Sex attacker took victim’s phone and added himself on Facebook

Shane Stewart preyed on two strangers on the same day as they made their way through Edinburgh.

Phone: Shane Stewart, 25, took a victim's phone and added himself on Facebook. P. Kijsanayothin via IStock
Phone: Shane Stewart, 25, took a victim's phone and added himself on Facebook.

A sex attacker who targeted lone women walking to their work was caught after he left his own details on the phone of one of his victims.

Shane Stewart preyed on two strangers on the same day as they made their way through city streets towards their employment.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Stewart, 25, left one of his victims terrified and fearing he was going to rape her.

The woman started shouting for help and a passing van driver responded and stopped his vehicle to come to her aid.


Another woman was left crying and pleading for Stewart to stop during an attack he launched on her.

But the court heard that during the incident with the woman, who ended up crying, Stewart had asked if she used social media and to hand over her phone.

Advocate depute Mark Mohammed said: “He asked if she was on Facebook and asked for her phone so that he could add himself as her friend.

“She handed him the phone and he searched for his name and sent himself a friend request from her Facebook account before handing the phone back to her.”


Police were contacted after the attacks on the women in Edinburgh on the morning of October 25 last year.

Mr Mohammed said: “The complainer was able to provide police officers with the name and image of the accused as he had added her as a friend on Facebook.”

Officers turned up at Stewart’s home and found him at the address changing his clothing.

Stewart admitted committing the two sex assaults when he appeared at court on Thursday via a live link to prison.

He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the first victim, aged 20, at East Market Street, Edinburgh, by touching her on the body, seizing her waist and pushing her into a window. He also pushed her onto a bench and squeezed her neck after making violent threats.

He further pleaded guilty to assaulting the second woman, aged 26, at West College Street, with intent to rape her.

During the attack he approached her from behind and placed his arm around her neck, made violent threats and sexual remarks to her, and molested her.


The court heard that Stewart has previous convictions for assault and threatening behaviour and has been made the subject of non-harassment orders aimed at protecting women.

The advocate depute said both the latest offences involved Stewart approaching young women in the city centre who were unknown to him before subjecting them to assaults.

The younger woman was heading for her work when she felt a tap on the shoulder. Stewart asked her if she wanted to go for a drink and asked for a cuddle, but she refused him.

Mr Mohammed said that during the incident the woman was scared and was wanting to get away.

At one stage Stewart pushed her face into the window of a Premier Inn hotel and she banged on it to try and seek help. 

Stewart followed the second woman and grabbed her round the neck and pushed her against a wall. He groped his victim and rubbed himself up against her during the assault.

Defence solicitor, advocate James Keegan QC, said Stewart had been examined by a doctor from the high security State Hospital at Carstairs, South Lanarkshire.

Mr Keegan said: “He does understand the proceedings and is able to participate effectively in the proceedings.”

Judge Fiona Tait deferred sentence on Stewart for the preparation of a background report and risk assessment. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Barring vaccine refusers from large events ‘is wrong approach’

The deputy first minister said he disagrees with a suggestion from Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.

Scottish Government via
Swinney: Disagrees with Michael Gove.

Barring people who refuse a coronavirus vaccination from certain large events is the wrong approach, deputy first minister John Swinney has said.

Swinney said he disagrees with a suggestion from Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who said the UK Government is considering vaccine passports for events such as football matches.

Vaccine passports will be a condition for entry to nightclubs in England from September, however, the Scottish Government is yet to make a decision on whether they will be introduced.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow on Tuesday, Gove said those who refuse vaccines when they are able to receive one are “selfish”.


Swinney, who is also the Covid Recovery Secretary, was asked about Gove’s comments on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

He said: “I think it’s the wrong way to handle it.”

He said the Scottish Government’s thinking on the issue has been influenced by Professor Stephen Reicher of St Andrews University.

Swinney said: “I think, listening to Professor Reicher, I would be much more convinced by an argument that was about engaging people, taking people with us and explaining the rationale.


“Rather than the type of language that you’ve just put to me from Michael Gove.”

Swinney also said discussions are ongoing with the UK Government around waiving the need to quarantine for double-vaccinated travellers who arrive from the US and EU.

Asked about Scotland’s vaccine rollout, he said it has “massively exceeded” the planning assumption for an 80% uptake.

Houses evacuated as fire crews battle church blaze

More than 30 firefighters are in attendance at the scene in Glasgow.

