Artist ‘buzzing’ to open paper cave to public after lockdown

Laura McGlinchey was unable to showcase her impressive artwork in 2020 due to the Covid restrictions put in place.

Laura McGlinchey via Email

An artist whose big exhibition plans were scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic last year is “absolutely buzzing” as she gets ready to welcome the public into her phenomenal paper cave.

Laura McGlinchey was unable to showcase her impressive artwork in 2020 due to the Covid restrictions put in place, but has now recreated the installation for public display.

McGlinchey, from South Ayrshire, told STV news: “I am absolutely buzzing for paper cave round two. 

“I feel incredibly lucky to have, once again, been given the space, time and encouragement to make this large installation. Especially during this global pandemic where the whole world has had to just stop.”

Laura McGlinchey via Email
Impressive: Laura McGlinchey has built another paper cave.
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As reported by STV News previously, the project was initially commissioned by Look Again, a creative unit based at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.

The installation was originally set to take place in Aberdeen last May, but was moved online.

McGlinchey, who has a compulsion to blur creative boundaries, stormed on and built the paper cave within The Pipe Factory in Glasgow last autumn.

She then invited 13 different acts – from musicians and comedians to poets and performance artists – to perform over two days. The shows were recorded and released online.

Laura McGlinchey via Email
Artwork: The exhibition will adhere to coronavirus restrictions.
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This time round McGlinchey has recreated the installation at Dough, a newly developing gallery space run by arts initiative Narture in Ayr’s Sandgate.

McGlinchey said: “I was brought up in Loans and went to school in Troon but Ayr is where I used to go as a young teen.

“I’ve got lots of pals from Ayr and lots of fond memories of hanging out, going shopping or to the cinema.

“There used to be a lot of gigs in Ayr too, all-dayers, and a lot of wild nights out. I think the first gig I ever went to was in Ayr, at The Gaiety Theatre to see The Beat.

“I’ve been in contact with Robert and Saskia, father and daughter, who set up and run Narture for about seven years now and have done a couple of exhibitions with them in Ayr through the years.

“They are very encouraging and supportive of artists being able to support themselves while making their work.

“I made a proposal to them for a residency/exhibition and they agreed to commission it. We have been working together to realise the project to its fullest potential.

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“I will be there for six weeks in total. I’ve had a great time so far. We eat together daily, discuss our days and plan for the future. A truly nurturing experience.”

Laura McGlinchey via Email
Dough: The large windows will help to boost community engagement.

McGlinchey’s main objective with the paper cave installation is to encourage community engagement.

She said: “The large windows of the venue are key to this as it allows the public in, making for a more ‘access all areas’ insight of the work, and importantly, the process that you typically don’t get in a traditional white cube gallery.

“The idea is that the local community can build up a relationship to the work, seeing it on their daily commute and to the wider public following the progress online.”

McGlinchey uses everyday materials – including string, paper, plastic waste and flour and water – to highlight that art is accessible to all.

She added: “We can use what is around us to get to where we need.

“Being resourceful is key and you don’t need to spend lots of money on materials to produce work that can identify as contemporary fine art. A largely wasteful, consumer-driven society means that there is an abundance of free materials and information available.”

Laura McGlinchey via Email
Colourful: Painting is at the core of McGlinchey’s practice.

Although painting is at the core of McGlinchey’s practice, she has a compulsion to blur the boundaries between painting, performance, sculpture, installation and craft.

When creating the first paper cave, she shredded and painted gig posters that were printed for the year ahead but due to Covid-19 no longer had any use.

Speaking about the new installation, she said: “I am using a lot of parts from the previous cave and pieces of much older works I’ve had in storage, along with materials gathered from the local area and some even given by the community.

“Working in this way means that I can get the installation built up quite quickly so that I will have time left to engage the public and local community as much as possible.

“This exhibition will take on the form of an installation made from materials found and collected from the local area – paper, cardboard, plastic. The installation will cover the walls and ceiling of the whole space, creating a cave-like environment.”

