Pandemic ‘turning Scots away from public transport’

We take a trip on the roads and rails for a closer look at Scotland's transport network.

SNS via SNS Group

The pandemic is turning Scots off using public transport, a new survey for STV News suggests.

Travel networks are slowly getting back to normal as lockdown lifts, but for many the daily commute may have changed forever.

Nearly four in ten people said Covid-19 and social distancing had left them less likely to use trains and buses.

SNS via SNS Group
Social-distancing measures are in place on ScotRail trains.

The ScotPulse survey of 1889 adults for current affairs show Scotland Tonight – on STV at 7.30pm on Thursday – found:

  • 51% used public transport every month pre-pandemic, but this has fallen to 29%;
  • Before lockdown, 12% never used public transport – now tripled to 38%;
  • Covid-19 and social distancing was blamed by 38% of those wary of using buses and trains.
ADVERT

Others told pollsters that lack of reliability and affordable services also meant they were unlikely to return to public transport.

Our findings came as no surprise to passenger-led watchdog Transport Focus.

Senior stakeholder manager Robert Samson said: “Concerns about social distancing and other Covid-related factors are making some people feel unsafe about using public transport.

“But there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into account, including that many people as a consequence of the pandemic have no need to travel, working from home and normal commuting patterns have been broken.”

Calls for cheaper fares

ADVERT

The findings come as a report commissioned by the Scottish Government sparked calls for cheaper fares from anti-poverty campaigners.

Poverty Alliance said public transport was essential for people on low incomes to access employment, education and childcare.

Our survey found that 45% of former passengers could be tempted back to public transport if fares were lowered – rising to seven in ten under 35s.

Free bus travel is to be made available to all under 22s in Scotland, but the campaigners urged the government to go further.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance said: “Action is needed now to address both the affordability and availability of public transport.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Buchanan Street bus station was eerily quiet at the start of the pandemic.

“There are a range of policy solutions that should be implemented, including – as participants in the research told us – widening access to free public transport for people on low incomes, as well as taking steps to better connect communities, particularly rural communities.   

“This action would also play an important role in our response to the climate emergency, and in supporting communities in a ‘just transition’ to ensure everyone can participate in and benefit from a more just and greener Scotland.”

What is the government saying?

ADVERT

Transport Scotland said operators had implemented various measures to manage Covid-19 risks, such as ventilation systems, cleaning and sanitising points.

It also said it understood “the challenges presented by current low levels of confidence in using public transport”.

A spokesperson added: “The first annual National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan, published in December 2020, includes an action to encourage people back on to public transport post-Covid-19, once it is safe and appropriate to do so.

“We also want to build on the momentum of the increased popularity of walking and cycling at certain points during the pandemic.

“As restrictions ease, demand for public transport will increase – however, we will still need to manage capacity to ensure physical distancing is maintained as much as possible.

“We are encouraging all those travelling, for whatever the purpose, to plan ahead, avoid busy times where possible and make use of real time planning information.”

Services are stepping up

Public transport providers are stepping up services as Scotland moves out of lockdown restrictions.

Train operator ScotRail’s passenger numbers plummeted by 90% after ‘work from home’ came into force in March last year.

But it’s recently added more than 400 extra services to its daily timetables, running almost 2000 trains per day across Scotland.

Bus giant Citylink’s timetable is also getting closer to its pre-pandemic state, with almost a full network available from this week, including summer services. It said services were generally around half-full.

Graham Wilson via Caledonian MacBrayne
CalMac is ferrying thousands of passengers every week.

Meanwhile, ferry operator CalMac has just ramped up its summer timetable, with thousands of passengers passing through terminals every week. 

Since the end of April, an average of 213 sailings and 11,000 passengers have departed and arrived at Oban – otherwise known as the “gateway to the isles” – every week.

On the road (and rail) again

We couldn’t do a story on public transport without taking a journey ourselves. 

So we opted to travel from Edinburgh to Oban by train, first taking a traditional commuter route between Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street, followed by the scenic West Highland Line. 

