Coronavirus updates as they happened – Wednesday, April 8.

Today's latest coronavirus news and updates from across Scotland as it happens.

Coronavirus: Wednesday's latest updates. Pixabay
Coronavirus: Wednesday's latest updates.

7.30pm: First Scots NHS worker dies

A district nurse from Inverclyde has become the first NHS worker in Scotland to die from coronavirus.

Nurse: Janice Graham passed away on Monday.

Janice Graham, 58, was described as a “beautiful woman with the biggest heart” by her heartbroken friends.

Ms Graham, a health care support worker and district nurse, died at Inverclyde Royal Hospital due to Covid-19 on Monday.

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6.30pm: FM to take questions from party leaders in virtual session

Nicola Sturgeon will take questions from party leaders in a virtual question and answer session on Thursday.

It will go ahead at 12.30pm and is expected to last for around 40 minutes.

The First Minister said it would replace the usual coronavirus briefing – which is held daily.

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It is expected that the session will mirror the first part of the First Minister’s Questions, where Ms Sturgeon takes questions from her opposite numbers.

5.45pm: New rules ‘could prevent prisoners from keeping clean’

New guidance issued to governors could prevent Scottish prisoners from keeping themselves clean during the coronavirus outbreak, opposition parties have said.

Changes to the rules around prisoners and young offenders mean they are entitled to showers at least “twice a week” as opposed to the current rules allowing showers at least once every other day.

Books and newspapers could also be restricted during the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as other activities, recreation and counselling.

MSPs were notified of the new rules on Tuesday.

Scottish Labour said prisoners must be treated with dignity during the pandemic.

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The party’s justice spokesman James Kelly said: “The World Health Organisation has made clear that prisons must ensure that the human rights of those in their custody are protected when implementing measures to deal with coronavirus, and that they should not be cut off from the outside world and retain access to information and healthcare.

“These new powers raise concerns that this may not be the case on the Scottish prison estate.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur MSP added: “It’s hard to see how preventing prisoners from showering will help slow the spread of this virus.

“Prisons face particular difficulties in terms of containing and responding to the virus, while healthcare provision that was already under stress becomes even more so in the context of over-crowding and self-isolation.

“In the midst of this crisis, prisoners still deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity.”

5.20pm: Government unveils £750m support package for charities

Charities struggling during the coronavirus pandemic will be given a £750m bailout to keep them afloat, the Chancellor has announced.

Rishi Sunak said charities, including those supporting domestic abuse victims and hospices, will receive cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus.

Some £360m direct from Government departments will go to charities providing key services, while smaller charities will benefit from £370m, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.

The Government has also pledged to match the public’s donations to the National Emergencies Trust, guaranteeing a minimum of £20m.

It will also match fund whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on April 23.

5.15pm: Prime Minister remains in intensive care

Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care.

At the UK Government’s daily briefing on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he was “sitting up in bed” and was engaging positively with NHS staff at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Johnson was taken into intensive care on Monday, a day after going into hospital for treatment to coronavirus.

An official spokesman earlier said he was receiving “standard oxygen treatment” and was “breathing without any other assistance”.

5.10pm: More than 7000 deaths across the UK

A total of 7097 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Tuesday, the Department of Health said, up by 938 from 6159 the day before.

The Department of Health said, as of 9am on Wednesday, 232,708 people have been tested of which 60,733 tested positive.

Overall, 282,074 tests have concluded, with 14,682 tests on Tuesday.

The overall test figure excludes data from Northern Ireland and test data from Charing Cross and Southampton has not been included because of a processing delay, the department added.

5.04pm: FM warns ending lockdown early would be ‘monumental mistake’

Nicola Sturgeon has warned it would be a “monumental mistake” to ease the coronavirus lockdown measures too early and said parents should not expect schools to reopen any time soon.

The First Minister said “prematurely” lifting current restrictions on social distancing and school closures risked undermining efforts to contain the disease and told the public: “We are in this for some time yet.”

Speaking at the daily press briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “Obviously we will seek to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but it would be a really monumental mistake for us to lift these measures prematurely because all the hard work people are doing right now would be jeopardised if this virus just got out of control again.

“We will continue to be open with people as our understanding and our decision-making around these things continues to develop, but I will repeat the message today: we are in this for some time yet to come, people have to be prepared to stick with this in order for it to have the impact we want it to have.”

She said she hoped not to have to introduce stricter measures, such as closing public parks, and added that the more people who comply with the guidance, “the quicker we will get to point where we can be starting to lift this”.

