson's flat in October, last year. It is alleged they cut up Miss MacKenzie's body and put her parts into bins at Market Street, Patons Lane, Chapel Street and at 73 William Phillips Drive. Jackson and Higgins are also alleged to have cleaned and bleached the walls of the flat and disposed of a bloodstained rug. Mr Fraser, who works at a tattoo shop in Montrose, told the high court that his recycling bin went missing at the end of October last year. He later found it outside a hairdressing salon on Chapel Street. "It was late at night and I thought I should bring the bin back," he said. "It looked like someone had put their rubbish on top of our rubbish. "I saw a black bin liner filled with cut-up carpet," he said. "I didn't think much of it, because there was a carpet discount place down the road." Mr Fraser said there was another black bag underneath. "I lifted it up to eye level and thought it was very heavy. "I thought it was pumpkins, because it was that time of the year." He put both bags in another bin, the court heard. Mr Fraser reported the bags the following day, when he woke to find several police vehicles outside Jackson's flat. Higgins' mother Mandy Key also gave evidence. The 47-year-old, who stays in the Montrose area, said her daughter had had problems with drugs since the age of 13 and has been using heroin since she was 14. "She was one of the most popular at school and she was very, very clever," Mrs Key said. "She had a diploma in music. I really thought  she was going to do well. "Things changed because she had bipolar, but it wasn't diagnosed." Higgins' father Adrian told the jury that on Sunday, November 1 - five days after Miss MacKenzie died in Jackson's flat - he received a text message from his daughter. "Just escaped a psychopath," she wrote. "Got with a guy I've been chasing for seven month good times." Higgins told her dad that her ex was "real crazy", adding: "Dangerous is nae the word." Mr Higgins said he did not know who his daughter was referring to. Montrose resident Lynne Grant told the court that she saw Jackson acting "shifty" near a communal bin store when she visited her mother on November 4. Mrs Grant, 47, said: "He came in the back entrance, the other entrance to the block." She said he "hung around" beside the bins. "He seemed unsure. He went towards the bin area door and went through it." Asked by prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC about Jackson's demeanour, Mrs Grant said: "He was different to normal. Usually if you came into the communal area he appeared desperate to get into his flat as quickly as possible." Mrs Grant said that while she waited to get inside her mother's flat, she was aware of a female standing behind her.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Victim’s blood found in ex-boyfriend’s flat

December 14 2016

Blood matching Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie's was found throughout her ex-boyfriend's flat, a jury has heard. Forensic biologist Jacqueline Sharp told Glasgow High Court a total of 45 blood spots were found at the Market Street property of murder accused Steven Jackson. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on one of his shoes. Ms Sharp said spots of blood were found on a sofa and armchair in the living room, as well as on a glass table and skirting board. More samples were taken from the hallway and bathroom. Asked by Advocate Depute Ashley Edwards if blood found at the bathroom door could have been caused by an injured person being carried into the room, Ms Sharp said: "Yes, that would be one explanation." Under cross examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, she also accepted there could be "thousands" of reasons. Miss Sharp said that some of the blood found in the flat had been diluted or smeared as if the area had been washed or cleaned. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins 29, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie. They face further allegations that they disposed of Miss MacKenzie's body parts in bins and cleaned the flat and bath with bleach and caustic soda. The court has heard the 37-year-old died at the flat in October, last year. Forensic scientist Barry Mitchell said traces of DNA matching Jackson were found on the handle of the suitcase which held Miss MacKenzie's severed head and thighs. Traces of Miss MacKenzie's blood were also found on one of Jackson's shoes. Mr Mitchell said the chances of the blood being anyone else's were one in more than a billion. The court heard more of Miss MacKenzie's blood was found on Higgins' mobile phone, underneath its outer casing. DNA and blood matching Miss MacKenzie were also found on a claw hammer found in Jackson's living room. The jury was also told Jackson had texted Miss MacKenzie on October 17 — 10 days before she died. He wrote: "I'm with Mishy now and it would be easier if you stop coming. Please. I really want to make a go of it with her." Miss MacKenzie replied: "Yeah, no probs. I'm sorry I've made things difficult 4 u. What happens when you get gear again. Will still sell me? x" Dr Robert Cumming, who examined Higgins while she was in police custody, told the court she had the initials SJ "carved" on her leg. The trial before Lady Rae continues.

