Sturgeon slams ‘partisan’ leak as Tories demand FM quits

Douglas Ross says party will push forward a vote of no confidence in the First Minister next week.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives says Nicola Sturgeon “has to resign” as First Minister after sources revealed the Alex Salmond inquiry concluded she misled parliament.

The committee’s final report has not yet been published, but Douglas Ross told STV News the evidence submitted to the inquiry “confirmed” that the First Minister “had been untruthful”.

MSPs on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints Committee voted 5-4 that the First Minister gave an “inaccurate” account of a meeting with her predecessor Alex Salmond during the live investigation, STV News understands.

The inquiry is also understood to have concluded it is “hard to believe” Sturgeon did not know of concerns about her predecessor’s behaviour before November 2017, as she claimed.

ADVERT

Sturgeon has claimed she was informed about a media inquiry relating to Salmond’s alleged behaviour towards female Edinburgh Airport staff in November 2017 and that was the first she had ever heard of his potential inappropriate behaviour.

The committee also believes Sturgeon should have acted upon any information about her predecessor’s conduct and is “concerned” about the meetings Sturgeon had with Salmond after he revealed he was being investigated, and why it took the First Minister more than two months to tell the head of Scotland’s civil service what she knew.

Sturgeon said a “very partisan leak” from the inquiry is “not that surprising”, adding that she stands by the evidence she gave to the committee.

She also said she is awaiting the result of the separate James Hamilton QC investigation into whether she broke the ministerial code.

ADVERT

Ross told STV News: “We’ll read the full committee report and their findings when it’s published in the next few days but the Scottish Conservatives have been clear for weeks that the evidence submitted to the inquiry confirmed that Nicola Sturgeon had been untruthful, she had misled parliament and, therefore, she has to resign.

“That’s what we’ve been saying for weeks because the evidence has been clear.

“I don’t believe the word ‘knowingly’ makes a big difference because Nicola Sturgeon has misled parliament, she has not been truthful with the people of Scotland and we expect the highest standards of the holder of the highest office in the land.

“The First Minister must have the trust of the people of Scotland and if she has misled, if she has not been truthful to the people of Scotland, she cannot continue in that office.”

The Scottish Conservatives intend to push forward a vote of no confidence in the First Minister next week.

“The Scottish Conservatives as the main opposition party are the only opposition party in Holyrood that have enough MSPs to bring forward a vote of no confidence,” said Ross.

“We will be doing that, we’ve said the evidence has been clear – it’s been growing, it’s been mounting – against Nicola Sturgeon that she has misled Parliament.”

ADVERT

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said the committee – which has four SNP members and five from other parties – was still considering its report, which is expected to be published on Tuesday.

Sturgeon told Sky News: “I stand by all of the evidence I gave to the committee, all eight hours’ worth of evidence.

“What’s been clear is that opposition members of this committee made their minds up about me before I muttered a single word of evidence, their public comments have made that clear.

“So this leak from the committee – very partisan leak – before they’ve finalised the report is not that surprising.”

She added that she is awaiting the result of the James Hamilton QC investigation into whether she broke the ministerial code.

The decision is likely to increase pressure on Ms Sturgeon to stand down before May’s election, although it is unclear whether the act was deemed a resignation-worthy offence.

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was set up after a successful judicial review by Salmond resulted in the Scottish Government’s investigation being ruled unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”, with a £512,250 payout being awarded to him for legal fees in 2019.

The SNP leader has faced questions about when she became aware of the internal government investigation of her predecessor, having originally told parliament it was at a meeting with him at her home on April 2.

It later emerged that Salmond’s former chief of staff had spoken to Sturgeon about – in her words – “a harassment-type issue” four days earlier when arranging the subsequent meeting.

She told the committee she wished her memory of the earlier meeting was “more vivid”, but “it was the detail of the complaints under the procedure that I was given on April 2 that was significant and indeed shocking”.

Sturgeon also defended her decision not to record the meeting, as per the ministerial code, because she initially suspected it was about party business and then wanted to protect the “confidentiality of the process”.

Salmond’s claim there was “no doubt” their meeting was about the government investigation was corroborated by Duncan Hamilton QC – a former SNP MSP – and the SNP’s former communications director, Kevin Pringle.