On the issue of school closures, Ms Sturgeon acknowledged that many parents and children were eager to return but she said there were no plans to reopen schools after Easter.

4.50pm: 3D printers used to help create protective masks

Staff at Culture Perth and Kinross Libraries have used 3D printers to produce components that will be used to create protective masks for NHS workers.

The printers – bought as part of Leader-funded project Digital Maker_Spaces – were used to make headframes and stiffeners.

Printers: The completed masks will be given to NHS staff.

Working with Men’s Sheds and other partners across the region, these items will have a laminated shield and elastic headband added to them, creating protective masks.

The final product will then be given to the NHS Tayside Testing Centre.

Coronavirus: The 3D printers were used to create headframes and stiffeners.

Jackie Brierton, chair of Rural Perth & Kinross Leader Local Action Group, said: “This is a great repurposing of resources to help combat the coronavirus crisis. 

“We’re delighted that the Leader programme, which is made up of EU and Scottish Government monies, can support Culture Perth and Kinross’ innovative project.  

“The Leader team was able to help the project align the remainder of its funding contribution to respond to the call for help.”

4.32pm: Scottish Parliament explores remote working for MSPs

The Scottish Parliament is exploring remote working in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which could involve party leaders questioning the First Minister virtually on Thursday.

In a letter to MSPs on Wednesday, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said the parliamentary bureau – a group of MSPs which decides the business of the parliament – is currently hoping to hold a session similar to First Minister’s Questions.

Testing was due to be undertaken by officials on Wednesday to assess how the process would work.

The Presiding Officer wrote: “Like other legislatures, colleagues here have been very busy in recent weeks examining and testing a range of options for virtual working and I am pleased to say that the progress they are making is very encouraging indeed.

“In the first instance, the Parliamentary Bureau is exploring holding a leaders’ virtual question time where party leaders can question the First Minister.”

If the first session on Thursday worked, the Presiding Officer said there would be scope to allow questions to come from all MSPs in the following weeks.

3.30pm: Emergency funds offered to students during coronavirus outbreak

Richard Lochhead says extra funding for students is being put in place


A £5m package of emergency financial support is being put in place to help students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Extra cash will be available to any university and college students now struggling as a result of COVID-19, including those attending private institutions.

University and college students will be able to apply for any emergency discretionary payments directly to their own institutions.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said: “We are ensuring students studying in Scotland should have access to emergency support should they be facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 or the social distancing and isolation measures that have been introduced.

“All bursaries, grants and loans are continuing to be paid as planned but the current unprecedented situation has resulted in increased hardship.

“That is why we are making extra funding immediately available for students most in need, to help alleviate concerns around accommodation costs, mental health issues, general living costs and wellbeing.

“Institutions will be provided with specific guidance on the discretionary funding related to COVID-19, to explain all relevant details while students can access the latest information on COVID-19 on the Student Information Scotland website.”

3.15pm: Lib Dems say PPE is an “absolute basic”

Following an open letter send to the government expressing serious concerns about supplies of PPE equipment to frontline workers and the quality of that being received which was signed by over 100 medics in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has issued a statement.

“We are now weeks into this crisis. It’s outrageous that our health professionals are being sent out on the frontline without the protection they need. These supplies are an absolute basic,” he said.

“Medics should not feel the need to turn to the media for their concerns to be listened to. This daily fight for adequate protective equipment is distressing and distracting at a time when it should be all hands on deck. 

“In both primary and community care we need to see high quality supplies getting to the people who need it right now.”

1.15pm: Prime Minister ‘clinically stable’ and responding to treatment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains ‘clinically stable’ and is responding to treatment.

Downing street say he is in ‘good spirits’ in St Thomas’s hospital in London where he is in intensive care.

Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister remains clinically stable and is responding to treatment.

“He continues to be cared for in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’s Hospital. He’s in good spirits.”


The PM continues to receive “standard oxygen treatment” and is “breathing without any other assistance”, he said.

Downing Street confirmed the PM is not working while in intensive care and thanked the public for messages of support.

Asked if anyone has been in contact, the spokesman said: “The PM is not working, he’s in intensive care, he has the ability to contact those that he needs to, he’s following the advice of his doctors at all times.

“We are hugely grateful for the messages of support that the Prime Minister has received.

“I think the public response to coronavirus throughout has been fantastic and that has been best exemplified by the applause they’ve been giving to NHS staff every week.”

12.58pm: Death toll from coronavirus rises by 70 to 366

The death toll from coronavirus in Scotland has risen by 70 overnight to 366, with more than 4500 confirmed cases, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Total confirmed cases are up by 336 to 4565, while there are 210 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care and 1711 in hospital overall.

