Live: Coronavirus news updates from across Scotland

The country is on lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Coronavirus: The fight goes on to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Pixabay
Coronavirus: The fight goes on to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

7.33pm – Health board suspends visiting to all but some ‘essential visitors’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is to suspend visiting at all hospitals to protect patients and staff from coronavirus, effective immediately.

The health board has issued some exempt “essential visitors” but said only one person can attend at any given time and no children are permitted to visit.

Angela O’Neill, deputy nurse director, said: “We understand this will be difficult – visitors are normally warmly welcomed into our hospitals but our main priority now is to keep everyone safe.

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“We want to thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation.

“Essential visitors, like birthing partners, parents of children and those visiting a family member receiving end of life care, will continue to be allowed, however only one visitor at any given time.

“If you are in the essential group of visitors, please speak to the nurse in charge to arrange.”

6.03pm – Senior Scots diplomat in Hungary dies of coronavirus

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A Scots diplomat has died at the age of 37 after contracting coronavirus.

Steven Dick, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy Hungary, died on Tuesday.

A statement from his parents, Steven and Carol Dick, said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. He was kind, funny and generous.

“It was always his dream to work for the Foreign Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas.

“We are devastated by his loss & ask for privacy at this tragic time.”

5.25pm – Coronavirus ‘antibody test’ to be ready ‘within days’

The public will be able to conduct coronavirus antibody tests at home within a matter of days, MPs have heard.

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Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England told Westminster’s science and technology committee 3.5 million tests had been bought and would be available in the “near future”.

5.08pm – Giving blood is an essential activity

Giving blood is an essential activity, with people urged to continue to donate to make sure hospitals are well stocked.

Sessions are going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service will advise if this changes.

4.25pm – Teacher lends a hand in protective gear production

A teacher in the Highlands has been using his 3D printer to create face visors for medical staff who need protective gear in the fight against coronavirus.

Stephen Stewart, of Lochaber High School, received a call from Belford Hospital and after testing a few prototypes, he will also be producing visors for the NHS.

4.05pm – Orthotic technicians to produce face visors

A technique has been developed by hospital technicians in Glasgow, helping them to produce more than 100 face visors an hour.

Staff at the orthotic department at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow have turned to making the visors to boost supplies and plan to pass their design to hospitals across the country.

They are now appealing for material to make the protective equipment.

Anyone who can help with supplying 0.2-0.5mm acetate sheets is asked to contact orthotic lead Melville Dixon at melville.dixon@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

3.47pm – Football chairman offers free hotel rooms to NHS workers

Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison is offering free accommodation at his county inn to NHS staff travelling to and from Aberdeen’s main hospital.

The Cock and Bull in Balmedie has five bed and breakfast rooms which have been opened up to those travelling to work at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary during the coronavirus pandemic.

3.33pm – Bus operators to receive funding regardless of numbers

The Scottish Government has pledged to pay bus companies the amount of funding projected in this year’s budget regardless of the number of passengers who use services.

The cash pledge, announced by the First Minister at a briefing on coronavirus in Edinburgh, is intended to help support companies during the outbreak.

Under the current agreement, Transport Scotland reimburses bus firms for travel under the concessionary scheme for over-60s and disabled people.

Nicola Sturgeon announced this year’s funding will not be based on the actual amount of travel but projections made at the beginning of the year.

2.57pm – Young Brit dies after Covid-19 diagnosis

A 21-year-old woman has died after contracting coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

Chloe Middleton, from Buckinghamshire, is believed to have had no pre-existing health conditions.

Her mum Diane said on Facebook: “To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus please think again speaking from a personal experience this so called virus has taken the life of my 21 year old daughter”.

2.35pm – Confirmed cases in Scotland exceeds 700

There are now 719 confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland – a rise of 135 in the last 24 hours.

It’s the biggest daily rise in cases in the country since the outbreak began, an increase of around a quarter (23%) on the 584 patients reported on Tuesday.

12.45pm: Patient deaths in Scotland rise by six to 22

The Scottish Government is setting up its own expert advisory group to help in the Covid-19 battle, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Scotland’s First Minister announced the move as she revealed the number of coronavirus deaths in the country has risen to 22.

That is up by six from Tuesday’s total of 16, the First Minister said, adding a further 51 people are in intensive care suffering from Covid-19 or with symptoms of the virus.

12pm: Coronavirus funding in Scotland tops £2bn

Scottish secretary Alister Jack told MPs additional coronavirus funding for Scotland now totals £2.7bn.