Melissa Moore via @brunsmoore

Fire crews are tackling a well developed blaze at a church in Glasgow.

More than 30 firefighters are in attendance at the fire at St Simon’s Catholic Church on Bridge Street, Partick.

They were called to the scene at around 2.40am on Wednesday, close to Byres Road and Dumbarton Road.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue service say one person was given precautionary treatment at the scene.


Nearby residents have been advised to keep windows and doors closed and some have been evacuated.

/ @Brunsmoore via Melissa Moore
Fire at St Simon’s Church in Partick. (@Brunsmoore and @_catriona)

A spokesperson for the SFRS said: “We were alerted at 2.40am on Wednesday, to reports of a fire within a church on Partick Bridge Street, Partick, Glasgow.

“Operations Control mobilised six fire appliances including two height appliances and more than 30 firefighters are in attendance and working to extinguish the fire.

“One person was assisted from the property and given precautionary treatment at the scene. Adjacent properties have been evacuated as a precautionary measure and nearby residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed due to smoke.


“Road users should avoid the area to allow access for emergency service vehicles and due to road closures.

“Crews are expected to remain in attendance for some time.”

Tributes are being paid to the “loved” 162-year-old church.

Robert Hynd, Moderator of the Presbytery of Glasgow (Church of Scotland) said, “It is tragic to see such damage to a proud and historic church building. St Simon’s has an important place in the life of Partick and is particularly loved by members of Glasgow’s Polish community.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the congregation of St Simon’s. Denominations are meaningless at times such as this and we will offer whatever support we can to help in their recovery from this tragic event.”

Gold Medal for Duncan Scott as Team GB win men’s 4×200 relay

Scott becomes the first Scottish athlete to win Gold at Tokyo 2020, but it was a team effort that sealed victory.

Joe Giddens via PA Media
Winners: Gold Medals for Team GB.

Scottish swimmer Duncan Scott has won his second medal of the Olympic Games in the men’s 4×200 metres freestyle relay.

Scott becomes the first Scot to win Gold at Tokyo 2020, but it was a team effort that sealed victory for Team GB at the city’s aquatics centre on Wednesday morning.

Following his victory on Tuesday, Tom Dean became the first British male swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Games since 1908.

Dean started solidly if unspectacularly, perhaps feeling the exertions of his recent endeavours, and it was Guy who got Team GB into the lead at halfway before Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott closed the show in style.


The time of six minutes and 58.58 seconds set a new European benchmark and was just three hundredths of a second behind the world record still held by a Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte inspired United States 12 years ago.

It was a special moment for Guy, who won two relay silvers at Rio 2016 and finished fourth in the individual 200m freestyle event there. Having finally scaled the mountain, he was in tears by the time Scott touched the wall.

Scott was runner-up to Dean the day before in a historic one-two finish but the Glaswegian’s effort on Wednesday made sure Britain scooped their third swimming gold at an Olympics for the first time in 113 years.

Dean, who revealed he has had coronavirus twice inside the past year, said: “It feels pretty special. Double Olympic champion sounds pretty good. The last 24 hours have been unreal, a complete whirlwind.


“This was our best, best, best case scenario. The way Jimmy and I have been training in Bath and the times he’s been dropping, I’ve never had a shadow of doubt in my mind and it came together like we knew it would.”

His earlier success was followed by a video emerging showing his family and friends celebrating in his hometown of Maidenhead. Asked whether his latest gold would bring more of the same he replied: “They might be. They love it.”

The Russian Olympic Committee took silver, pipping third-placed Australia by three hundredths of a second, but the teams were more than three seconds behind Britain, thanks to a late surge from Scott.

“It meant quite a lot, (especially to) myself and Jimmy,” said Scott, who now has a gold medal to go with his three Olympic silvers. “It was great to do it with him.”

The United States had won this event at the past four Olympics but, without Phelps and Lochte, they settled for fourth.

‘World’s most powerful’ tidal turbine switched on

The O2 has the potential to provide electricity to 2000 homes every year.

STV News
The O2 was assembled by an 80-strong team in Dundee.

A tidal turbine described as the “most powerful” in the world has started generating energy off Orkney.

The O2 has the ability to create two megawatts of energy every year – potentially providing electricity to around 2000 homes. 