McGlinchey will also host another series of performances within the cave.

Quiche, Grayling, Jenny Clifford, Shredd, Adult Fun, Scarlett Randle and Craig John Davidson make up the bill this time round.

Again, there will be no audience, but the sets will be uploaded online.

McGlinchey said: “Unfortunately the sessions will be shown digitally and have no live audience.

“However, with restrictions slightly eased since last August bands have been able to practice together again.

“When booking the acts for the last cave, it dawned on me that it would be very difficult to get a full band that was able to have practiced together at all for months and months.

“So, this time around I was keen to get a few bands together as well as some solo and duet performances.

“We are getting closer to live performances with an audience and I just can’t wait.

“I would really relish the chance to host gigs in the cave with an actual audience.”

McGlinchey’s paper cave exhibition will take place between May 28 and June 14 at Dough, 22 Sandgate, Ayr.

Covid restrictions will be in place and strictly followed.

For more information, click here or follow McGlinchey on Instagram.


Around 8000 second vaccine appointments issued too early

The scheduling issue has seen slots given ahead of the eight-week interval recommended by the JCVI.

Pornpak Khunatorn via IStock
Jab: System fault blamed for appointments issued too early.

Around 8000 appointments for second doses of a coronavirus vaccine in Scotland have been issued too early due to a system fault, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The scheduling issue has seen slots given ahead of the eight-week interval recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

An investigation has been launched, although the fault is now said to have been fixed.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told the PA news agency: “We have been made aware of a system error which has led to a number of people being called forward for their second vaccination ahead of the eight-week recommended interval.

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“We apologise to those affected and NHS boards are in the process of making contact with them to offer them a new appointment time or the option of attending a drop-in clinic when their second dose is due.

“If you have received an invitation for a second dose that is less than eight weeks after your first, please don’t come to your appointment.

“You can either rearrange by calling the helpline or visiting NHS Inform.

“If you are immunosuppressed and have an earlier second dose appointment for clinical reasons, please go along as planned.

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“It’s important to stress that there is no clinical risk associated with receiving the vaccine earlier than eight weeks.

“This is the recommended interval because it increases the efficacy of the vaccine and the level of protection.

“We are liaising with boards to ensure that there are staff on hand at vaccination clinics to offer further advice and reassurance.”

The announcement comes the day Nicola Sturgeon received her second dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Anyone who believes their appointment for second doses is too early can rearrange online or by calling the Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.


Sturgeon and Burnham in war of words over Covid travel ban

The FM said Burnham was seeking to 'generate a spat' in order to position himself in a future Labour leadership contest.

STV News

Nicola Sturgeon and Andy Burnham are engaged in a war of words over the Scottish Government’s decision to impose a Covid-19 travel ban on parts of north west England.

The Greater Manchester mayor continued his criticism of the restrictions, saying he felt people in his region had been “insulted” by the First Minister’s approach and a lack of consultation.

The First Minister defended her decision and suggested Burnham was seeking to “generate a spat” with her in order to position himself in a future Labour leadership contest.

On Friday, Sturgeon said that all non-essential travel from Manchester and Salford would be banned due to rising coronavirus cases.

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This prompted anger from Burnham at the weekend, who said the move was disproportionate and should have been communicated to his administration beforehand.

The First Minister was asked about Burnham’s reaction on BBC News on Monday. She said: “These are public health measures.

“I have a duty, and it’s one I take very seriously, to keep Scotland as safe as possible.

“I’m sure Andy Burnham feels the same sense of duty toward people in the Greater Manchester area.

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“I’ve always got on well with Andy Burnham and if he wants to have a grown-up conversation he only has to pick up the phone.

“But if, as I suspect might be the case, this is more about generating a spat with me as part of some positioning in a Labour leadership contest in future, then I’m not interested.

“We’ve all got a serious job of work to do right now and I’m serious about doing that job in a way that keeps Scotland as safe as I possibly can.”

Earlier, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, also defended the decision to impose a travel ban.