11.53am: Record numbers flock to NHS 24

NHS 24 this week recorded one of the busiest days since the service was set up in 2002.

There were almost 19,000 calls to the 111 service and the coronavirus helpline on Monday, on a day when the 111 service would normally see around 3200 calls. This included almost 12,000 calls to 111 and a further 7000 to the dedicated helpline.

The NHS inform website, which is hosting the national information service for Covid-19 information, registered more than 182,200 visits with more than 44,000 people accessing the coronavirus self help guide on the site. 

On Tuesday, there were more than 8500 calls to 111, with almost 4000 calls to the helpline. NHS inform saw just over 202,000 visits with the self help guide accessed more than 55,000 times.

In response to the very high demand for its services, staff from across the national health board have been volunteering to be retrained so they can support the helplines. 

In addition to staff being asked to step into other roles, temporary staff have also been recruited and are currently in training, to help bolster the workforce and help NHS 24 support as many people as possible.

NHS 24 medical director Dr Laura Ryan said: “NHS 24 people have been, quite simply, amazing.” 

11.18am: Barclays to waive overdraft interest until end of April

Barclays UK will waive interest on overdrafts for a fixed period, as part of moves to help personal banking customers through tough financial times amid the spread of coronavirus.

The bank said overdraft interest will be waived from Friday to the end of April, meaning no charges for customers to use their agreed overdraft.

It said customers do not need to call it to set this up – as interest will automatically be removed from March 27.

The move is part of a wider package of support that the bank is offering to help customers who are suffering financial hardship because of coronavirus.

Gillean Dooney, managing director at Barclays, said: “It’s crucial we offer the right support to our customers through this challenging time.

“We have therefore decided to waive all overdraft interest until the end of April, meaning there will be no charges for customers to use their arranged overdraft. We are reviewing all options to help customers after this time to ensure we support those in financial difficulty.”

Morrisons: Customers at the store in Giffnock.

11.08am: Shoppers keep their distance

Shoppers at a Morrisons store in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, kept their distance from each other while lining up outside the supermarket.

A customer told STV News: “It worked really well.

“Staff monitored who was going in, everyone in the queue was kept apart, and there was plenty of food too.”

11am: New £5m fund to help Scottish fishing and seafood industry

The fishing and seafood industry will receive £5m from the Scottish Government to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

Demand for Scottish delicacies such as langoustine, prawns and crab has fallen sharply as the export and hospitality markets contract.

The funding will be offered to 650 companies in the industry, including onshore processing firms.

Owners of vessels less than 12 metres long will receive an initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings, administered by Marine Scotland.

10.45am: Dumfries and Galloway family desperate to get home

A crowdfunding page has been set up for a Dumfries and Galloway family stuck in Florida.

George McMillan, 43, his wife Kim, 42, and their children Finlay, 13, and Ruby, five, travelled to the popular holiday destination on March 5.

But the Leswalt family’s holiday plans were scuppered after Disney World Florida announced it would close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr McMillan, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, said their flights to the UK were cancelled and they are soon to be kicked out of their hotel.

“It’s been very stressful, more so these last few days as in two days’ time that’s us out of the hotel,” he said.

“I have enough medication to see me through to about Saturday.”

Stranded: The McMillan family are stuck in Florida.

While flights have been arranged for their return, Mr McMillan said they are not guaranteed.

“There is so much conflicting information, we are effectively in the dark,” he added.

Crowdfunding page GoFundMe said a keyword search on its website showed a 54% increase in campaigns in the last week mentioning being stuck abroad, and a 33% increase in campaigns mentioning being stranded overseas.

Royal: Prince Charles and Camilla. Getty Images

10.43am: Prince Charles diagnosed with coronavirus in Scotland

Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus while in Scotland, his office has confirmed.

His wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has also been tested but does not have the virus.

The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire, where the couple are staying at Balmoral.

10.30am: Six-month MOT exemption announced

Vehicle owners in Britain will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

All cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempted from needing a test from March 30.

This will allow people to carry on with essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the DfT said.

Drivers were warned vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Garages will remain open for essential repair work.

10.30am: Distillery produces 30 litres of hand sanitiser

Darnley’s Gin, created on the site of Kingsbarns Distillery on the outskirts of St Andrews, has completed its first-ever production of hand sanitiser to support the most vulnerable in the East Neuk of Fife during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

Following guidance from the World Health Organisation, the company has produced 30 litres of the gel – which will now be distributed free of charge to churches, care homes, businesses and the most vulnerable individuals in the local area.