It comes as the National Records of Scotland (NRS) published new weekly figures providing more detail on coronavirus-linked deaths.

Speaking at a Scottish Government press briefing on Wednesday, the First Minister confirmed the numbers.

11.51am: Scottish Government responds to ‘grave concerns’ of medics over PPE

The Scottish Government has said that the protection of frontline healthcare workers is the ‘highest priority’ after medics raised ‘grave concerns’ over the issue.

Over 100 medics signed an open letter questioning if protective equipment provided to them was adequate for the job hand.

In response a government spokesperson said: “We attach the highest priority to the protection of our frontline social care and healthcare workers, and the detailed clinical guidance issued last week was jointly prepared by senior expert clinicians across the UK, was jointly agreed by Scotland’s Chief Medical and Nursing officers and contains specific detail about what PPE should be worn, by which staff and when.

“As the Health Secretary announced last week, we have introduced four direct supply lines for PPE, a streamlined ordering system for all staff who need PPE and a new dedicated email address for any health or social care worker who has any concerns about PPE supply to make contact with us immediately. Where we are alerted to any local issue about PPE availability, we act immediately to address these.

“We are clear that appropriate eyewear protection must be provided in accordance with UK four nation guidance. We have adequate supplies of PPE in place and our new supply line measures are ensuring that the right equipment reaches the right locations with the highest possible urgency.

“The Health Secretary had discussions with Andrew Buist and Lewis Morrison of the BMA, last week, on key issues including PPE and will continue to engage with them both regularly during this time.”

11.16am: Glasgow Warriors star returns to NHS as a physio to help fight against covid-19.

Rugby star Petrus de Plessis has announced he will return to the NHS as a physio.

The Glasgow Warriors player-coach, who has been at the club since 2018, made the announcement on Twitter.

The 38-year-old South African has registered as a respiratory physiotherapist in a bid to help the fight against covid-19.

He said: “I’ve registered to go back to the NHS as a respiratory physiotherapist. I strongly believe it’s important to have all hands on deck to overcome this virus!”

10.16am: Pub’s tribute to health workers

Grace’s Bar in the Merchant City area of Glasgow has paid a striking tribute to NHS workers.

The venue, known as a Celtic pub, is closed during lockdown and wanted to brighten its boarded-up windows.

Bar owner Paul Kelly said: “We felt the need to board up the windows as a precaution for extra safety and security and it suddenly hit us that everything we have worked for as a team and a community was in ruins.  

“We could have advertised our venue but that wasn’t right either when there are people out there fighting for their lives and others on the frontline battling this virus.

How the boarded-up windows of Grace’s bar look.

“We are a sports bar, mainly Celtic fans but we have many fans from other teams who visit regularly too and we’ll all really miss the place during this closure.

“However the message is still the same, we want to help remind everyone to stay at home.  It is Easter weekend which is meant to be a holiday, a time of joy and it would be easy to forget our commitments to stay safe, so we wrote this message as a reminder that it is more important than ever to stay home and help in this fight. We are all in this together.”

9.50am: Half of those diagnosed with covid-19 in Forth Valley ‘fully recovered and back home’

Around half of the 243 people who have had a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis in Forth Valley are already fully recovered and back home.

Dr Graham Foster, Forth Valley’s director of public health, said it was important to get the message out that people had been discharged when it was safe to do so.

As the Scottish and UK death tolls rise, and the Prime Minister himself in intensive care, more and more people are facing up to just how deadly covid-19 can be.

And some have been nervous about those who have had the illness returning to their communities.

But Dr Foster said: “We want to be reassuring that these people are not a big infection risk and they don’t need to be treated any differently.

“They will obviously do the self-isolation that everyone else is doing and obey the same rules as everyone else but people don’t need to worry about them.

“People need to get used to the idea that the normal path of covid is that you become unwell for a period of time, usually seven days, and then you are safe after that to be discharged.”

9.27am: Emergency £500 grant available to those impacted by coronavirus

People in financial crisis caused by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic can now receive immediate help in the form of a cash grant.

The initiative comes thanks to the launch of an emergency coronavirus grant fund by national poverty charity, Turn2us.

A one-off crisis grant of £500 will be approved and paid within just three working days of an application, as long as they meet the grant fund’s eligibility criteria.

The grant will not need to be paid back and is intended to be a financial lifeline in a time of crisis.

One million people came to Turn2us for help in the last three weeks alone, representing a 520% increase, and 1800% increase amongst the self-employed.