Swinney also said Burnham’s call for compensation is not “a relevant point”.

He told the Today programme: “We have in place, in Scotland, business support that we have made available to companies to try and sustain them, there will be support in place in England for exactly the same circumstances.

“We have got to take decisions based on the data that presents itself and sometimes that is very uncomfortable data for us.

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“We have to act quickly to try to make sure we are doing everything possible to suppress the spread of the virus, and that is what members of the public would expect of us.”

Burnham responded to the First Minister’s comments later on Monday, saying he would be writing to her asking for compensation for people affected by the ban.

He said: “I find that insulting, not for me, but for people here who are directly affected by what she announced.

“It’s not just the direct impact on Greater Manchester, it’s on our reputation as a city.

“If the First Minister of a country stands up at a press conference and announces that the UK’s second city is going under a travel ban, it has an impact.

“People elsewhere in Europe, around the world, hear that. So it’s not like it’s just a sort of more localised thing between us and Scotland, it has an impact on our city region.

“I don’t think we’ve been treated with the respect we deserve and I’m talking mainly there of the people of Greater Manchester, not myself.”

He continued: “It’s had an impact with people with holiday cottages booked, people who are having to go for work reasons.

“So to suggest, as the First Minister has done today, ‘Oh, this is all about politics and posturing’, well say that to them, say that to those people.

“Why is Bolton under a travel ban today, when it has a case rate that is quite a lot lower than Dundee? How is that fair?”

Later, Burnham published his letter to Sturgeon on his Twitter feed. It asked her to clarify the criteria for the ban, as Bolton has a Covid-19 case rate of 269 per 100,000, while Dundee has a rate of 318, similar to the rate in Salford and Manchester.

He also asked for compensation for those affected, quoting an email from a local resident who has lost £1000, which read: “My husband and I have been virtually isolated for 18 months. Both fully vaccinated. Test ourselves twice a week. Never had a positive result. But the cottage won’t let us cancel as my daughter booked it and she is allowed to travel.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman was also asked about the travel ban on Monday.

He said: “Health is a devolved matter. It is for the Scottish Government to explain that decision.”

Westminster Watch: The Burnham Barny

By STV News’ Westminster Correspondent Kathryn Samson

Andy Burnham is angry Nicola Sturgeon didn’t pick up the phone first. 

The First Minister accuses him of picking a fight while positioning himself as future Labour leader. 

Boris Johnson is refusing to pick sides. 

Number 10 was trying to steer clear of the cross border clash over the Manchester travel ban at a lobby briefing for journalists this afternoon: ”That is a matter for the Scottish Government to take decisions like that.’

”It is for the Scottish Government to explain that decision.” 

As the first Prime Minister to take on the title ‘minister for the union’, you might have expected a stronger response. 

If the First Minister decides in future that Scots can not make non – essential trips to a part of England represented by a Conservative mayor, perhaps we might get one?

The row also represents a new dynamic in devolution. The First Minister is used to positioning herself against a Conservative government at Westminster. 

Andy Burnham, hailed by some as ‘King of the North’, is a credible opponent from the left who says he’s standing up for his region by calling out double standards. 

The First Minister made her Manchester announcement on Friday. the same day that an estimated 20,000 Scottish football fans crossed the border to travel to London.

The result of that Scotland v England match was another topic Number 10 wasn’t prepared to pick sides on: 

‘The Prime Minister has said before he wants all teams from across the UK to progress as far as possible.’


Fife Amazon centre ‘destroying’ millions of unsold items

Online retail giant branded 'obscene' after ITV News probe finds new and unused goods appearing to be destroyed.

Douglas Barrie via PA Media
The Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Dunfermline.

Amazon has been branded as “obscene” after an investigation at one of its Scottish warehouses suggested the online retail giant is destroying millions of items every year.

ITV News found items, including smart TVs, laptops, drones, hairdryers and thousands of sealed face masks, were sorted into boxes marked “destroy” at the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Dunfermline, Fife.