Cheers to that: Darnley’s Gin hand sanitiser.

William Wemyss, founder and managing director of Darnley’s Gin and Kingsbarns Distillery, said: “These are uncertain and challenging times for us all.  

“Family and community spirit have always been at the very heart of our business, and now more than ever, we aim to do all we can to assist our neighbours here in the East Neuk.”

10am: Fire service enacting ‘robust contingency plans’

Scotland’s top fire chief has reassured communities that the rescue service is taking all necessary measures to minimise disruption to its emergency response amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Martin Blunden, chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), said “robust contingency plans” are in place to manage increasing levels of sickness and self-isolation among firefighters and staff.

This includes the temporary suspension of the service’s home fire safety visit programme; halting attendance at external events; and inviting recently retired firefighters and specialist staff to return to the frontline to cover potential absences.

Speaking of the potential impact on the service’s core emergency response, chief officer Blunden said: “We continue to work to attend every 999 call that we receive.

“However, should we have a significant staff absence, our highly trained operations control staff will assess calls that we receive to make sure that we attend the calls where we can save life, or where we can prevent significant damage to buildings or properties.

“They will make that assessment, and we may eventually have to place calls into a queue until resources can be made available.

“But I can assure you that for every 999 call where you need our response, we will attend, and we will do everything we can to assist and save life.”

Handout via Getty Images
Finance secretary: Kate Forbes has pledged to put pressure on banks.

9.50am: Banks must ‘do their bit’

Scotland’s finance secretary has pledged to put pressure on banks if they fail to help individuals and businesses left struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Kate Forbes she would “expect” banks to be supportive to requests to defer payments from those who have fallen on hard times.

But if they do not, she said she would “most happily put pressure on them” as ministers “expect the banks to do their bit”.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Ms Forbes said she had taken part in a virtual roundtable meeting on Tuesday with banks and other financial services.

During the talks, she said she had been stressing that “they need to be sympathetic to requests for payment deferrals, for mortgage holiday and other things”.

She said: “This is about getting through the next few months, this is about ensuring we still have an economy at the end of it and that businesses that have struggled can bounce back and people have money in their pockets.

“So if there are cases where banks are not sympathetic I will most happily put pressure on them. We expect the banks to do their bit to support communities and support businesses through the next few months.

“And where they are not, that should be flagged and I will most certainly take it up with the banks.”

9am: Persimmon and Bellway shutting construction sites

Housebuilders Bellway and Persimmon are shutting construction sites despite being allowed to stay open amid the lockdown to help protect workers from coronavirus.

Bellway said it was closing its 200 building sites across the country by the end of Friday, with site managers only allowed onto developments to maintain security or to hand over keys to buyers.

Persimmon confirmed it is also starting an “orderly shutdown” of its construction sites.

It said it would continue with essential work only, making partly-built homes safe, where otherwise customers could be left in a vulnerable position.

Bellway has already shut its sales offices and Persimmon is closing its sales network from Thursday, offering telephone and online-only customer support.

Glasgow Subway: Services will close early from Wednesday night.

8am: Glasgow Subway to close early

Glasgow Subway will close early each night as the country gets to grips with strengthened measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

From Wednesday, the underground system will close at 9pm when the last train leaves St Enoch.

Previous services continued to run as late as 11.30pm between Monday and Saturday.

Transport bosses said the move was for the “protection” of staff and passengers.

6am: ‘Safe and secure’ climate summit could be held

Police chiefs are set to be told a “safe and secure” COP26 can still be delivered in Glasgow despite concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Police Authority will meet via tele-conference on Wednesday and get an update on Police Scotland’s preparations for the United Nations climate conference, planned to take place in November at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC).

But members will also hear “that position may change over the coming months” as the coronavirus outbreak develops.

6am: Online marketplaces ‘must stamp out Covid-19 profiteering’

Amazon Marketplace and eBay are being urged to clamp down harder on coronavirus profiteering by sellers, after Which? found many everyday household products being offered at inflated prices.

The consumer group said it had found overpricing of cleaning products, thermometers, baby formula and tampons.

In several cases prices were around ten times what shoppers would normally expect to pay and in some instances the price inflation was even higher.