This latest development comes after Conservative MP David Davis used parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons to read out messages that he suggested showed a “concerted effort by senior members of the SNP to encourage complaints” against the former first minister.

According to Davis, the messages disclosed by a whistleblower “demands serious investigation”, with one alleging the investigating officer in the case complained of interference by Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff.

The message is alleged to have been sent by Judith Mackinnon to the government’s communications director on February 6, 2018, almost two months before the First Minister claims to have first known about the investigation of her predecessor.

A spokesman for the First Minister said: “The First Minister told the truth to the committee in eight hours of evidence, and stands by that evidence.

“It is clear from past public statements that opposition members of this committee had prejudged the First Minister at the outset of the inquiry and before hearing a word of her evidence, so this partisan and selective briefing – before the committee has actually published its final report – is hardly surprising.

“The question of the First Minister’s adherence to the ministerial code is being considered independently by James Hamilton, and we expect to receive and publish his report soon.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “I am not going to prejudge the outcome of the committee report and we await its findings, but if it does conclude that the First Minister has misled parliament and potentially breached the ministerial code then that is incredibly serious.”

The party’s UK leader also criticised Sturgeon as he visited Scotland on Friday.

Sir Keir Starmer said: “By making those comments before she’s seen the report, she’s doing the very thing that she’s accusing others of.

“The right thing for her to do is to wait for the report and to read the report – as we all will.

“But to say now, several days beforehand, what she said about the outcome is to do exactly what she’s accusing other people of doing.

“So I think the right thing to do is to wait for the report. If the report does come to serious findings then they have implications.”

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, criticised committee members and said they had broken the MSP code of conduct by giving interviews before the report is published.

He said: “The Scottish Greens have said throughout that we will examine both the committee report and the Hamilton ministerial code inquiry before drawing any conclusions.

“Despite the indefensible behaviour of members of the committee we are still willing to do so, but their actions have clearly destroyed the credibility of their own report before anyone has had the chance to read it.”

Storm Arwen: ‘Don’t use roads under any circumstances’

Winds of 90mph have 'the potential to bring the most damaging winds we’ve seen for years'.

BEAR NE Trunk Roads via BEAR NE Trunk Roads

Storm Arwen has been given the Met Office’s highest warning level and “has the potential to bring the most damaging winds we’ve seen for years”.

Motorists have been warned to “not travel under any circumstances” while the red warning is in place in eastern Scotland from 3pm on Friday until 2am on Saturday.

Forecasters warned winds as fast as 90mph could damage buildings, bring down power lines and disrupt travel from Friday afternoon.

Since the warning was issued, roads, bridges and railway lines have been closed, with delays to buses, trains, ferry services and flights.

ADVERT

SSE has reported more than 150 unplanned power outages across Scotland and the Met Office has warned that mobile phone service could be disrupted.

There is a particular threat to sea front homes and businesses, with large waves and debris being thrown on to coastal roads.

The red warning for the first named storm this winter is in place along the eastern coastline and also covers parts of northern England.

Superintendent Simon Bradshaw, from Police Scotland’s road policing unit, said: “The high winds being experienced have led to red weather warnings coming into effect and as such, any motorist within these affected regions should not travel under any circumstances.

ADVERT

“If you are currently within more in-land areas of these regions, then amber and yellow warnings are also in place and we are asking that you do not journey out unless for essential purposes and if you are doing so, to be mindful of the challenging conditions you will face.

“A number of local road closures and bridge restrictions may also be implemented during this period of adverse weather and we would advise the public to consult the Transport Scotland and Met Office websites for continuous and updated information.”

There is a particular threat to sea front homes and businesses with large waves and debris being thrown on to coastal roads.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty warned that Arwen “has the potential to bring the most damaging winds we’ve seen for years”.

He added: “That’s especially since the strongest gusts will affect the more built up areas of the east coast, rather than the Hebrides and Northern Isles where we do see winds of this strength from time to time in the winter months.

“Red warnings are the highest level of warnings that we have, and are therefore extremely rare. The last red warning that was issued in Scotland was back in February 2018 for snow, but the last time we had a red warning for strong winds was in 2016 for Orkney and Shetland.”

A yellow weather warning has been issued across the rest of the country, where power cuts, road closures and damage to trees and structures are all possible.