Perth & Kinross

Perth pupils told to raise almost £2,000 for school crest following legal dispute

May 17 2018

Pupils have been told to start raising nearly £2,000 after parents voted to keep the school badge at the centre of a heraldry dispute with the country’s Lord Lyon. Children at Craigie Primary School in Perth had discovered they were breaking an ancient law on heraldic design and faced an £1,800 bill as a result. Parents were surveyed and asked if they wanted to avoid the bill by changing the design of the school crest for future use on uniforms. They voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current controversial design and now pupils have been told they have to raise the cash themselves. Head teacher Lesley Gibson told parents more than 70% had voted to keep the heraldic design and said: “Our legal team have been fully involved in supporting us through discussions with Lord Lyon’s office. "We are pleased to let you know that we can still use any item that already has the logo on it – e.g. sweatshirts, book bags, headed notepaper etc – we just cannot order new items displaying the logo, until the registration fee is paid. “In order to raise the money, we will plan fundraising events over the next few months.” The 200 pupils at the school are immediately being asked to donate two pounds to take part in a “dress down” or “dress royally” event tomorrow. It is understood that the disputed crest has been worn by pupils at the school since the 1950s. Craigie Primary has contravened the Lord Lyon King of Arms Act 1672, by failing to register its badge, which is classed as a coat of arms. Under the Act, any organisation with a badge classed as “a heraldic device with an outline” must register its shield of arms with the Public Register of Arms and Bearings in Scotland, for a fee. A shield with a school’s initials would not be considered heraldic, but if it contained, for example, a lion rampant it would require approval. A spokeswoman for the Court of the Lord Lyon said: “Every school badge has to be registered if it is heraldic. “If they are not registered the school or organisation must cease using them.”

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: blood soaked clothes found in bin

December 16 2016

Blood soaked clothes with more than 45 stab cuts were found dumped in a wheelie bin, a murder trial has heard. Two hooded tops were recovered by police investigating the death of Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie. Ex-boyfriend Steven Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 29, are on trial at Glasgow High Court accused of murdering and dismembering the 37-year-old. They deny all charges. Dundee-based forensic scientist Barry Mitchell told jurors he had been asked to examine two hooded tops which were found in a bin at William Phillip Drive. One item was described as an XL Cedarwood top. He said it was heavily saturated with blood. "Most of the blood appeared to have originated on the inside of the top," he said. An analysis found DNA matching Miss MacKenzie. He said there were 45 stab cuts across the front and back. Mr Mitchell said the damage corresponded with cuts on the second hoodie, as if the two garments were worn together when the cuts were inflicted. He said severance cuts found on the clothing could have been made by a saw. The court heard DNA from Miss MacKenzie was found on the tools and other items recovered from Jackson's flat in Market Street. These included a saw, a black wallpaper scraping tool and Stanley knife. Traces of blood were found on a bent black handled knife, a skean dhu dagger and a mop. He said it was possible the knife and Skean Dhu were cleaned before they were recovered by police. He also said the mop had smelt strongly of bleach. "Bleach is a very successful way of destroying DNA," he said. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on a u-bend removed from Jackson's bath. Mr Mitchell said: "This could be explained by a significant volume of blood from her, having flowed out of the bath via the u-bend." A separate analysis of blood strained strands from the mop found DNA matching Miss MacKenzie. Higgins' DNA was found on the handle of a Co-op carrier bag which contained Miss MacKenzie's lower torso, as well as on the shoulder strap and handle of a pink rucksack which also held body parts. Closing the crown case, prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC formally withdrew allegations that Jackson was involved in the supply of diamorphine and diazepam. An allegation that Higgins was in possession of a knife in a public place was also dropped. The trial before Lady Rae continues.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Michelle Higgins denies hammer attack

