Driver faces trial over road crash that killed five

Alfredo Ciociola allegedly caused five deaths in a crash on the A96 in July 2018.

Clockwise from top left: Evalyn Collie, Ted Reid, Frances Saliba Patanè and Audrey Appleby died in the crash. Police Scotland
Clockwise from top left: Evalyn Collie, Ted Reid, Frances Saliba Patanè and Audrey Appleby died in the crash.

A man will stand trial accused of killing five people in a fatal road crash – including his four-year-old son.

Alfredo Ciociola, who lives in Sicily, was not in court to hear judge Lord Mulholland set the trial for May 24 at the High Court at Aberdeen.

Ciociola, 48, is accused of causing the crash on the A96 near Keith, Aberdeenshire on July 26 2018.

He has pleaded not guilty to causing the five deaths and serious injury by dangerous driving.

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At the High Court in Glasgow on Monday defence QC Ian Duguid said: “The accused who resides in Sicily is coming over for the trial in expectation that restrictions on travel will be lifted by May.

“He will be flying from Catania airport which is closed at the moment because of the eruption of Mount Etna.”

Prosecutor Derick Nelson said the trial was expected to last seven days.

Ciociola is said to have crashed a Fiat minibus into a 4×4 after falling asleep at the wheel.

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Fellow Italians Frances Saliba, 63, and four year-old Lorenzo Ciociola, who were passengers in the minibus died.

Edward Reid, 63, of Macduff, Audrey Appleby, 70, and Evalyn Elrick, 69, both of Aberchirder, all Aberdeenshire, who were in the other car also died.

Four others were also hurt in the crash.

The charge further states Ciociola failed to pay proper attention, repeatedly braked and then drove onto the wrong side of the road.

Judge Lord Mulholland ordered a further preliminary hearing on May 10 in order to check the trial will go ahead.

Lord Mulholland said: “This is to ascertain Mr Ciociola is able to travel to Scotland.”


Man, 34, dies after being struck by vehicle on motorway

The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the A90 near Kinfauns in Perthshire.

© Google Maps 2020
Police are appealing for witnesses to crash on A90 near Kinfauns.

A 34-year-old man has died after being struck by a vehicle in Perthshire.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the A90 near Kinfauns.

Police Scotland are appealing for witnesses to the crash, which happened at around 3.50pm on Friday afternoon.

The road was closed while officers carried out collision investigation work and reopened around 8.30pm.

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Sergeant Paul Taylor, from the Road Policing Unit, said: “Our thoughts are with the man’s family and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstance of what happened.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have seen what happened, particularly a man standing beside a green Vauxhall Astra which was parked in the lay-by on the eastbound carriageway at the time.

“In addition anyone with dash-cam footage that may assist our enquiries is also asked to get in touch.”

Anyone who can help should call Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2197 of Friday, 26 February, 2021.

Cairngorms’ landscape recreated in video game Minecraft

Players can explore, interact with and modify a dynamically-generated map of the tourist spot.

Cairngorms National Park via PR

The Cairngorms’ landscape has been re-created on Minecraft to help young people understand how to run a national park and build a new community.

Minecraft is a hugely popular game where players of all ages build, mine and explore ever-changing landscapes.

The game focuses on allowing players to explore, interact with and modify a dynamically-generated or purposefully designed map made up on one-cubic-metre-sized blocks.

Dan Harris, planning manager at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has re-created the Cairngorms National Park without its buildings in Minecraft using open data from Ordnance Survey and Forest and Land Scotland.

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It has taken Dan three months to create the online Cairngorms Minecraft map, which he did so in his spare time.

Explaining the inspiration behind the idea Dan said: “We know young people care passionately about the environment and we felt that by using a platform such as Minecraft, we could demonstrate how planning & development management has a hugely important role in tackling the climate emergency and caring for our environment.

“Using an online platform also means that we can deliver this youth engagement programme without having to worry about Covid-19 restrictions.