One ex-employee at the site, one of 24 such warehouses across the UK, said their “target was to generally destroy 130,000 items a week”.

The anonymous worker added: “I used to gasp. There’s no rhyme or reason to what gets destroyed: Dyson fans, Hoovers, the occasional MacBook and iPad; the other day, 20,000 Covid (face) masks still in their wrappers.

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“Overall, 50% of all items are unopened and still in their shrink wrap. The other half are returns and in good condition.”

The investigation also found a leaked document showed more than 124,000 items were marked “destroy” during one week in April – compared to just 28,000 items in the same period labelled “donate”.

However, a Amazon spokesman told the PA news agency that while the investigation followed lorries to a landfill site, no items are disposed of in that way.

The Lochhead Landfill is also part of the Dunfermline Recycling Centre.

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A statement from Amazon said: “We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organisations or recycle any unsold products.

“No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery, but we’re working hard to drive the number of times this happens down to zero.

“We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and building a circular economy programme with the aim of reducing returns, reusing and reselling products, and reducing disposals.”

Energy recovery is when recyclable materials are stripped from products before the rest is reconverted into energy and put through the national grid.

But the spokesman maintained this was a last resort for the company – and also denied it was cheaper to dispose of the items instead of returning them to the domestic sellers.

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens environment spokesman and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, said: “Amazon’s net profit has soared during this crisis while many people have struggled to make ends meet.

“It’s therefore obscene that this multi-billion corporation finds it more profitable to put unused items in the bin than help people out.

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“It is a damning indictment of our economy that the throwaway culture is put before people’s needs. Even if it is not reflective of wider Amazon policy, the company must answer for why the Dunfermline warehouse has such high levels of waste and so little is resold or given to charities.

“This shocking revelation shows that governments must do more to force companies to design waste out of their systems, with regulation and fines where they are failing to do the right thing.”

Fife Council, who run Lochhead Landfill, has also been contacted for comment.

No sir, we can’t boogie: Wedding planners protest outside parliament

Organisers have hit out at coronavirus restrictions which mean guests at wedding parties and receptions must remain at their tables.

PA Ready via PA Media

Wedding industry workers have staged a protest against the current coronavirus restrictions with uncertainty lingering on ceremonies taking place amid changes of the levels.

Pauline Borris, of LBS Event Design & Wedding Planners, organised the protest on Monday outside the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh citing a lack of clarity in the rules.

A few dozen people attended wearing T-shirts and holding banners saying “No sir, we can’t boogie” in a swipe at the Euro 2020 fan zone being held in Glasgow Green for thousands of attendees.

Pauline revealed some couples are putting off their nuptials by two years to 2023 due to the guidance which currently only allows up to 200 people to attend.

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No more than 200 people should attend a wedding in level zero, according to the Scottish Government, with the figure at 100 for level one, 50 for levels two and three, and 20 for those in level four.

Most of Scotland’s islands are in level zero, with much of central Scotland in level two and other areas in level one.

Pauline said: “We got on really well today, we hope we’ve got the message across, we just need to wait and see what Nicola announces tomorrow.

“The main aim is for us to be treated equally with the rest of the events industry and for clarity when you can have the fan zone happen in Glasgow Green for 6000 people non-tested – but you can’t have weddings.

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“Couples are now moving their weddings to 2022-2023 and we just don’t know where we stand with bookings because we don’t know what’s going to happen – couples don’t want to get married when they can’t dance or can’t move from their tables.”

The current guidance states weddings “should only take place in a safe environment” and “face-to-face interaction within two metres should be avoided as far as possible”.

It also recognises a marriage ceremony as a public event meaning that even in levels zero, one and two there should be physical distancing – despite being able to hug friends and family in a social gathering at a private home.

Pauline has also had political backing on the calls for clarity with Labour MSP, Paul Sweeney, among those demanding answers in the Scottish Parliament.

She said: “We’ve got constant contact with politicians, my local MSP Paul Sweeney brought it up in Parliament last week about the inconsistency with events… John Swinney’s response was basically, ‘we need to go down the levels’.