ADVERT

Much of the Highlands has been warned to expect snow and high winds, with a chance that some could be stranded if caught up in blizzards.

The Met Office said it is possible that some communities might become cut off in the latter half of the day, with every school in Orkney closing for the day at 1pm.

BEAR Scotland, which looks after the trunk roads in the north-west, north-east and south-east of Scotland, said it was primed to tackle whatever weather conditions Storm Arwen brings.

Restrictions may be required on bridges such as Skye Bridge, Kessock Bridge, Dornoch Bridge, Cromarty Bridge, Friarton Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.

The A1 has been closed to high sided vehicles after winds speeds of up to 52mph were recorded near Torness.

Vehicles including motorbikes, caravans and cars with trailers and roof boxes will be diverted via the A68.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s operating company representative for the north-west, said: “We are fully prepped and are closely monitoring conditions and will act quickly when required.

“We remind members of the public to check before travelling. Traffic Scotland is a great source of the latest journey information and advice. Drivers of high sided and wind-susceptible vehicles such as caravans and trailers should take particular care and check for restrictions.”

On Friday evening, Network Rail announced that the storm turned out to be “worse than forecasted”, adding there had been several incidents of trains striking trees and branches.

The company added that services between Dundee and Aberdeen, Aberdeen and Inverness and Inverness and Wick would be cancelled for the rest of the day.

Speed restrictions were put in place earlier in the day on services between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Aberdeen and Inverness and the Far North line.

The East Coast Mainline and North Berwick branch lines were closed from 5pm until end of service on Friday.

Meanwhile events were cancelled following warnings not to travel, with Disney on Ice at the P&J Live in Aberdeen forced to abandon Friday’s show.

The venue said ticket holders will be issued with a full refund.

The warnings in full:

  • A red weather warning for wind is in place along Scotland’s eastern coast from 3pm on Friday until 2am on Saturday
  • A yellow weather warning for wind is in place across most of the country from 9am on Friday until 6pm on Saturday
  • An amber warning for Storm Arwen is in place across the east coast from 3pm on Friday until 9am on Saturday
  • A yellow warning for snow is in place across much of the Highlands from 2pm on Friday until midnight

Transport minister Graeme Dey said: “The first storm of the winter period, Storm Arwen, is set to impact Scotland on Friday and Saturday.

“The whole country is going to see blustery conditions, but the Met Office is telling us that eastern parts of Scotland in particular are going to see some difficult weather.”

“I would urge motorists to check the Met Office and Traffic Scotland websites and social media before setting out on their journey, particularly in those areas most affected by the predicted adverse weather.”


Sturgeon won’t say if she’ll lead SNP into next election

First Minister also discusses plans for the Cambo oilfield and a second independence referendum.

STV News

Nicola Sturgeon has refused say whether she intends to lead the SNP into the next Scottish Parliament election.

The First Minister said it was “preposterous” to reveal her plans nearly five years before the poll, after rumours began circulating following a magazine interview.

Sturgeon, speaking to STV News ahead of the SNP conference, also discussed her plans for a second independence referendum and the controversial Cambo oilfield expansion.

“I intend to fulfil the mandate I won in the election just seven months ago with a historically high share of the vote,” Sturgeon said.

ADVERT

“I intend to be First Minister for this term of parliament and, like most people, I’ll think about the next election when we get closer to the next election.”

Speculation began after the First Minister said she and her husband, the party’s chief executive Peter Murrell, may foster children in the future during an interview with Vogue magazine last month.

“The fact that my opponents seem to be incapable of beating me themselves doesn’t mean they should look to me to do their job for them and somehow remove myself from office,” Sturgeon said.

“That ain’t going to happen.”

‘Cambo needs a rigorous assessment’

ADVERT

The First Minister also eased off on the strength of her opposition to the Cambo oilfield expansion, after saying ten days ago that she did not believe the proposed drilling should be given the green light.

But on Friday, Sturgeon returned her previous point of view – that the plans should undergo a “rigorous climate assessment”.

She insisted that she was “absolutely emphatically not” abandoning the oil and gas industry.

“The science is telling us we have to move away as quickly as possible from fossil fuels, or frankly we don’t limit global warming in the way that we need to do for the sake of the future of our planet,” Sturgeon said.

“No leader should put their head in the sand and ignore that.”