The company behind the project, Orbital Marine Power, hailed a major step forward for the tidal sector in Scotland. 

Chief executive Andrew Scott said: “I’d like to think this is possibly, excuse the pun, turning the tide here a bit.

STV News
Power is transferred by cable along the seabed to the onshore electricity network. 

“We’ve been very much focused on our research and development programme for the last 15 years and developing technologies of this nature in the marine environment is not a job which happens quickly. 

“We hope that this is a milestone that triggers a commercial era for the tidal stream sector.”

How does it work?

Assembled by an 80-strong team in Dundee, the O2 is 74 metres long, with ten-meter blades under the water which capture the energy from the powerful tidal stream and change direction depending on the movement of the tide.


Based at a site run by the European Marine Energy Centre at the Falls of Warness, power is then transferred by cable along the seabed to the onshore electricity network. 

It’s hoped the technology – launched just months before Glasgow hosts the Cop26 climate conference – could also help create jobs in Scotland. 

Orkney already generates more electricity than it needs from renewable sources, but has been unable to export it to the mainland due of a lack of infrastructure. 

Hot meal or a bath?

There is a real issue with fuel poverty on the islands, where around 60% of households struggle to heat their homes.

The charity Tackling Household Affordable Warmth (THAW) was set up to help people.

STV News

Robert Leslie, from THAW, said: “We had one case where a woman had looked at how much she had left on her prepayment meter and it was enough to either cook a hot meal or have a bath.


“For folk to be having to make choices like that in this day and age is atrocious. It gives an indication of how bad things are for a lot of folk in the islands.

“They certainly don’t recongise Orkney as a great place to live when they are choosing between heating and eating.”

‘Just the start’

The company said that the tidal turbine had the ability to offset around 2200 tonnes of carbon dioxide production every year.

And while the firm realises that tidal will not be the single solution to climate change or reaching net zero, they believe it has a crucial role to play

Mr Scott added: “We believe we can go on and build more of these machines and deploy them in more sites around the UK and ultimately around the world.

“We can see tidal stream play a role in helping to decarbonise the world.”

‘We’ll never know if Gerard could have lived longer’

Mum hopes new study will help others who suffer conditions similar to those which claimed her son's life.

STV News

Gerard Garvey’s mum will never know if her son could have lived longer – but she hopes a new study will help others like him.

He was just 17 when he died in 2008 having been left extremely prone to respiratory illness by a rare chromosome abnormality, which also caused learning disabilities.

It was six months after his birth before he was diagnosed with an ‘uncoordinated swallow’, which meant food was going straight into his lungs.

“If we’d found out earlier, there might have been less damage to his chest,” his mum Mary, from Glasgow, told STV News.


What did the study find?

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory, based at Glasgow University, examined data from more than 90,000 people with learning disabilities over the past 24 years.

It concluded that people with learning disabilities are up to 11 times more likely to die from respiratory disease than the rest of the population and called for action.

For adults with learning disabilities, the risk of death was 6.5 times greater than it was for adults in the general population.


The rate of death from pneumonia was almost 27 times higher.

‘He was amazing’

“Gerard was prone to infections, he was taking one after another,” Mary said. “I’ll always wonder whether, if we knew earlier about the uncoordinated swallow, would it have prevented the chest infections?

“He had multiple complex issues, but we will never know if he could have lived a bit longer.”

Mary recalled how, during his short life, Gerard repeatedly defied doctors’ expectations.

STV News
Gerard Garvey

“He was amazing,” she said. “We were told when he was born that we wouldn’t have him for long and that he wouldn’t do anything. Boy, did he prove them wrong.

“He had a condition which meant he couldn’t open his eyelids, but he learned that, if he lifted them with his thumbs, he could see what he was doing and play with his toys.


“Even though he was in a wheelchair, he was very boisterous, into all sorts of mischief.

“He was the centre of the family, he touched so many lives. He was absolutely amazing.”

‘Unnecessary deaths’

It’s estimated that more than 120,000 people in Scotland live with a learning disability.

The report’s lead author said many people were dying prematurely and greater awareness needed to be raised in the medical profession.

Dr Maria Truesdale said: “The research highlighted a number of inequalities in the care of people with learning disabilities.

“People with learning disabilities are dying prematurely from causes that could be prevented.

“There is an urgent need for greater understanding and awareness across health and social care of the specific health and care needs of people with learning disabilities, and in particular of the specific risk factors that contribute to premature deaths.