“Even when we go down the levels in level zero we still don’t have any answers because you still can’t dance.

“Some places in Scotland just now are in level zero and the only difference to level three is basically you can have 100 at your wedding or 200, but still have the same restrictions are in place.

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“Lives matter at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing, but most people that attend a wedding are older people who are probably in the vaccine stage and anyone who’s not had a vaccine, why could they not get a test?”

Mr Sweeney also said: “Pauline’s work to raise the plight of her business and the wider wedding industry has moved me.

“It is completely unacceptable for the Government to continue denying financial support to these businesses, while further restrictions ruin this year’s wedding season.

“To compound matters, big corporate interests have been free to set up huge events for Euro 2020 in Glasgow.

“We have also seen dancing permitted for exercise purposes, but not for weddings, so you can have a ceilidh as part of a club, but not at your wedding.

“The regulations are becoming nonsensical and undermining the credibility of public health advice from the Government.

“The double standard is obvious to most people and it is appalling.

“We urgently need a sanity check on the whole situation.”

Scotland midfielder Gilmour tests positive for coronavirus

Gilmour will self-isolate for ten days and is ruled out of Scotland's crucial match against Croatia at Hampden.

Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Billy Gilmour is out of Scotland's match against Croatia on Tuesday night.

Billy Gilmour has tested positive for coronavirus and is out of Scotland’s crucial Euro 2020 group match against Croatia on Tuesday night.

Gilmour is now required to self-isolate for ten days.

The Scottish Football Association said in a statement on Monday morning: “We can confirm Billy Gilmour has tested positive for Covid-19.

“Having liaised with Public Health England, Billy will now self-isolate for ten days and therefore miss tomorrow’s UEFA EURO 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.”

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Gilmour was a standout performer for Steve Clarke’s side in Friday night’s 0-0 draw against England at Wembley.

No other players have been affected or identified as close contacts, meaning all will be available for action on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, England’s 26-man squad have all returned negative Covid-19 results ahead of their clash with the Czech Republic.

‘Human swan’ sets off on 3000-mile trip around coast

Sacha Dench set off on the world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain from Glasgow.

STV News

A woman dubbed “the human swan” has set off on a 3000-mile trip around mainland Britain to raise awareness of climate change. 

On Monday, Sacha Dench set off on the world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain from Glasgow.

The challenge comes as the postponed COP26 UN climate change conference is set to take place in the city later this year.

Flying in an adapted electric paramotor, Sacha will travel anti-clockwise around the coast and return to land in the area around six weeks later.

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The Australian is known for global expeditions with migratory species but has turned her focus to climate change after losing her family home to bushfires last year.

Sacha said: “We think that Scotland is going to be the highlight of the whole expedition, both in terms of landscape but also in terms of some of the really innovative ideas around solving the climate crisis.”

The UN COP26 event is set to be held at the Scottish Event Campus from November 1-12, despite concerns it should be postponed for a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The expedition, sponsored by EDF, is described as an extreme test over challenging landscapes.

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The electric paramotor will replace the usual two-stroke engine Sacha has used for long expeditions.

She hopes to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest, and first, flight around Britain in a paramotor – and the first long-distance expedition attempted with an electric paramotor.


Scot lifts World’s Strongest Man title after promise to mum

Scotland's strongest man returned to the competition to fulfill a promise to his mum.

Peter Jolly via Peter Jolly
Tom Stoltman is the first Scot to win the World's Strongest Man title.

A Highlander has become the first Scot to win the World’s Strongest Man competition, after promising his mum he would.

Tom Stoltman from Invergordon has already been crowned Scotland’s strongest and after he became a runner-up last year he vowed to return.

The 27-year-old, a big fan of bodybuilding icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, became the first Scot to reach the podium of the competition in 2020.

On winning the honour in Sacramento, California he said he had promised his mum to come back in 2021 and win the World’s Strongest Man title.