8.50am: ‘Video visiting’ launched for Western Isles hospitals

A new ‘video visiting’ service is to be launched in the Western Isles on Wednesday, which will enable hospital inpatients and their friends and family to keep in touch via a video link.

In a statement, NHS Western Isles said that since the closure of local hospitals to visitors as a measure to control the spread of Coronavirus, staff had been working on a new system enabling video connections for hospital patients.

The service will initially be available for calls seven days a week between 2pm and 4pm to patients in Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, with a roll-out of the scheme to all Western Isles hospital sites over the next two weeks currently being considered. Calls will be ten minutes in duration. 

8.46am: Entrepreneur gives £100,000 to fund free meals

Scots entrepreneur Marie Macklin has donated £100,000 to help people in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

She has launched a community fund called Lift Up Your Hearts, which aims to deliver 20,000 free meals.

The project has teamed up with charity Centrestage and company Braehead Foods to prepare and deliver free meals to homes in Kilmarnock and across East Ayrshire.

Marie, who founded the HALO urban regeneration company, said: “It is a very proud day for not just me but everyone at the HALO to see so many people come together to support the Lift Up Your Hearts campaign which we hope will help local communities that need it the most during these unprecedented times.

“I’d like to thank the team at Braehead Foods and everyone at Centrestage for their support and dedication to making the first deliveries of these 20,000 meals happen so quickly.

“I am confident that together we will help as many people as possible get through these difficult times.”

8.32am: Scottish football clubs set for crunch coronavirus talks

Scottish clubs will hold further talks with league officials on Wednesday in a bid to secure more clarity on the fate of the current season.

A number of clubs have already called on the Scottish Professional Football League to declare the standings as they are.

But Hearts have threatened legal action if they are relegated with eight games left and Rangers vowed to challenge any attempt to declare Celtic champions.

8.20am: Medics raise ‘grave concerns’ over protection equipment in open letter to Scottish Government

More than 100 medical professionals have signed an open letter to the Scottish Government raising “grave concerns” over personal protective equipment.

The open letter states that the virus has caused “upheaval” and lives have been “turned upside down” with people suffering from “fear and anxiety”.

It goes on to say that many working for the health service have concerns about the adequacy of the protective equipment needed in the “frontline battle” against an “invisible enemy”.

The medics wrote: “Health care workers are falling ill and dying due to covid-19. We believe it is vital that essential workers are given adequate PPE at the very least, to protect themselves and in-turn their patients from this new virus.”

7.50am: UK coronavirus strategy questioned

Questions have been asked over the UK’s covid-19 strategy in the absence of the Prime Minister who remains in intensive care with the virus.

Concerns were raised over when the lockdown measures will be reviewed – and leading officials have admitted the UK has “a lot to learn” from Germany’s expansive testing scheme.

Earlier, foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising in Boris Johnson’s absence, suggested the review of the lockdown announced by the PM when he set out the restrictions would not go ahead on Monday as scheduled.

7.35am: Prime Minister spends second night in intensive care

Boris Johnson spent second night in intensive care.

Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care being treated for Covid-19.

Downing Street said the PM’s condition remained “stable” on Tuesday night as they confirmed he would be staying in St Thomas’s hospital for “close monitoring”.

The 55-year-old is said to be in “good spirits”.

7.05am: Report warns that GDP could shrink by 25% if lockdown continues

The Scottish economy could contract by up to a quarter if the current lockdown restrictions continue for a three-month period, according to the Fraser of Allander Institute.

The report from the economic research institute at Strathclyde University found there is likely to be “a long road to recovery” from the “unprecedented” impact on GDP from the coronavirus pandemic.

The estimates are predicted on a three month period of restrictions and are not an “exact prediction for growth” in Q2 of 2020, but “simply an illustration of the scale of the shock” to the economy.

The report adds that “it might be many months or even years before we actually know the full extent of the effect of the shut down on the Scottish economy”.

7am: Jobs market sees greatest drop in permanent starts since global crash

Permanent job appointments across Scotland in March fell at the fastest rate since the global financial crash, according to a study.

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland figures show the country saw the steepest decline last month in these job starts since April 2009, with a drop of 10.7 points from the “no change” base rate of 50.

Permanent job placements in April 2009 had a rating of 33.6, some 16.4 points below the 50 standard.

Temporary billings also fell 19.3 points – the steepest rate on record – as the Scottish jobs market was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus: Highest number of deaths recorded since May

Another 28 people have died with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, as a further 1739 positive cases are confirmed.

Radoslav Zilinsky via Getty Images

Another 28 people have died with coronavirus in Scotland, the highest daily rise since May 21.