She said Scotland needed to accelerate a “just transition” away from oil and gas that did not leave the 100,000 people working in the sector on the “economic scrapheap”.

‘Indyref2 plans depend on Covid’

The First Minister said she intended to take steps towards a second independence referendum before the end of 2023 – an SNP manifesto commitment.

ADVERT

But Sturgeon would not be drawn on when Scots can expect the government to publish a referendum bill.

“Exactly at what point next year we will introduce that bill depends on, not least, when we’ve got through the winter and Covid,” she said.

“But I’m very clear, Covid permitting, I intend to take these steps in a timescale that will allow a referendum to happen in that timescale.”

Asked whether those plans take into account potential legal action, she said there was no need if those in political office “simply accept democracy”.

“I’m not planning to take legal action, if the UK Government are planning to take legal action to overturn Scottish democracy, perhaps it’s them you should be asking that question of,” Sturgeon said.


Scotland face Ukraine in World Cup play-off semi-final

Steve Clarke’s side will face Wales or Austria in the final if they win.

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
Six consecutive wins earned Scotland a play-off place and a home draw in the semis.

Scotland have been drawn to play Ukraine in the World Cup play-off semi-final next year.

If the national side win that match at Hampden, they will play the winner of Wales v Austria for a place at the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.

The final will be played in Wales or Austria.

The play-off draw was conducted at FIFA headquarters on Friday and manager Steve Clarke and his players now know exactly what stands between them and a first World Cup appearance since 1998.

ADVERT

Scotland finished second in their qualification group to earn a play-off place, winning their last six matches to finish ahead of Israel and Austria and securing seeded status as one of the best runners-up.

As seeds, the team were guaranteed a home draw for the semi-final on March 24, with Hampden expected to be a sell-out for the match.

The final will be played on March 29.

Ukraine

ADVERT

Ukraine were unbeaten in the group stage and faced France twice without defeat but they only won two of their matches (against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Finland), drawing the other six games and failing to beat Kazakhstan in either match.

The Euro 2020 quarter-finalists have only won six of their last 18 games but seem to have a knack of getting a result when it matters.

Oleksandr Petrakov is in temporary charge after Andriy Shevchenko quit in August and has an experienced squad to draw upon, with a core of Ukraine-based players supplemented by players from top sides, including Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and West Ham’s Andriy Yarmalenko.


International concern over ‘complex’ new coronavirus variant

Six countries on red list as first case of the new variant is detected in Europe.

ronstik via IStock
Concern: First Minister highlights 'significant' development during Covid pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the new coronavirus variant “is the most significant and concerning” development of the pandemic in recent months. 

The First Minister made the comments as six African countries were added to the red list over emerging B.1.1.529 variant, which has since been detected in Europe.

Travellers arriving in the UK from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe between midday on Friday and 4am on Sunday will be forced to isolate for ten days and take two PCR tests. 

People arriving in the UK from the six countries after 4am on Sunday will be required to book and pay for a government-approved hotel and quarantine for ten days. 

ADVERT

The European Commission has since recommended that EU countries put an “emergency brake” on travel from southern Africa.

The World Health Organisation will decide later on Friday if B.1.1.529 should be classed as “a variant of concern”.

On Friday, the First Minister tweeted: “​​We need more data to help us better understand the new B.1.1.529 variant – and it would be premature to ‘press the panic button’ – but it is the most significant and concerning Covid development of recent months, and so we must take it seriously and act on a precautionary basis.”

Belgium is the first European country to announce a case of the new variant, which has also been detected in Hong Kong and Israel. 

ADVERT

Belgian health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said: “We have one case of this variant that is confirmed. It’s someone who came from abroad.”

Marc Van Ranst, who works with the Rega Institute in Belgium, tweeted that a sample was confirmed as the variant in a traveller who returned from Egypt on November 11. The patient first showed symptoms on November 22.

UK health secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons on Friday that experience has shown “we must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment”, adding there were concerns the variant may be more transmissible, make vaccines less effective and may affect one of the UK’s Covid treatments, Ronapreve.

Scientists have said B.1.1.529 is the “most worrying” variant they’ve seen so far, with around “30 different mutations” – double that of the Delta variant. 