Tom and Luke Stoltman who are the worlds strongest brothers
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He said: “I love my dad, my family, it’s father’s day today. Sinead this is for you, this is for my mum it’s for everyone back home. I made a dream a reality, I’m just speechless.”

Nicknamed The Albatross, due to his huge arm-span, Tom found inner strength in the gym to help him tackle severe autism – which he has spoken about often.

He competed in a series of challenges between June 15 and June 20.

Heading into his specialist event, the Atlas Stones, he was only one point ahead of the competition’s four-time winner American Brian Shaw.

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He said: “I was confident but what a battle it was.”

His older brother Luke, who gave him his initial gym training, and held the title of Scotland’s strongest man for the previous five years, said: “I don’t think there’s a prouder person on planet Earth right now.

“He fulfilled his promise to my mum… I can’t wait to party.”


Allowing Scots in England to vote in indyref2 ‘would rig rules’

Nicola Sturgeon made the comments as senior Conservatives want to allow Scots living in the UK to have a say.

David Cheskin via PA Ready
Indyref2: Allowing Scots in other UK countries to vote would 'rig the rules'.

Giving Scots living elsewhere in the UK the ability to vote in a future independence referendum would “rig the rules”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The SNP leader responded to a report that senior Conservatives wanted to grant eligibility to Scots who are based elsewhere in the UK to bolster the pro-Union case.

The Times reported an unnamed cabinet minister saying the voting franchise should be expanded ahead of the expected referendum demand from the First Minister.

The source also said former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson should be brought back into front-line politics to make the case for the Union.

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In the 2014 referendum, eligibility to vote was based on residence within Scotland.

Responding to the report, Sturgeon tweeted on Monday: “I see the anti-independence campaign is trying to rig the rules of #indyref2 again (though in doing so they also concede that it’s going to happen).

“Maybe they should just argue their case on its merits and allow everyone who lives in Scotland to decide.”

Around 800,000 people who were born in Scotland are thought to live in England, while more than 50,000 live elsewhere in the UK.

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A UK Government spokeswoman said: “The sole priority of the UK Government is on continuing to roll out the UK’s life-saving vaccine programme and recovering from this health and economic emergency.

“It is our duty and our responsibility to focus entirely on Covid recovery. That is what people in Scotland, rightly, expect.”


Killer jailed for life after rape and murder of mum

David Hose preyed on Kirsty Robertson in Ayr during 2019.

© Google Maps 2020
Jailed: David Hose raped and murdered Kirsty Robertson.

A killer has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years for the rape and murder of a mother in her own home.

David Hose, 30, preyed on Kirsty Robertson at the property in South Ayrshire in the early hours of October 20, 2019.

The 29-year-old was discovered that morning lying on a couch by neighbours.

On Monday, Hose was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.            

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He was found guilty last month of the rape and murder of Ms Robertson after a trial.

Prosecutors stated Hose pressed Ms Robertson’s neck, forced her head into a couch leaving her face down causing her breathing to be restricted.

Judge Simon Collins QC told Hose: “You assaulted and raped Kirsty Robertson in the living room of her home while she was intoxicated with alcohol.

“If that was not appalling enough, her children have suffered the loss of their mother.”

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Hose had been separately convicted of raping a second woman at another house in Ayr in June 2017.

Judge Collins sentenced him to five years for that attack to run concurrently to the 18 years.

Hose and Ms Robertson had been drinking with friend Shona Harbison, 36, the night before her death.

He had been due to stay the night there.

Ms Harbison stated Ms Robertson was “passed out” on the sofa when she left the house at 1.30am.

Ms Harbison was later woken up by Hose later that day at her own house.

The witness told jurors: “He told me that Kirsty was dead and I did not believe him.

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“I was trying to take it in and understand as I saw her a couple of hours ago and she was fine.”

Jurors were shown a text message Ms Robertson’s friend Stephanie King, 27, was sent by Hose on the morning of her death.

Hose stated: “When I left this morning, I thought she was sleeping but maybe she was dead, I don’t know.”


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