The country also recorded 1739 new cases, representing 19.8% of people newly tested and 9.7% of the total number of tests carried out.

The total number of positive cases in Scotland since the start of the pandemic now stands at 50,903.

Of the new cases, 605 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 520 in Lanarkshire, 250 in Lothian and 105 in Ayrshire and Arran.

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There are 873 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 49 in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 73 are in intensive care, a rise of three.

The death toll under the measure of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2653.

Separate weekly figures released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that, as of October 18, 4376 deaths have been registered in Scotland.

Between October 12-18, 75 deaths were registered that mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, representing an increase of 50 deaths from the previous week – the highest weekly total since early June.

Of those deaths, more than three quarters occurred in hospitals, representing 58 deaths, 12 occurred in care homes, and five at home or in a non-institutional setting.

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The NRS figures record all deaths linked to coronavirus – including instances where Covid-19 was cited on the death certificate, whether it was the cause or a contributing factor.

They also contain all deaths where the person was suspected to have the virus, even if they never took a test to confirm it.

The total number of all-cause deaths registered in the week ending October 18 was 1,129, six percent higher than the average over the previous five years.

Pub and restaurant restrictions extended by a week

Pubs and restaurants in central Scotland will not be able to open before November 2.

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Coronavirus restrictions on pubs and restaurants have been extended by a week.

A ban on indoor home visits and travel guidance urging people to stay in their health board area will also remain in place until at least November 2, when a new tiered system of lockdown rules begins.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that while there was “cautious optimism” the restrictions were working, ministers were told by advisers it would not be safe to lift the measures from Monday, October 26.

Coronavirus has claimed the lives of 28 people in Scotland over the past 24 hours, with more than 1700 cases recorded.

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Pubs and restaurants in central Scotland were all but closed – except for takeaway services – from October 9 to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Cafes across the five central health board regions – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – have been exempt from the shutdown as long as they do not serve alcohol.

Across the rest of Scotland, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes have only been able to operate indoors between the hours of 6am and 6pm. They have been prohibited from serving alcohol inside, but can still serve drinks outdoors until 10pm.

The Scottish Government has also asked residents in central Scotland to “think carefully” before travelling outwith their health board area.

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Announcing the extension at her daily briefing, Sturgeon said: “It allows us to transition more smoothly to the new levels system that we hope will be introduced on November 2.”

Financial support will be extended to help businesses affected by the extension of restrictions.

The First Minister added that she understood the move was “harsh” financially and emotionally.

She said: “I know all of this is really unwelcome and I know that these restrictions are harsh.

“They are harsh financially for many individuals and businesses, and they are harsh emotionally for all of us.

“I want to stress again that none of these decisions are being taken lightly – this is all about trying to save lives and minimise the health damage that we know this virus is capable of doing.”

The hospitality industry fears the extension will have “devastating consequences”.

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Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “With current restrictions remaining in place until November 2, and no indication of what the new tier system will entail, the financial support package must be increased or countless venues will be forced to close for good, and tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said “there’s no hiding the fact that today’s extension won’t go down well with many firms”.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, added: “We asked ministers to clarify whether the current hospitality restrictions would be lifted next week.

“Hopefully today’s announcement has come early enough to prevent independent pub and restaurants ordering unnecessary stock, disappointing customers or confusing staff.”


Rapist who filmed sex attack given life sentence

Kevin Oliver attacked the 47-year-old for hours at her Ayrshire home during a violent murder bid.

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Kevin Oliver was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

A bodybuilder who filmed himself torturing and raping a woman during a murder bid has been given a life sentence.

Kevin Oliver made the 47-year-old suffer for hours at her home in Troon, Ayrshire, in October 2018.

The mum feared she was going to die as he battered, abused and humiliated her.

Oliver, 32, filmed the attack on his mobile phone. Footage from the incident was played to jurors at the High Court in Glasgow.

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One detective told how she had never witnessed anything like it in her 15-year career.

Oliver returned to the dock on Wednesday having earlier been convicted of assault, rape and attempted murder.

Lord Armstrong imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction. Oliver must also serve a minimum five years behind bars.

The rape victim told how she initially felt “sorry” for Oliver before she started dating him in 2017.

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In June 2018, the woman had to beg Oliver for ‘permission’ to meet a friend.

He only agreed if she went to the same pub as him – and that she had to wear a cardigan to cover bruises he caused.

After returning home, the woman feared Oliver was going to “snap” her neck. She ended up with a dislocated jaw after he grabbed her face tightly.