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), told the Today programme: “If we look at those mutations, there’s mutations that increase infectivity, mutations that evade the immune response both from vaccines and from natural immunity, mutations that cause increased transmissibility.

“It’s a highly complex mutation, there’s also new ones that we have never seen before.”

She added that one of the mutations in the variant is very similar to one in Alpha, which means it can be detected quite easily with PCR tests.


Family, friends and fans attend funeral for Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld

Funeral service was being shown to supporters on a big screen outside Celtic Park.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group

Family, friends, fans and former teammates of Celtic legend Bertie Auld gathered in Glasgow to bid farewell to the Lisbon Lion as his funeral took place.

STV News
Bertie Auld: Tributes left at Celtic Park ahead of funeral

The European Cup winner, who also won five league titles, three Scottish Cups and four League Cups during during two spells at the Parkhead club, died earlier this month aged 83.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Current Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou arrives at St Mary’s for Auld’s funeral on Friday.

His funeral cortege passed Celtic Park at around 1.30pm on Friday, following a service at St Mary’s Chapel, which was shown on a big screen outside the stadium.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Kyogo: Japan international among current first team in attendance

Auld’s fellow Lisbon Lion, Jim Craig, performed a reading at the service, which was being attended by former Celtic players including Tom Boyd, Stephen McManus, Andy Walker, Davie Hay and John Clark.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Lisbon Lion: John Clark paying respects to former teammate Bertie Auld
ADVERT

Other club legends paying their respects included Danny McGrain, Roy Aitken, Frank McAvennie and Joe Miller.

Callum McGregor, Kyogo Furuhashi, Joe Hart and Jota were among the current first team in attendance.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Neil Lennon arrives at the funeral of former Celtic player Bertie Auld.

Manager Ange Postecoglou arrived at the Chapel with first team coach John Kennedy with predecessors Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers also there to show their respects.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Club legend: Danny McGrain arrives at St Mary’s

Respect was also coming from the blue-side of Glasgow through Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson paying respects to Bertie Auld.
ADVERT

Rangers legend Willie Henderson was also representing the Ibrox club in paying respects to his former rival.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Rival: Rangers legend Willie Henderson attending service for Bertie Auld.

Thousands of fans gathered at Celtic Park to watch the service.

Craig Foy via SNS Group
Big screen: Fans gather at Celtic Park for Bertie Auld’s funeral service.

Auld was part of the Celtic team which lifted the European Cup after beating Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967 and also played in the 1970 final when Jock Stein’s men lost to Feyenoord in extra-time.

No other Scottish team has reached the final of Europe’s top competition since.

‘He defined the notion of a diehard’

Obituary by STV special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby

If Billy McNeill is the never to be forgotten icon of Lisbon 1967, Jimmy Johnstone the irrepressible entertainer, Bobby Murdoch the beating heart of this country’s greatest ever club side, then Bertie Auld is the enduring spirit.

As everyone who walks Kerrydale Street or has attended a supporter’s function or drank in a Celtic pub will know, there was no greater ambassador for remembering the magic of that night or of honouring the memory of his departed brothers than Bertie Auld.

ADVERT

It was Auld who led the singing of the Celtic song as the players emerged from the tunnel in the Estadio Nacional, no doubt to the bemusement of the sculpted, tanned athletes of Inter Milan. 

Although his own legendary status was assured as a result of the events of May 25, 1967, to the day he died he redefined the notion of a diehard. Wherever there was a Celtic party, the wee man was never far away.

Read the full obituary here.

Dangerous driver jailed for six years after fireball death crash

Ednilson De Ceita's BMW X5 collided with Jonathan Smith’s Peugeot 206 on May 25, 2018.

Police Scotland
Jailed: Ednilson De Ceita was convicted of the fatal crash.

A dangerous driver who killed another motorist in a horrific crash after speeding and going onto the opposite carriageway has been jailed for six years.

Ednilson De Ceita’s BMW X5 collided with Jonathan ‘jonny’ Smith’s Peugeot 206, resulting in the 29-year-old victim suffering a serious head injury and his car going up in flames.

During sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, judge Lord Beckett said: “You gave Mr Smith no chance of surviving the collision.”

The judge said Mr Smith was “a wholly innocent young man” who had spent much of his last day caring for a brother who was recovering from illness.