“We must act to now reduce preventable deaths.”

What are researchers calling for?

  • Raised awareness among doctors of the links between dysphagia and recurrent chest infections
  • Action to increase uptake of relevant vaccination programmes
  • Addressing the common risk factors related to a higher risk of respiratory-associated deaths

‘This could help others’

Meanwhile, Mary hopes that with potential health care reforms and more awareness, change will come for those with learning disabilities.

“The study could help another family,” she said. “More research is only a good thing so children and their parents can get the support they deserve.”

Police officers face months off work after spate of attacks

Six attacks on police officers in Tayside have been recorded over the past two weeks.

SNS Group via SNS Group

A number of police officers are facing months off work after a string of assaults in Tayside.

Six officers have been attacked in the past two weeks, with some suffering serious injuries and requiring long recovery periods.

Police chiefs described the “rising trend” of assaults on officers in the region as “unacceptable”.

‘Attacks hurt families’


“It’s totally unacceptable – it isn’t part of their job to be assaulted,” said Dundee-based Superintendent Iain Wales.

“They are not only a police officer; they are a husband, a wife, a mother, a father, and we are having to send officers home to their families that have been assaulted and the family then have to live with the aftermath of that, it is not acceptable.”

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said officers in Tayside were currently at higher risk of assault than those in Scotland’s capital city.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in assaults on police officers across Scotland, but specifically in the Tayside area,” said the SPF’s David Threadgold.


“Statistics will show that you are four times more likely to be assaulted as a police officer in Tayside than you are, for example, in Edinburgh.”

‘Some people think it’s OK’

Assaults on police staff rose by more than six per cent in 2020-21, compared to the previous year, with 6942 incidents being reported.

More than 1000 of them were linked to coronavirus and included spitting and coughing on officers.

But police in Tayside don’t believe the latest spate of assaults can be blamed on the pandemic.

“Yes, spitting has increased during the pandemic, but this is a behavioural thing where people think it’s OK to assault police officers,” said Supt Wales.

“When people join Police Scotland, they don’t join up to be assaulted as part of their daily duties and we will not tolerate that.


“Along with the Courts Service and the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service, we will take a very robust line on anyone who assaults a police officer.”

Some of the officers have been so badly assaulted that it could take months for them to recover from their injuries, and the psychological damage can be much longer-term.

“It’s the mental impact of it, it’s the change in their behaviour when they go home when they deal with their children and their husband and their wives and what that impact has on them,” said Mr Threadgold.

“We have to get a grip of this and society has to accept that what is going on at the moment cannot be sustained.”

Nicolas Cage movie to premiere at Edinburgh film festival

The 74th edition of the festival will open with the European premiere of Pig, starring Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter.

Sascha Steinbach / Stringer via Getty Images
Nicolas Cage movie will open this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Movies featuring Oscar winner Nicolas Cage and Star Wars star Adam Driver will premiere at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The 74th edition of the annual event will mix in-person and digital screenings and is the first since the coronavirus pandemic.

It will open with the European premiere of Michael Sarnoski’s Pig, starring Nicolas Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter.

Leos Carax’s Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard and co-written by pop veterans Sparks, will be shown for the first time in the UK, fresh from success at the Cannes festival, where it won Best Director.


A special preview screening of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, with Sharon Horgan and Richard E Grant, and the UK premiere of Here Today from comedy hero Billy Crystal – which will close the festival – will also feature.

The festival will take place from August 18 to 25 and includes 31 new features and 73 shorts, with 18 world premieres.

The majority of screenings will take place at the Filmhouse, with the opening gala and special preview at Festival Theatre and others taking place across Scotland.

Scottish films include the documentary Prince Of Muck and Hebridean drama The Road Dance, based on a book by STV News presenter John MacKay, who also stars.


International movies will focus on issues including refugees, the justice system in Iran and South Africa’s legacy of apartheid.

Culture minister Jenny Gilruth said she is “delighted to welcome the festival back after its absence last year to remind us of the magic of watching films on the big screen.”

Gilruth said: “This year’s festival programme includes an exciting series of screenings, events and networking opportunities, as well as a series of talent development initiatives, which I am pleased to support.