In October 2018, the pair went out in Glasgow before returning to her home.

When the woman then refused to have a gin with Oliver, he put her through the violent ordeal.

The sobbing victim recalled: “He was on top of me and he stripped me. I was telling him to stop.

“He was saying: ‘I am going to teach you a lesson. You are my property’. He said he was going to torture me.”

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Prosecutor Bill McVicar asked the witness: “How long did this go on for?” She replied: “Hours.”

‘I just thought that I was going to die.’

Victim

The terrified woman was physically assaulted, raped and tied up.

She told Mr McVicar: “He repeated all the things that he did in each room of the house. I just thought that I was going to die.”

Oliver also dragged the screaming victim into the bath. She said: “He was pushing my face in the water … in and out. He was trying to drown me.”

The woman was locked in a cupboard for being “disobedient”.

Mr McVicar asked did she recall Oliver filming what he was doing. She replied: “I believe he did. He was taking pictures and videos.”

Clips played during the trial showing the woman being mocked as she was forced to carry out degrading acts.

Detective sergeant Claire Jack was one of the officers who later viewed the footage

His QC Iain McSporran asked her: “Have you ever seen anything quite like that?”

She replied: “Not in relation to another adult, no.”

The court heard the victim managed to sneak out after Oliver fell asleep. But, even after he was held on remand, he continued to harass her.

She told him: “I am petrified of you. I don’t want to see you again. Leave me alone.”

Oliver was also convicted of causing the victim fear and alarm with prison letters and phone calls.

He had earlier sexually assaulted a second woman at his then home in September 2017.


Beauty spot searched after blood-stained clothing found

Officers were made aware of the discovery at Corstorphine Hill, Edinbrugh, on Tuesday morning.

Ross MacDonald / SNS Group via SNS Group
Police: Blood-stained item found in woodland.

Police are searching woodland in Edinburgh following the discovery of a blood-stained item of clothing.

Officers were made aware of the find at Corstorphine Hill on Tuesday morning, around 9.35am.

The item has been sent to the lab for further analysis.

A police spokeswoman said: “Examination of the item will be carried out to confirm what it is and officers are carrying out a search of the area.”

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No other related items were found at the site, police added.

An investigation into the discovery is ongoing.


Five care home residents die after Covid-19 outbreak

Five care home residents have died in a coronavirus outbreak.

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Charnwood Lodge: Outbreak at care home.

Five people have died following an outbreak of coronavirus at a care home in Dumfries.

All five were residents at Charnwood Lodge on Annan Road.

Community Integrated Care, the charity which runs the home, said it took immediate action by conducting a full decontamination and “implementing a number of additional robust infection control measures”.

It said it was now working closely with Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership to support residents and families.

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Martin McGuigan, managing director at Community Integrated Care, said: “As soon as the outbreak developed, we took immediate action. We conducted a full decontamination of the home and implemented a number of additional robust infection control measures.

“It is, however, with great sadness that we have lost five people we support as a result of the virus and our hearts go out to their loved ones, as well as our colleagues.

“We have been astounded by the incredible efforts and professionalism of the entire staff team who have done their utmost to support residents, families and each other through this incredibly challenging time.

“We will continue to work closely with the local authority and public health teams to ensure that we are taking all necessary steps to protect everyone within the home and provide the practical and emotional support needed.”

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Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, which involves the NHS, the council and the third and independent sectors, urged everyone to do their part to limit the spread of the virus.

A partnership spokesman said: “This has been proving a very difficult and concerning situation, but we would note the dedication of Community Integrated Care and their staff at Charnwood Lodge in their response.

“Work was undertaken to contain the spread of Covid-19, and this has not been an easy task against this highly infectious virus.

“This outbreak has again demonstrated just how highly transmissible the Covid-19 virus is, even when the correct protocols are being observed.

“Covid-19 can result in mild symptoms, and sometimes none at all. This can mask its spread to more vulnerable individuals where it can pose a very significant risk.

“Following the guidance around the use of PPE (including face coverings), around physical distancing and good hygiene remains absolutely vital in reducing risk – but these are by no means an absolute guarantee of protection.

“These tools are quite simply the best measures which currently exist to help reduce the risk as much as possible, and help limit the spread of the coronavirus.”

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MSP Joan McAlpine, who represents the area in Holyrood, released a statement on social media on Tuesday night.

She said: “I have just received a briefing from Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership about the outbreak of Covid-19 at Charnwood Lodge Care home in Dumfries.

“Sadly it informs us that five people have now died at the home, in circumstances where COVID-19 was present.