Which? said online marketplaces should be bringing in stricter controls to identify and prevent sellers charging unjustifiable high prices for essentials – and policies must be communicated clearly and directly with sellers.

However, both eBay and Amazon said they are taking tough action against “price gouging” – which happens when a seller dramatically inflates the price of goods – including preventing bad sellers from using accounts.

6am: Scottish courts to close to public as cases scaled back

Scottish courts will close to the public and significantly reduce the number of cases heard in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has announced further measures to limit the number of people attending court, with a “bare minimum” of cases being heard.

From Wednesday, members of the public will be unable to attend trials and hearings, while all cases before sheriffs will take place in ten courts across Scotland.

Courts have already ceased all jury trials and adjourned all-but-essential summary criminal trials and civil hearings involving witnesses.

The High Court will continue to sit in both Edinburgh and Glasgow for urgent cases and the Court of Session will still deal with essential civil business, such as child abduction petitions and interim interdicts.

Scottish Government: Deputy first minister John Swinney.

6am: Childcare places ‘must go to most critical key workers’

Childcare places for the children of key workers “must be kept to an absolute minimum”, the deputy first minister has said.

John Swinney said that parents and employers should only take up the childcare places being offered if they are the “most-critical key workers” who cannot work from home and have no other care options.

The childcare places are being provided by local authorities, third sector and private providers to the most vulnerable children in society and those whose parents are deemed critical to the coronavirus response, including frontline medics and emergency service staff.

6am: The fight against coronavirus continues

People are expected to remain at home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britons should only go out for exercise once a day under the draconian measures.

Gatherings of two of more people are banned, except for members of the same household. 

People should only go to the shops for essentials like food or medicine as infrequently as possible, and should not go out to see friends or family members who do not live at the same house.

More on:

SNP’s hopes of majority ‘hanging in the balance’ – STV poll

Handful of key 'marginal seats' likely to be the difference between a majority and falling short.

Mark Scates via SNS Group
How will the 129-seat Scottish Parliament shape up after the election?

The SNP’s hopes of winning a Holyrood majority are “hanging in the balance”, according to the final election poll by Ipsos MORI for STV News.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party need at least 65 seats to secure what they believe will be a mandate for a second independence referendum.

While a seat projection – to be treated with caution due to the nature of the electoral system – suggests the SNP could return 68 MSPs, the difference between a potential seven-seat majority and falling short of one is likely to come down to a handful of crucial tightly-contested seats.

And among likely voters, 12% and 14% told pollsters that they could still change their mind before they cast their constituency and regional votes respectively.

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Under our calculations based on the new poll, the Scottish Conservatives would remain the biggest opposition party on 27 seats, with Scottish Labour on 19, the Scottish Greens on 11 and the Scottish Liberal Democrats on four.

STV News

With just 2% of the regional vote, former first minister Alex Salmond’s new party Alba would probably fail to win a seat should the poll be replicated at the ballot boxes on Thursday.

Voting takes place across the country between 7am and 10pm, but unlike most elections which see declarations held through the night, the count won’t begin until Friday morning due to the pandemic.

Final results are not expected to be known until Saturday afternoon at the earliest, with some declarations possibly not coming until Sunday.

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The poll also saw an even split on Scottish independence, with 50% both for and against leaving the UK.

STV News

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “Whether there will be a SNP majority or not hangs in the balance.

“The election result may come down to how the parties perform in a small number of key marginal seats, as well as in the regional vote, which is likely to prove particularly important in determining which party is in second place.

“With a relatively high percentage of voters still saying they’ve not definitely decided, all the parties still have something to play for tomorrow.”

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1502 over 16s by telephone between April 30 and May 3.

Constituency vote

STV News

Regional list vote

STV News

Analysis: ‘Poll does nothing to recast narrative’

By Bernard Ponsonby, STV special correspondent

Today’s Ipsos MORI poll for STV News, although showing movement from the corresponding poll of a month ago, doesn’t do anything to recast a narrative about this election that was established well before it was called.

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In short, the SNP will win this election, according to our poll, and in all likelihood will win enough seats to win an outright majority. The Tories will hold on to second place, according to our findings, and the Scottish Greens are in for a record haul of seats with Alex Salmond’s Alba Party failing to win anything.

Read more here.


What to expect in a polling station during a pandemic

Covid safety measures mean Scotland's polling places will look a little different on Thursday.

STV News

Polling stations open at 7am on Thursday morning as voters choose the make-up of the next Scottish Parliament.