“Through the Scottish Government’s Place programme, over £124,500 has been awarded to the festival to support a range of activity including a talent lab for professional development; script starter, a new screenwriting programme for under-represented writing talent from across Scotland; and a dedicated youth programme, designed to engage young people directly and support aspiring film makers.”

Nick Varley, lead guest programmer of the festival, said: “Despite the obvious challenges of presenting a festival during a pandemic… we are delighted to share this smaller than usual line-up with audiences.

“This year we have worked hard to ensure a diverse range of voices among the UK, European and international premieres, including achieving gender parity in our main selection.

“It’s been a joy working with such a fantastic team of programmers and we hope cinemagoers enjoy the films as much as we enjoyed selecting them.”

Andy Murray’s bid for fourth Olympic medal ends in doubles defeat

Cilic and Dodig prevailed in a deciding tie-break to win 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-7.

Adam Pretty / Staff via Getty Images
Murray: Defeated in Olympic tennis doubles.

Andy Murray’s bid for a fourth Olympic medal ended with a painful defeat in the men’s doubles alongside Joe Salisbury in the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

The pair had raised expectations with two fine performances to make the last eight and led Croatian duo Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig by a set and a break.

They had a point to make it 5-2 but Cilic and Dodig stepped up their level, broke the Murray serve and prevailed in a deciding tie-break to win 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-7.

It is they who are now guaranteed to play for a medal, and the disappointment for Murray and Salisbury was obvious.


“It’s always tough when you lose matches but especially here, a chance of getting to the semi-finals and a chance of winning a medal,” said Salisbury. “And the situation we were in, we were a set and a break up and we were playing well, so it’s very tough.”

Murray is the only tennis player ever to win successive gold medals, and he also has a silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson from London.

Given his ongoing struggles to stay fit, which included pulling out of the singles here with a thigh strain, it seems highly unlikely he will compete at a fifth Games in Paris in three years’ time.

“I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute of playing in the Olympics. I wish that today could have gone differently.


“I had another chance with Joe to win a medal, we were so close, and that’s what’s disappointing. I would like to have done some stuff differently in the match to try to help out more.”

Murray will now head home for more rest and recovery but is hopeful of being fit for the US Open, starting on August 30.

He said: “I’ll see how the injury heals. That’s what will dictate it. I’m not going to rush something if it’s not there.

“My team think I should be OK to play the US Open judging by how I felt in matches here. It’s not as physical as singles but there’s a lot of explosive movements and my leg felt fine.”

Nicola Sturgeon announces £70m investment in youth employment

The Young Person’s Guarantee was launched in November last year with the aim of protecting young people from the economic impact of Covid-19.

Fraser Bremner via Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon will visit Young Movers, a youth charity based in Glasgow, on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is determined to do everything it can to support young people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the First Minister on Wednesday announced that £70m will be invested towards youth employment.

The Young Person’s Guarantee was launched in November last year with the aim of protecting young people from the economic impact of Covid-19.

Under the scheme, every 16 to 24-year-old in Scotland is offered the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training programme or volunteering.


The £70m investment set out by the First Minister includes £45m for local partnerships to provide training, employer recruitment incentives, and mental health interventions for young people.

A sum of £13.5m will be allocated for colleges, universities and the Scottish Funding Council to provide industry-focussed courses, whilst there is £10m for the roll-out of new school coordinators and enhanced school provision, and £1.5m to increase places on volunteering and third sector programmes.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Young Movers, a youth charity based in Glasgow, on Wednesday, Sturgeon said the investment meets the commitments set out by the SNP in the party’s manifesto.

“We know that young people have been badly affected by the pandemic and we are determined to do everything we can to support them,” she said.


“The Young Person’s Guarantee is a vital part of that support which aims to give all young people the chance to succeed despite the economic impacts of Covid-19. 

“This investment of £70m, which meets four of our 100 days commitments, will also ensure employers continue to benefit from the fresh talent and new perspectives that young people bring to workplaces across Scotland.”

Sandy Begbie, chair of the Young Person’s Guarantee Implementation Group, said: ”Inclusion was at the core of the Young Person’s Guarantee so I am particularly pleased by the increased opportunities created for young people who are furthest from the workplace.  

“None of this could have been achieved without employers being engaged and I am delighted we have almost 100 employers and business groups signed up supporting the scheme.

“Our young people, who have been disproportionately impacted as a result of the pandemic, are an asset to Scotland and it has never been more important that we deliver against the Young Person’s Guarantee.”

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