“Minecraft is extremely popular and while playing normally, there are no limits to your imagination, but the Youth Action Team – who are road testing the project for us at the moment – are asked to consider how they can build their communities while meeting the aims of the National Park.

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“This means they have to start thinking about what policy making means and they will be able to see within the game what effect those policies will have.

“They need to consider whether or not they want to allocate land, apply design principles and so on, or simply take a more laissez-faire approach.”

Players are ‘dropped’ into the Cairngorms National Park and given the mission to collaboratively create a community that represents the sort of place they would like to live in.

In order to cut down on chaos and to encourage collaboration, players are asked to take on specific roles at the beginning of the game, for example builder, lumberjack or farmer.

Ellie Moore, a member of the Cairngorms Youth Action Team, said: “This has been a really great project to be involved with, finding out more about how planners work and the process that they go through – we’ve been able to learn and experience these things in an interactive, first-hand kind of way.

“It’s also been really fun wandering around the Park map in Minecraft and recognising real life landmarks.”

The CNPA Planning Committee Convener, Gaener Rodger commented: “Members of the Cairngorms Youth Action Team have been invited to a future CNPA Planning Committee meeting to discuss their experience of the Cairngorms Minecraft project. Having used Minecraft myself, I am really excited about having a Cairngorms Minecraft world and am looking forward to seeing the communities that our CYAT members have built.”

Fire which broke out at derelict hotel ‘deliberate’

Firefighters rushed to the scene at Old Mill Inn outside Aberdeen on Monday to tackle the blaze.

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A fire which broke out at a derelict hotel outside Aberdeen is believed to have been started deliberately.

On Monday, firefighters rushed to the Old Mill Inn on South Deeside Road, Maryculter following reports of a blaze. 

A joint enquiry with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is ongoing and the fire is believed to have been started deliberately.

Detective constable Keith Morrison, from North East CID, said: “We’re asking for anyone who may have been in the area and witnessed anything suspicious to please come forward. 

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“This includes any motorists who may have potential dashcam footage which could prove useful for our investigation.

“Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting incident 2165 of 22 February. 

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, if you wish to remain anonymous.”


Film director Jon S Baird brings Tetris movie to Aberdeen

Baird describes filming in his native city as a 'dream come true'.

STV News

Scots move director Jon S Baird has described filming in his native Aberdeen as a “dream come true” and hopes it paves the way for future Hollywood productions in the city.

Baird, who grew up in nearby Peterhead, is filming scenes for his new movie Tetris in various parts of Aberdeen, which has been doubling as cold war Soviet Russia.

Aberdeen was chosen because it hosts similar brutalist architecture which inspired the Russian creator of the computer game Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov.

Baird said: “It’s lovely being back home. It was my dream to be a filmmaker, but it was a dream on top of that to bring a film to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – back home. I hope it really kickstarts interest in the area as a film location.

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“I went to the University of Aberdeen and I walked by the zoology building every day, but it never really registered that it could be something I could use in my movie and double for cold war Russia.

“It was actually one of the location managers who saw the various buildings online – we’re happy because they are ideal for telling stories about that particular period in Russian history.”

Rocketman star Tarron Egerton is one of a host of big names in the production.

Eager locals have been watching from a distance to catch glimpses of him in action.

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Filming was postponed on Tuesday due to adverse weather, but the Aberdeen shoot should wrap up by the end of this week.


Woman who faked pregnancy after one-night stand sentenced

Jaclyn McGowan was sentenced to 150 hours community service after lying about being pregnant for nine months.

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Sentenced: Jaclyn McGowan lied about being pregnant for nine months.

A woman who faked a pregnancy after a one-night stand has been sentenced to community service.

Jaclyn McGowan, 36, from Perth and Kinross, pleaded guilty to causing fear and alarm by stalking for nine months by lying about being pregnant.

At Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis sentenced McGowan to 150 hours of community service after she lied to Jamie Aitken and his family about being pregnant for nine months.

Fiscal depute Tina Dickie told the court that in June 2019, McGowan met with Jamie Aitken after matching on dating app Tinder and spent the night together in a hotel.

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About two weeks after the meeting, McGowan messaged Mr Aitken to inform him she was pregnant and planned on keeping the baby. The pair agreed they would try to co-parent the child.

Ms Dickie said Mr Aitken told police in August 2019 McGowan sent him a picture of a crib and told him to transfer £300 to pay for it, which he refused to do.

Shortly after, McGowan claimed to be having a miscarriage. Several days later, McGowan told Mr Aitken it had been a false alarm and she was still pregnant.

In September 2019, McGowan sent pictures of a baby scan to Mr Aitken’s mother, Wendy, telling them Mr Aitken would never be a part of his child’s life, but the family were welcome to be.

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In February 2020, McGowan visited a trampoline park in Dundee where Mr Aitken’s brother Corrie worked. He told his brother that despite McGowan supposedly being eight months’ pregnant, she looked “slim and not pregnant”.

She attended the park again several weeks later and appeared to have a large pregnancy bump.

McGowan blocked Mr Aitken from all social media in February 2020 and has had no further contact with him since.

In October 2020, Mr Aitken filed a police report against McGowan, saying her actions had left him feeling low and suicidal.

After being questioned by police, McGowan said after their one-night stand she had taken a pregnancy test, showing her to be pregnant. McGowan had a miscarriage a week later but did not inform Mr Aitken.

She admitted to buying a prosthetic bump to give the appearance of pregnancy while attending the trampoline park and said her actions were to hurt Mr Aitken for the way he had acted when the relationship ended.

McGowan’s solicitor argued that Mr Aitken’s claim he wished to keep the baby “couldn’t be further from the truth”, saying he had made it clear he did not want the child and pressured her to get an abortion.

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Sheriff Foulis said: “It seems to me that these actions fall on the less serious category but certainly don’t diminish your actions.

“You pleaded guilty to causing fear and alarm over a period of nine months, so when I say it is on the less serious side, none the less I have to bear that in mind.”

He noted McGowan had not contacted Mr Aitken for nine months before he filed a police report and that the crown was also not seeking a non-harassment order.


Public warned not to approach inmate missing from prison

Michael Anthony Broomfield, an inmate at HMP Castle Huntly in Dundee, was reported missing on Monday.

SPS via Scottish Prison Service / Police Scotland
Michael Anthony Broomfield, an inmate, went missing from HMP Castle Huntly, Dundee.

Members of the public have be warned not to approach an inmate missing from a Scottish prison.

Tayside police appealed for information after Michael Anthony Broomfield was reported missing from HMP Castle Huntly in Dundee on Monday, February 22, at 8pm.

Castle Huntly is Scotland’s only open prison, holding up to 285 adult male offenders.

The 34-year-old could be in North East England, where police said he had connections including in Spennymoor, Durham and Newcastle.

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He is described as 6ft 1in, of a medium build, with medium length dark brown hair and a beard.

He was last seen wearing a black and grey bobble hat, black and grey hooded top and blue jogging bottoms.

Police Scotland warned the public not to approach Broomfield if seen and instead to contact officers on 101, quoting incident number 3295 of Monday, February 22, 2021, or make a call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Investigation launched after blaze at derelict hotel

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the Old Mill Inn on South Deeside Road at around 3.20pm on Monday.

STV News

An investigation has been launched after a derelict hotel went up in flames near Aberdeen. 

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the Old Mill Inn on South Deeside Road at around 3.20pm on Monday. 

Four appliances and an aerial pump were dispatched to the scene to tackle the fire.

No one was injured as a result of the blaze.

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A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 3.22pm on Monday, February 22 to reports of a building on fire at South Deeside Road, Maryculter, Aberdeen.