ADVERT

Lord Beckett said he had read “harrowing statements” from the victim’s relatives and was given information about “Jonathan’s life and work and hopes and dreams”.

He said: “They explain the devastation brought on them.

“I am left in no doubt that a number of his close relatives have suffered grievous consequences for their physical and mental health.

“I have reached the conclusion there is no alternative to a custodial sentence because of the gravity of the crimes you have committed.”

ADVERT

De Ceita, 29, had earlier denied causing the death of Mr Smith by driving dangerously on May 25, 2018, on the A902 Maybury Road, Edinburgh, by driving at excessive speed, onto the opposite carriageway and into the path of oncoming vehicles before colliding with the Peugeot and another vehicle, but was found guilty by a jury.

He was also convicted of driving at the time of the fatal collision without a valid licence or insurance.

The court heard that De Ceita, a property firm manager from Edinburgh, was a first offender who had never previously served a jail sentence.

Advocate depute Michael Meehan QC told the trial: “At the time of the impact the BMW X5 was being driven at 63mph.”

The prosecutor said there was evidence that the vehicle was driven into an area of hatched marking on the roadway prior to it taking a deviation to the right.

He said De Ceita had given differing accounts to the police of going to the left and right and stated that he saw an Audi coming towards him and into his lane and took evasive action.

But he also said that the phone of a female passenger in his vehicle sounded as if it had received a notification and he turned to her for “about half a second” to ask who the message was from, before turning back.

ADVERT

He claimed that when he turned back, he saw a set of headlights which appeared to be on full beam directly in front of him.

But Mr Meehan said there was clear evidence of “driver distraction”.

“He turned his head away and turned his head back,” he told jurors.

The prosecutor said that failures to move to the near side, to observe the speed limit and road markings amounted to dangerous driving.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci QC said De Ceita now accepted that he was aware at the time that a licence he had was not valid.

He said: “At the time he didn’t believe he had been speeding or think he was, but now accepts that he was.”

Mr Renucci said: “These cases are particularly tragic and that is not lost on De Ceita.

“It is a personal tragedy for him and his family, but of course he recognises and accepts that is really nothing to the impact of his actions on Mr Smith and Mr Smith’s family.

“He totally regrets his actions. He has expressed genuine remorse over the death of Mr Smith. He recognises that is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life that he is responsible for the death of another.”

De Ceita was banned from driving for nine years and until he passes an extended driving test.

Following the court case, detective chief inspector Graham Grant said: “There were a number of complexities to this investigation but officers remained determined and committed to establish what caused this crash and cost Jonny his life. 

“Ednilson Ceita failed to admit that his actions resulted in this catastrophic event.

“We found that he was driving at excessive speed, ultimately swerving into oncoming traffic, which led to his BMW colliding with the Peugeot being driven by Mr Smith and another vehicle. 

“Jonny’s family have had to wait over three years for justice. They have been dignified and resolute throughout and I hope that today’s verdict offers them some form of comfort. 

“I’d like to thank my investigation team, our colleagues in the Road Policing Unit and other elements of the organisation who contributed to the outcome, but most importantly to Jonny’s family, friends, and the wider community he was an integral part of, for their support during our investigation.”


Murdered disabled man was choked and stabbed in Glasgow flat

Patryk Jasinski attacked Tomasz Lipiec at a flat in Glasgow's Townhead last September 4 or 5.

STV News
Murder case: Tomasz Lipiec was killed last year.

A 32-year-old has admitted to the murder of a disabled man.

Patryk Jasinski attacked Tomasz Lipiec, 33, at a flat in Glasgow’s Townhead last September 4 or 5.

Jasinski had been due to go on trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

However, at a hearing on Friday, his QC Mark Stewart pled guilty to the murder charge on his behalf.

ADVERT

Prosecutors stated Jasinski compressed Mr Lipiec’s neck and tried to choke him.

The victim was also said to have been punched, suffered blunt force injuries by means unknown and had been repeatedly stabbed with a knife.

Jason McInally, 51, had also been accused of murder, but his not guilty plea was accepted by prosecutor Greg Farrell.

Both Jasinski and McInally had faced other charges in connection with the killing.

ADVERT

It was alleged they stole items from the flat including holdalls, a money tin, mobile phones, clothes and a television.