December 20 2016

Murder accused Michelle Higgins told a policeman she attacked a woman with a hammer, a jury has heard. The 29-year-old who is on trial for the murder of Montrose woman Kimberley MacKenzie said she could not remember making the comment during a cigarette break at Dundee police station. Higgins and co-accused Steven Jackson, 40, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie at Jackson's flat in Market Street, Montrose. The pair are further accused of disposing of her body parts in bins and bags around the town. On Monday, Higgins was questioned about her account of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told Glasgow High Court on Friday that Jackson had attacked her with a hammer, before repeatedly stabbing her with a skean dhu dagger. She accepted that she "didn't raise a finger" to help Miss MacKenzie and that she helped dispose of her body but she insisted she did nothing to harm her or dismember her. Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, asked Higgins if she remembered talking to Detective Constable Ian Ross at Dundee police station's custody suite. Mr Findlay said DC Ross, 56, made a statement, claiming that Higgins had told him: "I hit her on the legs." When he asked what she hit her with, Higgins replied: "With a hammer." However, Higgins told the court she had "no memory at all" of the exchange. She said she was in a "drugs induced psychosis" at the time. Higgins, who was diagnosed with a bipolar condition, said she was a "completely different person" at the time of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told the court that she had had a "large" heroin habit which cost her up to £80 a day. Mr Findlay accused her of giving jurors a "presentation" of evidence. "It was a performance, wasn't it?" he asked. Higgins replied: "A performance in a court room? Hardly." The court heard that Higgins and Jackson went out into Montrose town centre, hand in hand, while Miss MacKenzie's body lay in Jackson's living room. Higgins was also accused of showing no emotion as she told how her friend was killed. "When your mother gave evidence and looked at a photo of her granddaughter's rucksack, knowing it had been used by her daughter to hide body parts, she was distraught," said Mr Findlay. "You didn't show one hint of emotion when you gave your evidence," he told Higgins. She said: "Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a violent person. I've done plenty of bad things, but I wouldn't murder someone." Asked by advocate depute Ashley Edwards QC why she appeared to go out "shopping" with Jackson after Miss MacKenzie's murder, Higgins said: "I was just being like an obedient puppy and just doing as Steven wanted. It's stupid, I know." Higgins was quizzed about a text message exchange with Jackson on October 28, the day after Miss MacKenzie died. Jackson wrote: "I need help got some bits chopped offxx". Higgins replied: "Mink LOL". "LOL? This was someone who was meant to be your friend," said Ms Edwards. "Does this give an insight into you thinking at the time?" Higgins said: "I don't know, I was just going along with him." The trial continues.


Woman’s flat fall death another tragedy for musician’s family

June 11 2013

The sister of tragic Dundee pop star Billy Mackenzie has died after falling from a tenement window in the early hours of Monday morning. Elizabeth (Lizzie) McIntosh, 51, apparently fell through the window of the block in Lyon Street shortly after midnight in what is believed to have been a tragic accident. Ms McIntosh is the fourth sibling to die tragically after the lead singer of The Associates committed suicide in 1997 in the wake of his mother’s death. Billy’s younger brother Jimmy also died of a drug overdose days after being released from prison, four years after his brother’s death. And in October 2010, another brother John Mackenzie died in a fire at his home in Mary Slessor Square. They are survived by brother Alex and sister Helen. Paramedics rushed to the city’s Lyon Street in a bid to save Lizzie’s life after the alarm was raised. She was taken to Ninewells Hospital but later died from her injuries. A family friend, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s awful. I feel terrible for Alex and Helen. I really don’t know what they’ll be going through right now. It’s heartbreaking for them.” A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service confirmed paramedics were called to the incident. She said: “We got the call from the police at around quarter past midnight to attend at Lyon Street in Dundee. “Crews responded to an unconscious female who had fallen from a balcony. She was breathing at the time and was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.” Police have launched an investigation into the incident. It is believed Ms McIntosh, who lived in a second-floor flat, fell into the back yard from a shared window in the stairwell. Members of the public were refused entry into the communal garden area with officers preserving the scene for further investigations. A spokeswoman for Police Scotland, Tayside Division said: “A woman understood to be in her early 50s, has died after falling from a flat in Lyon Street, Dundee. “The woman was taken to Ninewells Hospital, where she tragically died. Inquiries are continuing and Police Scotland would appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them on 101, or speak to any officer.” It is understood police believe there are no suspicious circumstances and are treating the death as an accident. Neighbour Scott Carmichael, 34, said: “We didn’t hear anything, just a bang on the door from the police when they arrived. “It’s strange because that window is never open very much. I don’t know how she managed it.”