But they’ll look a little different than usual to ensure safety measures are in place preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Counting will also take longer than normal, with the usual overnight drama replaced by a slow and steady approach possibly lasting until Sunday.

We took an early look inside a polling station in Cupar, Fife, to make sure you know what to expect.


Almost 50 coronavirus cases linked to secondary school

Moray Council said 48 positive cases have been associated with Elgin Academy since April 14.

Moray Council via Website
Elgin Academy: Moray Council said 48 positive cases have been associated with the school since April 14.

Almost 50 coronavirus cases have been linked to a school in Moray, an area where residents have been warned not to let the region “get left behind” as the country continues out of lockdown.

Moray Council said 48 positive cases have been associated with Elgin Academy since April 14.

More than a quarter of the school’s population of around 1000 pupils have since been ordered by public health officials to self-isolate.

The council said the students have been able to access remote learning while in quarantine.

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NHS Grampian earlier said it was aware of 46 cases, with no evidence of spread within the school.

Headteacher Kyle Scott has now written to all families with children at the academy.

He said: “I want to thank so many of our amazing pupils for following the rules both in and out of school. 

“I also thank parents/carers for their support throughout; it has been so encouraging to read and receive words of support and I personally thank all those members of our school community for taking the time to do this. 

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“It’s by following the rules that we will suppress the virus, and as a school community it is so important that we continue to work together in following the guidance and adhering to these rules.

“If we continue to do these things and remain proactive in our response, I firmly believe that we will beat this virus.

“We are here for you as your school and we want to help in any way that we can.

“We will continue to work hard, liaise with public health as necessary and will do all we can to maintain the safety of our school and prevent any pupils from having to isolate and therefore miss time in school.”

Like other schools in Moray, the building is under an enhanced cleaning schedule, with daytime cleaners who continually clean touchpoints like door handles, toilets and communal areas.

The school is cleaned every night and sanitised ready for the next day, and staff continue to reinforce the importance of mitigations like face coverings and hand hygiene.

Moray Council’s head of education, Vivienne Cross, said: “These have been some of the toughest weeks of the pandemic for our school staff and families.

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“We’re reassured by public health that our strong Covid protection measures mean that transmission is not happening within our schools, and ask our residents to make the most of the expansion of testing for mild or extended symptoms, and community testing for those without symptoms, to help stop the spread and further disruption to our children and young people’s learning.”

Scotland is due to move into level two of the Scottish Government’s five-tier Covid alert system on May 17, however Moray now has one of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country.

As reported by STV News last week, the region recently accounted for close to 50% of NHS Grampian’s cases – despite being home to less than 17% of the health board’s population.

Although cases are scattered across the region, Elgin has seen the majority.

As a result, NHS Grampian has expanded its testing and is urging those with symptoms including sore throats, headaches and diarrhoea to book tests immediately, as well as encouraging people to take up asymptomatic testing. 

Ahead of the May Day weekend, Susan Webb, NHS Grampian’s director of public health, said: “We really are on a worrying trajectory in Moray and it is vital everyone ensures they are sticking to the rules to ensure the area isn’t left behind as the rest of the country unlocks. 

“Until now Moray has escaped the worst of the pandemic, but we could now see Moray get left behind as the country unlocks.”


Couple devastated after dog mauled to death outside home

Nurse Lorraine Doherty had taken her Lhsa Apso Jinky out for a walk when he was brutally attacked by another dog.

Lorraine Doherty via Submitted
The tiny nine-year-old pooch suffered awful wounds in the attack which Ms Doherty's partner described as terrifying.

A heartbroken nurse is traumatised after witnessing her pet dog being mauled to death outside her home in North Lanarkshire.

Lorraine Doherty had taken her Lhsa Apso Jinky out for his last walk of the day on Monday, April 26, when a much larger dog jumped on him from behind.

The tiny nine-year-old pooch suffered fatal wounds in the attack which Ms Doherty’s partner described as “terrifying”.

Ms Doherty, a nurse at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary, had stepped from her doorstep across a car park and on to Coatbridge Road in Glenmavis at around 10pm.

Lorraine Doherty via Submitted
Jinky, 9, was left lifeless following the attack in Glenmavis (Submitted)
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Co-owner Julie Wilkinson, also a nurse, told STV News: “They had literally just stepped on to the main street, Jinky was on a lead his happy wee self, and completely out of nowhere this big monster of a dog jumped on the top of him.