“Operations Control mobilised four appliances and one aerial pump to the scene.

“Firefighters extinguished the fire and left after ensuring the area was made safe.

“There were no reported casualties.”

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An investigation has now been launched into the cause of the fire. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Officers in Aberdeen were called to the report of a fire at a property on the B9077 west of Maryculter around 3.50pm on Monday, 22 February.

“Emergency services attended and the road was closed for around six hours, reopening at 10.30pm.

“A joint enquiry with the Scottish Fire and Rescue service remains ongoing to establish the cause of the fire. “


Queen’s relative jailed for sexual assault at castle

Simon Bowes-Lyon admitted attacking a woman at Glamis Castle, Angus, last February.

Premier News / Aubrey Washington via SNS Group
Bowes-Lyon was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court over the Galmis Castle assault.

The Earl of Strathmore has been jailed for ten months for sexually assaulting a woman.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, a relative of the Queen, admitted to attacking a woman at Glamis Castle, Angus, in February last year.

Bowes-Lyon, the son of a cousin of Elizabeth II, was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael described it as a “serious” sexual assault and said there was no alternative other than a custodial sentence.

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The court had heard that the incident happened in a bedroom at the castle.

Bowes-Lyon forced his way into a sleeping woman’s room and assaulted her during a travel PR weekend he was hosting at the 16,500-acre estate.

He admitted that on February 13 last year at Glamis Castle, he sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

He admitted repeatedly pushing her onto a bed, forcibly grabbing her and repeatedly trying to pull off her nightdress.

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Previously, in a statement issued outside court, Bowes-Lyon said: “I am greatly ashamed of my actions which have caused such distress to a guest in my home. When I realised what I had done I apologised quickly to the woman concerned.

“I apologise wholeheartedly again today. I am deeply sorry for my behaviour and the anguish it has caused.

“Clearly, I had drunk to excess on the night of the incident. As someone who is only too well aware of the damage that alcohol can cause, I should have known better. I recognise, in any event, that alcohol is no excuse for my behaviour.

“I did not think I was capable of behaving the way I did but have had to face up to it and take responsibility. Over the last year this has involved seeking and receiving professional help as well as agreeing to plead guilty as quickly as possible.

“My apologies go, above all, to the woman concerned but I would also like to apologise to family, friends and colleagues for the distress I have caused them.”

Glamis Castle is the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the family which the late Queen Mother was part of.


Earl of Strathmore to be sentenced after sexual assault

Simon Bowes-Lyon, admitted attacking a woman at Glamis Castle, Angus, last February.

Premier News / Aubrey Washington via SNS Group
Bowes-Lyon is due to be sentenced over the Glamis Castle

The Earl of Strathmore who admitted sexually assaulting a woman at his ancestral home, is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, a relative of the Queen, admitted to attacking a woman at Glamis Castle, Angus, in February last year.

Bowes-Lyon, who is the son of a cousin of the Queen, is up for sentencing at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Previously, the court heard that the incident happened in a bedroom at the castle.

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In a statement issued outside court, Bowes-Lyon said: “I am greatly ashamed of my actions which have caused such distress to a guest in my home. When I realised what I had done I apologised quickly to the woman concerned.

“I apologise wholeheartedly again today. I am deeply sorry for my behaviour and the anguish it has caused.

“Clearly, I had drunk to excess on the night of the incident. As someone who is only too well aware of the damage that alcohol can cause, I should have known better. I recognise, in any event, that alcohol is no excuse for my behaviour.

“I did not think I was capable of behaving the way I did but have had to face up to it and take responsibility. Over the last year this has involved seeking and receiving professional help as well as agreeing to plead guilty as quickly as possible.

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“My apologies go, above all, to the woman concerned but I would also like to apologise to family, friends and colleagues for the distress I have caused them.”

Glamis Castle is the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the family which the late Queen Mother was part of.

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