“My deepest condolences go to their loved ones and it goes without saying that I stand ready as one of your local MSPs with any assistance I can offer.

“Community Integrated Care, the charity who run the home, are working closely with DGSCP to support residents and their families.

“The partnership have paid tribute to the dedication of the charity and its staff at a terribly difficult time and says the outbreak demonstrates “how highly transmissible the COVID-19 virus is.

“This is awful news and shows how important it is that we suppress this terrible virus. I am contacting the health and social care partnership for more details.”


Medical students warned to stay away from drug consumption van

The University of Glasgow said the students' 'future careers' are at risk if they continue to volunteer.

STV News
Glasgow: Peter Krykant is determined to continue operating the service.

Medical students have been warned that their future careers are “at risk” if they continue to help out with Scotland’s first mobile drug consumption van.

Glasgow University said it had a “duty to warn” its students over voluntary activity that could lead to “serious consequences”.

In a letter sent out this week, medical school bosses said they had been contacted by concerned colleagues at Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services in regards to students serving as volunteers on the van.

Although the university does not intend to investigate the matter further and has “no desire” to dictate what students do in their spare time, medical school chiefs stated: “We do, however, have a duty to warn you in clear and unequivocal terms when voluntary activity may carry serious consequences for your future careers.”

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Dangerous: A Glasgow alleyway littered with drug paraphernalia.
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Peter Krykant, the man behind the van, is determined to continue operating the service within Glasgow city centre despite risk of prosecution.

He has modified a minibus into a facility where he says addicts will be able to safely take drugs under supervision. 

He hopes it will prevent overdoses and blood-borne viruses among users.

As well as clean needles and harm reduction advice, there are also medical supplies on board – including naloxone, which is used to reverse a potentially-fatal overdose.

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The van has been set up as Scotland tops the chart for the highest drug deaths in the EU and as Glasgow tackles its worst HIV outbreak in 30 years.

Mr Krykant launched the service despite previous calls for a legal consumption room in the city being rejected by the Home Office.

He has been warned that running such a facility puts him at risk of committing offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

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Police: Officers on the lookout for illegal activity.

In the letter to the medical students, Professor Matthew Walters and Professor John Paul Leach stated that the NHS does not condone or endorse the van.

Professor Walters, the head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing, and Prof Leach, the head of the Undergraduate Medical School, also highlighted that volunteers could face charges if something goes wrong.

They warned: “As MBChB students studying on a programme leading to a GMC-registrable primary medical qualification you are subject to professionalism and Fitness to Practise standards. These apply to both your professional and personal behaviours. 

“As such, any criminal charges would be followed by a Fitness to Practise process and, no matter the outcome, further review by the General Medical Council prior to registration.

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“If you are thinking about volunteering, please consider these risks, and the good you can do over the span of a lifetime in medicine. 

“At this very early stage we would advise you not to risk your career and your huge potential to make positive change.”

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Injecting: One woman previously told STV News she took drugs ‘to forget’.

A spokesperson from the University of Glasgow told STV News that medical students are encouraged to undertake extracurricular activities which benefit the community.

However, they added: “As the drug consumption van project is not supported by the NHS or compatible with current legislation, we have advised them against participation.”

In response to the university’s stance, Mr Krykant said he understood the need to keep students safe and advise them on any activity that could impact their studies.

However, he stated that the medical department has commented on areas that it is “clearly not educated on”.

Highlighting a section in the letter that said the “Scottish judicial system regards engagement with services of this nature as participation in the supply of controlled substances”, Mr Krykant stated: “I would challenge them to point to the area of law that states the running of a drug consumption room is concerned in the supply of controlled substances.

“It is also clear that unless our future doctors and nurses are allowed to engage with those most marginalised, then society has a long way to go before we see real changes.”


I went undercover on the ‘Wine Alley’ to tackle drug problem

Ex-undercover police officer Simon McLean has written about his experience tackling Glasgow's drug problem during the 80s.

Simon McLean via Email

Former undercover drugs police officer Simon McLean spent years tackling Glasgow’s growing drug problem in the early 80s. 

He spent 17 years targeting supply in the Govan area, often posing as a dealer himself to infiltrate high-level crime gangs.

Being part of Glasgow’s serious crime squad was Simon’s ultimate goal.

“We were dealing through the letter box to the punters that would come in, and from that it took us to Renfrew, Ayrshire, Greenock,” he said.

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“We recovered firearms, huge amounts of drugs and information. 

“We were never chasing drug users. They were only a route to the drug dealers, suppliers, manufacturers and importers.”