The indictment further stated they attempted to defeat the ends of justice by trying to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution.

This included disposing of a knife and covering faces to avoid being clocked on CCTV.

Not guilty pleas to all those accusations were also accepted on Friday.

Lord Mulholland adjourned the case until next month when it is expected further details will be heard about the killing.

Jasinski showed no emotion as he was returned to the cells.

It was reported after the death that Mr Lipiec’s heartbroken family had launched a fundraiser to bring his body back to his home country of Poland.

ADVERT

Relatives stated they wanted to “bury him with dignity”.


Urgent vaccine appeal over rise in pregnant women in intensive care

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will run specially-organised Covid-19 vaccine clinics this weekend.

Blueshot via IStock
Pregnant: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will run specially-organised Covid-19 vaccine clinics this weekend.

A health board has issued an urgent appeal following a rise in pregnant women ending up in intensive care with Covid-19.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) will run specially-organised clinics this weekend to allow those who have yet to receive two doses of a coronavirus vaccine to get jabbed.

Bosses at NHSGGC said over recent months they have seen an increase in the number of pregnant women admitted to intensive care, the “vast majority of whom were unvaccinated”.

Chief midwife Evelyn Frame said: “The stark reality is being unvaccinated while pregnant puts both you and your baby at increased risk.

ADVERT

“Some women who have become seriously unwell have had to have their baby delivered early, which is far from ideal.

“Being pregnant puts a women at increased risk of Covid-19 complications. But this risk can be dramatically reduced by receiving both doses of the vaccine.”

Special clinics

  • Saturday: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (maternity), 9am-4pm.
  • Sunday: Princess Royal Maternity Hospital (day care), 9am-4pm
  • Sunday: Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley (antenatal), 9am-4pm.

Ms Frame added: “All pregnant woman are invited to attend a drop-in clinic on these days to receive either their first or second dose.

“Women can attend any clinic which suits them – even if it’s not the hospital they are booked into.

ADVERT

“There’s also no pressure. Even if they just want to come along and speak to one of the vaccinators, we will be delighted to see them.

“They will be able to get the updated information regarding the Covid-19 vaccine in pregnancy and chat through any concerns they may have.”

Those who attend will also be able to receive a flu vaccine.

ScotRail revenues down by more than £100m amid pandemic

Managing director Alex Hynes spoke about the impact of the pandemic at the SNP conference.

jax10289 via IStock
ScotRail: Revenues down by more than £100m.

ScotRail needs to get “bums back on seats” after the train operator’s revenue fell by more than £100m a year amid the Covid pandemic, its managing director said.

Alex Hynes said the pandemic had “changed consumer behaviour”, adding: “When consumer behaviour changes so much we have to change with it.”

With services currently provided by ScotRail due to be taken into public ownership in March, Mr Hynes stressed the fall in revenue is “clearly not a sustainable situation”.

He promised “steeper discounts” on fares as ScotRail tries to get travellers back on its trains.

ADVERT

With commuter numbers still down on pre-Covid levels, he said a new timetable to come in from May could see more trains running between Edinburgh and Glasgow on Saturdays than during the working week.

Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP annual conference, Mr Hynes said: “We’re going to have to change our business.”

My Hynes, speaking to the conference from his home office, spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on finances.

He said: “The biggest problem right now I’ve got is the fact that my revenue is only 65% of what it was two years ago. And that difference, the 35%, which is over £100m per annum is being paid for by the taxpayer.

ADVERT

“That’s clearly not a sustainable situation.

“So we have to look at how can we respond to new markets, but also how can we look at our costs.

“So we’re looking at our timetable, we’re looking at our pricing, we’re offering steeper discounts than we have in the past because we have to get bums back on seats.

“We recently finished a consultation on our timetable for May next year, and we’re going to run more frequently between Edinburgh and Glasgow on a Saturday than we do Monday to Friday, because leisure is back but commuting and business is not.”

Scots who have been working from home during the pandemic are expected to only be in the office part time under hybrid working arrangements.

Mr Hynes said: “There’s not even a date to reopen essential offices here in Scotland, for reasons we all understand, because it is the right thing to do for public health.

“I can’t just sit here with my fingers crossed expecting life is going to go back to normal, absolutely not. Coronavirus has changed everything and the rail network has to change with it.”

More on:

You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?