“He was torn apart in front of her, it’s just unthinkable.”

The attacking dog, believed by the couple to be a Rhodesian Ridgeback, was finally restrained by neighbours and passers-by, but Jinky was completely limp with his tongue hanging loosely from his mouth.

The pet was rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic. He had suffered massive damage to his spine, his bladder had been punctured and his spleen torn. His owner was only able to be with for minutes before she had to leave to allow the staff to try and save Jinky.

Lorraine Doherty via Submitted
Vets could not save Jinky after the attack (Submitted)
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The following morning the vets called the couple to inform them they could not save him.

Ms Doherty had had Jinky since he was born and the pooch had helped her through some tough times including illness. With both nurses working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic, coming home to him had proven a real comfort, Ms Doherty’s sister said.

Karen Barre said her sister had been in her bed, struggling to sleep and without any appetite since the incident. Although police were called to the scene immeadiately, they confirmed that they were taking no further action, having referred it to the dog warden.

North Lanarkshire Council said the matter had been investigated and action was being taken.

Ms Barre said: “The only comfort they’ve had over the last year is coming home to this wee dog, he was treated like a wee human.

“Everytime Lorraine closes her eyes, it’s the last vision of her wee dog she sees. You’re trying to prevent anything like this from happening, but I think it will happen again.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said : “We received a report of a dog attacking another dog at 10.20pm on Monday, April 26, 2021, in Coatbridge Road, Airdirie. Enquiries were carried out and the matter was passed to the dog warden.”

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A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “Our animal welfare officer has investigated this matter and appropriate action is being taken.”


Murder accused said baby son had suffered ‘choking episode’

Brian Penn was quizzed after Kaleb Penn was rushed to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, in November 2017.

Georgeclerk via IStock
Court: Brian Penn is standing trial over the murder of his son.

A father accused of murdering his baby son told doctors the child had suffered a “choking episode”.

Brian Penn was quizzed after Kaleb Penn was rushed to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, in November 2017.

Jurors heard how Kaleb, who was almost two months old at the time, had earlier been found to be unresponsive.

The evidence was heard as Penn went on trial on Wednesday at the High Court in Glasgow.

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The 30-year-old has been accused of murdering his son at a house in Ayr, South Ayrshire, on November 1, 2017.

Prosecutors claim Penn did “repeatedly inflict blunt force trauma” on the child by “means unknown”.

It is also alleged he did compress and shake Kaleb.

The boy is said to have died at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow two days later.

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Penn, of Mossblown, Ayrshire, faces a separate charge of earlier attempting to murder the baby at the same house between October 13 and 31, 2017.

He denies the accusations.

A nurse was the first witness in the trial.

The 64-year-old was working at Crosshouse when Kaleb arrived by ambulance.

The witness told how she had been tasked with looking after the baby’s parents.

Prosecutor Erin Campbell asked her: “While with them, were you present when they were spoken to by doctors?”

She replied: “Yes.”

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Ms Campbell then asked: “Were they asked to give an account as to what happened to Kaleb?”

The nurse said it was Penn who spoke, adding: “It was that he had been feeding the baby and there had been a choking episode. 

“He [Kaleb] had vomited, but that it was not vomit.”

The nurse said she heard the child’s dad give that account “quite a few times” to doctors.

Brian McConnachie QC, defending, later asked the witness: “Is it fair to say both parents were upset and tearful?”

She replied: “Yes.”

Mr McConnachie then asked: “From what you seen, there was nothing untoward in their reaction to the situation?”

The nurse responded: “No.”

A paediatric intensive care consultant at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow also gave evidence. 

The 47-year-old claimed he examined Kaleb, who had dilated pupils, and that the soft part of his head “felt full.”

Prosecutor Erin Campbell asked what this meant.

He said: “There may be bleeding or swelling to the brain occurring.”

A CT scan on the baby revealed a significant brain injury, a skull fracture and bleed to the brain.

Miss Caldwell asked: “What was the likely outcome?”

The doctor replied: “He would die and if he survived it would be with a serious brain injury.”

He claimed he asked the parents for a medical history and they “gave the same history from the 999 call for a second time.”

The medic was referred to a statement he gave to police.

In it, the doctor stated: “I asked if he had any bumps on his head as I was trying to establish the cause of the bleed to the skull.

“At that point Brian told me three weeks ago Kaleb had fell on a changing mat but seemed fine.