Simon says at the time there was very little known about distribution but he recognised it was behind most of the crime in the area.

“The police were totally oblivious to it. Not only oblivious but deliberately ignored it. Didn’t think it was a police matter.”

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He secured funding for Scotland’s first public ‘tip off line’, which led to undercover operations in an area known as Wine Alley, which is only a few hundred yards for the former Orkney Street police station.

“I’d go to my work [as a police officer] in the morning then in the afternoon I’d sell drugs in the Wine Alley,” Simon said.

‘We had all this heroin that we had to do something with. We buried the heroin and that’s the last we saw of it.’

Simon McLean

In one incident, the team buried a haul of heroin in exchange for information from a dealer.

“We recovered a huge amount of heroin. The deal was we would lose this quantity and he wouldn’t be charged if he gave us the information we sought,” Simon said.

“That all led to a big bust down in Greenock with a ship coming in. But we had all this heroin that we had to do something with.

“We buried the heroin and that’s the last we saw of it.”

Simon is speaking out about his experiences as he launches his memoir following his policing career.

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The Ten Percent follows his policing career from his first posting in Campbeltown to detective on Rothesay, serious crime squad in Glasgow to undercover drugs officer in Govan.  

While Simon believed at the time the team was making a difference, he has concerns about Scotland’s continuing drugs problem.

“The sad thing is we thought we were making a difference but we patently weren’t because I can hand on heart tell you that those problems are still as prevalent in Scotland now and our prisons are full of low level drug users,” he said.

“We need to look at this from a different place than this ‘war on drugs’ that we talk about which hasn’t worked for 40 years.”


Elderly woman dies in crash that also left driver injured

The woman was a passenger in the car when it left the road and struck a tree.

An elderly woman has died after a car left the road and struck a tree in Fife.

The 74-year-old passenger suffered fatal injuries in the crash on A985 at Cairneyhill on Monday.

A man who was driving the car, also 74, has been left with serious injuries.

Emergency services attended the scene and both pensioners were taken to hospital.

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The woman died two days later and the man remains in hospital in a serious condition.

Officers investigating the incident are appealing for information.

A spokesman said: “Anyone who was driving on the road around the time of the crash who has dash-cam footage is asked to call Police Scotland on 101,”


Veteran battling MND vows to fight on for his family

Stuart Carmichael, 40, has been left without treatment for 18 months after having an adverse reaction to Riluzole.

STV News

A veteran with motor neurone disease has been left without treatment for 18 months after having an adverse reaction to the main drug used to slow the killer condition.

Stuart Carmichael, 40, couldn’t believe Riluzole was the only treatment option available in the UK for MND.

It is not a cure, but is the only medicine approved for use by the NHS which has been shown to have a significant effect on slowing the disease’s course.

Speaking to STV News, Mr Carmichael said: “It’s not so hard about myself, it’s more hard when you focus on your little ones. 

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“Not being able to grow up with their dad, that’s a wee bit gut-wrenching.”

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Family: Mr Carmichael with his three daughters.

The coronavirus lockdown has had an impact on Mr Carmichael’s mobility, but he refuses to stop fighting and wants his three daughters to know that.

He said it was difficult day when his eldest daughter read an article about the disease.

He said: “My daughter is nine years old and she read the newspaper. 

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“I could hear her saying to her mum, my wife, ‘I’ve read the newspaper, mum’, and I could hear her crying. 

“That was one of my things; to protect. So I just brought her in and said, ‘look, I’m alright, I’m still here, still fighting’. That’s helped kick me on a wee bit.”

Mr Carmichael, from Glasgow, took part in tours in Iraq and Afghanistan over his 15-year military career. 

Two years ago he was referred to a neurologist after his hands began seizing, which led to the devastating diagnosis.

A study by the University of Glasgow has found veterans have a 50% increased risk of developing MND compared to civilians due to a combination of smoking, being physically active and from “probably taking a few knocks”.

Mr Carmichael said: “I do think we need to highlight that because we join the army at a young age. 

“We give the best years of our life to Queen and country. Then we come out and you’re hit with something like this. 

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“When you reflect back, if you had started a family at a younger age, you would have had more time to see your family grow.”

Mr Carmichael now hopes to embark on a medical trial abroad, involving pioneering stem cell treatment. A fundraiser has been set up, with more than £30,000 of the £40,000 target collected so far.

The community of Carmyle has also rallied behind Mr Carmichael with donations to help him adapt his family home.

Mr Carmichael said: “It’s just giving people maybe time. Just family time. That’s all I ask for, you know. 

“This is my battle now, so I need to keep on going.”


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