Buying a single on the day, I was taken aback by the £47 fare – that seemed steep. 

The first leg was smooth and on time, but few people were on the train – only about ten on the carriage. 

Among passengers, there was a huge mix of opinions, from someone pleased with ScotRail’s performance and discounts for over 50s (a return from Edinburgh to Mallaig cost him just £17) to a younger commuter who described her £26 Edinburgh-Glasgow ticket as “extortionate”.

Of course, there were no treats as catering is still suspended and a strict mask and social-distancing policy is in place. 

The West Highland Line route was certainly busier, with a mix of locals and visitors heading to various destinations. 

The line has featured in Hollywood films over the years  – including Harry Potter and Trainspotting, and, rumour has it, part of the new Star Wars series is being filmed nearby. 

I can see what all the fuss is about – it is a stunning journey, one which attracts everyone from day trippers to Munro baggers, railway enthusiasts, tourists and, of course, locals and commuters.

In chatting to passengers, time and time again we heard pleas for more affordable ticketing, but most were in agreement that travelling by train was more relaxing than driving. 

We got to Oban bang on time – and what a day for it; the sun was shining and many people were making the most of easing restrictions. 

STV News
We reached Oban bang on time.

And the ferry terminals were a hive of activity, with islanders and tourists keen to get out to the isles. 

Passengers we spoke to were pretty happy with the ferry service, talking about value for money and reliability. 

To finish off the trip and to get a more rounded picture of public transport in Scotland, we headed back to Glasgow by Citylink bus. 

Just as we boarded, we bumped into a couple we had spoken to on the train to Oban. 

Turned out their return trip to Bridge of Orchy had been cancelled – the next Oban-Glasgow train wasn’t until the following morning – so they had to get the bus back to Tyndrum. 

The bus had around 15 or so passengers, including a number of over 60s who were making the most of their 50p bus pass fare. 

As our survey suggests, it seems there’s work to be done to make public transport more affordable, attractive, and accessible to Scots. 

STV News
Great views of Rest and Be Thankful.

On our trip and in our survey, passengers told us they believed buses, trains and other transport is more expensive than driving. 

That was certainly my experience – I spent a total of £68.80; £47 on the one-way Edinburgh to Oban train ticket, and £21.80 for the single from Oban to Glasgow on the Citylink bus.  

Going by the cost of diesel and the fuel economy of my car, my sums suggest I’d have spent £23 on the same journey had I driven. 

But cost aside, it was a pretty enjoyable experience, with scenic views and no stress about driving or traffic. 

When it all goes according to plan, public transport may be a more relaxing way to travel – but next time, I’ll definitely be booking in advance. 

What else did the survey find?

  • Just over a third (36%) said better reliability would help lure them back to public transport;
  • 30% said availability and timings were a problem, particularly for those in the north of Scotland;
  • People outside the central belt were much less likely to recommend public transport to a friend, instead relying on cars;
  • Almost half (46%) won’t consider public transport for their next staycation, but almost a third (28%) were likely to consider it; 
  • Overall, 42% of Scots agreed public transport was more expensive than driving. 

Around 8000 second vaccine appointments issued too early

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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


Sturgeon and Burnham in war of words over Covid travel ban

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

STV News

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Westminster Watch: The Burnham Barny

By STV News’ Westminster Correspondent Kathryn Samson

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

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

Boris Johnson is refusing to pick sides. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fife Amazon centre ‘destroying’ millions of unsold items

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

PA Ready via PA Media

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scotland midfielder Gilmour tests positive for coronavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

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

STV News

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom and Luke Stoltman who are the worlds strongest brothers
ADVERT

He said: “I love my dad, my family, it’s father’s day today. Sinead this is for you, this is for my mum it’s for everyone back home. I made a dream a reality, I’m just speechless.”

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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


Killer jailed for life after rape and murder of mum

David Hose preyed on Kirsty Robertson in Ayr during 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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

He had been due to stay the night there.

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

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

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

ADVERT

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

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

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


You're up to date

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