“He said there was a lump on his head but he didn’t say exactly if they had sought medical help.”

Miss Caldwell asked if that would explain the level of injury on the CT scan, but the doctor replied: “No.”

Mr McConnachie asked if the skull fracture was recent or something old.”

The doctor replied: “I can’t age a skull fracture.”

The trial, before judge Lord Weir, continues.


Emma Faulds: Police dog ‘gave positive indication in car search’

Prosecutors allege Ross Willox killed the 39-year-old youth worker at Fairfield Park in Monkton, Ayrshire, in 2019.

Police Scotland
Murder trial: Emma Faulds was found dead in June 2019.

A police dog trained in the scent of dead bodies gave a “positive indication” during the search of a car in the missing Emma Faulds investigation, a court has heard.

PC Neil Gunderson was giving evidence at the trial of Ross Willox, 41, who denies murdering the 39-year-old youth worker at his home in Fairfield Park, Monkton, Ayrshire, on April 28, 2019.

Jurors heard how a Jaguar car was examined by PC Gunderson and his dog Max on May 8, 2019.

PC Gunderson said Max specialised in “victim recovery” and had previously helped find a body near an area of water in South Queensferry.

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He recalled how they had been asked to check a number of vehicles weeks after Willox allegedly murdered Ms Faulds.

The trial was shown the footage of Max searching the Jaguar car. 

PC Gunderson – based at Fettes station in Edinburgh –  told prosecutor Paul Kearney it appeared Max had “heightened interest” in the vehicle.

The officer added: “He is very aware…that there is something there that he would like to get closer to.”

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Later in the footage, the dog appears to repeatedly bark at the boot area of the Jaguar.

PC Gunderson said to him it was “clear” Max was giving “an indication”.

Mr Kearney went on to ask: “Do you have any doubt of it being a positive indication from your dog in what he is trained to find?”

PC Gunderson: “I have no doubt whatsoever.”

Willox denies the accusations.

The trial, before judge Lord Mulholland, continues.


Pensioner injured after teen on bike snatches handbag

The 70-year-old fell to the ground after the boy stole her bag on Tuesday evening in Glasgow.

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Injured: Pensioner sustains minor injuries after bag stolen.

A pensioner has been injured after her handbag was snatched by a teenager on a bike in Glasgow.

The 70-year-old was walking along Battlefield Road in the city at around 9.45pm on Tuesday when she was passed by a teenage boy on a bike.  

The male, thought to be around 16 to 18-years-old, snatched her bag, causing her to fall to the ground.

Police Constable Jamie Whitton of CID in Glasgow said: “The victim sustained minor injuries as a result of this incident and is extremely upset. 

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“The suspect is described as being about 16 to 18 years old around 5ft 6ins in height, tanned skinned, with dark hair. He was wearing a light coloured baseball cap and a light coloured tracksuit left in the direction of Battlefield Road towards Prospecthill Road.

“We are reviewing CCTV and carrying out door to door enquiries but would like to speak to anyone who may have been in the area.  

“I would appeal to motorists and cyclists who may have dashcam or CCTV footage and captured the incident to please get in touch.

“Anyone who has information that will assist this investigation to contact us through 101 quoting reference number 3529 of Tuesday, May 4 2021.  

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“Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.”


Leaked report shows dozens of council venues at risk of closure

South Lanarkshire libraries, community halls and golf clubs appear on a list of possible closures.

© Google Maps 2020
South Lanarkshire Council officials have identified 29 'red venues' which they have suggested could be closed or transferred to the community to run.

Up to 50 South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) venues could close following a review of the leisure trust.

A leaked draft report has revealed the facilities that could face the axe if the cross-party working group on leisure and culture agrees to take them forward.

South Lanarkshire Council officials have identified 29 ‘red venues’ which they have suggested could be closed or transferred to the community to run.

These include libraries in Bothwell, Burnbank, Halfway, Hillhouse and Lesmahagow and golf courses at Biggar, Langlands and Strathclyde Park.

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A number of community halls, including five in Clydesdale, are on the red list while leisure centres in Lesmahagow, East Kilbride, Uddingston and Harelesshill could also be at risk.

Abington, Carstairs, Tarbrax, Red Deer and Murray bowling Clubs have also been included on the red list.

A further 21 ‘amber venues’ have also been identified. It is not currently suggested that these would be at risk of closing but that may change depending on the results of the leisure and culture review and the sustainability of the facilities.

These include nine community halls in Clydesdale, three in East Kilbride and Avondale, five in the Hamilton area and two in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.

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Coalburn Leisure Centre, the Jock Stein Centre and Stonelaw Dual Use are also on the amber list.

No formal recommendations have been made yet and the cross-party working group on leisure and culture are currently reviewing service provision and what venues will be needed going forward.

Michael McGlynn, executive director for community and enterprise resources, said: “It is untrue to suggest that the venues in the list have been recommended for closure or transfer.

“The cross-party working group (CPWG) was set up to look at how future provision of leisure and culture services in South Lanarkshire might best meet the needs of local communities.

“As part of this, the focus has been on what leisure and cultural outcomes the council request of SLLC. This has also been the subject of extensive consultation with the public and users groups. The use of all local facilities, how much subsidy is required per user and the availability of alternative provision for local residents to use have all been considered to assist this work. However it would be premature to make any recommendations on the use of any facility before the group completes its work.

“It will be for the CPWG to consider how it wishes to proceed with this information, and if any venues might be better utilised in other ways. Any recommendations that emerge from the CPWG would then be presented to the executive committee/council and the SLLC board for consideration.”

SLLC venues on the red and amber lists

Venues marked with an asterix are on the amber list and would be retained subject to “outcomes from other service reviews and future considerations [regarding] ongoing sustainability and shared outcome delivery”.

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Clydesdale

  • Abington Bowling Club
  • Abington Hall
  • Auchenheath Hall
  • Biggar Golf Course
  • Braehead Hall*
  • Brocketsbrae Hall*
  • Carmichael Hall*
  • Carstairs Bowling Club
  • Carstairs Junction Hall*
  • Coalburn Leisure Centre*
  • Coulter Hall*
  • Dolphinton Hall
  • Elsrickle Hall
  • Lesmahagow Library
  • Nemphlar Hall*
  • Pettinain Hall*
  • Roberton Hall*
  • Symington Hall*
  • Tarbrax Bowling Club
  • Thankerton Hall

East Kilbride and Avondale

  • Ballerup Hall*
  • Chapelton Hall*
  • Duncanrig Dual Use
  • Glassford Hall
  • Kirktonholme Hall*
  • Langlands Golf Course
  • Murray Bowling Club
  • Red Deer Bowling Club
  • Stewartfield Community Centre
  • Westwood Hall

Hamilton area

  • Bothwell Community Centre*
  • Bothwell Library
  • Burnbank Library
  • David Milne Centre*
  • Eddlewood Public Hall*
  • Ferniegair Hall*
  • Hareleeshill Sports Barn
  • High Blantyre Hall
  • Hillhouse Library
  • Jock Stein Centre
  • Larkfield Neighbourhood Hall*
  • Low Waters Hall
  • Springwells Hall
  • Strathclyde Park Golf Course
  • Uddingston Dual Use

Rutherglen and Cambuslang

  • Halfway Library
  • Spittal Community Centre*
  • Stonelaw Dual Use*
  • Toll Pitch Community Centre*
  • Westburn Community Hall

Story by local democracy reporter Stephen Bark

Man accused of actor’s murder acquitted of 13 other charges

Bradley Welsh was fatally shot at his flat in the west end of Edinburgh in 2019.

Ross Parker via SNS Group
Murdered: Bradley Welsh was fatally shot in 2019.

A man accused of murdering a Trainspotting T2 actor has been acquitted of 13 other charges.

Bradley Welsh, 48, was fatally shot at his flat in the west end of Edinburgh on April 17, 2019.

Sean Orman, 30, pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges against him, including murder, attempted murder, firearms and drugs offences, and is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The Crown removed 13 of the charges from the indictment on Wednesday, including assault, drug and driving offences.

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Judge Lord Beckett told him he had been acquitted of these allegations.

Orman remains charged with murdering Mr Welsh and the assault and attempted murder of David McMillan in March 2019.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Orman claimed to have never heard of Mr McMillan until the trial got under way.

The 30-year-old denied being at a property in Pitcairn Grove, Edinburgh, on March 13, 2019 when the attempted murder was said to have taken place. He said he could not recall where he was.

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Orman said: “I can’t remember, I have no reason to remember.”

He claimed to have got involved with being paid to move stolen cars by a man he had met in prison, known as Omar, after his release in February 2019.

Orman had received a five-year jail term for assault and robbery at a bookmakers, the court has heard.

The trial before judge Lord Beckett continues.


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