Killer driver’s five-year sentence ‘outrageous and unjust’

Shaun Gatti had been drinking at a nightclub before he knocked down 15-year-old Robyn Fryar.

STV News

By Jenness Mitchell & Louise Scott

The family of a schoolgirl who was mowed down and left dying on the road has branded the killer driver’s five-year jail sentence as ‘outrageous and unjust’.

Shaun Gatti, 21, had been drinking at a nightclub in Paisley before he knocked down 15-year-old Robyn Fryar in the Renfrewshire town on July 7, 2019.

The teenager, who was struck as she crossed a road with friends around 2am, died hours later from her injuries.

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Gatti fled the scene with a friend in his Volkswagen Golf and attempted to cover up his involvement by cleaning his car, hiding it under tarpaulin and removing its registration plates.

However, he was soon snared after an anonymous tip-off to police.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, Gatti was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

Robyn’s parents, Iain Fryar and Cheryl Madden, told STV News they did not feel justice had been served.

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Ms Madden said: “That’s outrageous, absolutely outrageous.

“I’m going to appeal against that sentence because I don’t think that was just.”

Mr Fryar said he did not expect the sentence to be “so short”.

He added: “A judge decides to give him a few years in prison. If that’s justice, I don’t know what justice is.

“It’s like Robyn was insignificant and meant nothing.

“He can now go on and know he’s going to be out. We have got to live in this hell for the rest of our lives.

“We can only visit our daughter at the cemetery. I know he’s incarcerated, but he’s still got a life to look forward to. My daughter never got a life to look forward to.”

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Gatti was also banned from the roads for 11 years and seven months after admitting causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Club: Shaun Gatti was drinking before the fatal incident.

Gatti, who had been captured on CCTV drinking a cocktail out of a fish bowl at Paisley’s Vienna nightclub before the fatal incident, was traced too late by police to have a drink-driving sample taken.

However, police estimated he was driving at up to 47mph in a 30mph zone at the time of the incident. He was also on the wrong side of the road.

Ms Madden said: “She would never have survived what happened to her. Her injuries were so severe.”

Lord Mulholland told Gatti during his sentencing he had “delivered the most acute grief” and a “life sentence” to Robyn’s family.

Mr Fryar said his “heart left” him when he was told the police were coming to pick him up following the incident.

He said: “You always think that these things happen to other people. You don’t ever expect you to get that phone call.”

Robyn, who was supposed to be staying at a friend’s house that night, was described as “intelligent and brilliant at school”.

Mr Fryar added: “She was everybody’s friend, and she loved life.

“From being an IVF baby she was very special, and she knew it.

“She loved everything to do with life.”

Responding to Mr Fryar and Ms Madden’s call to appeal Gatti’s sentence, a spokesperson from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “As with all cases, the Crown will consider the sentence and give consideration to whether it might be unduly lenient.”


FM set to announce plans to lift all Covid restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to reveal what life beyond level zero will look like in Scotland.

Fraser Bremner via Getty Images
Restrictions: Nicola Sturgeon set to announce what life beyond level zero will look like.

The First Minister is expected to reveal what life beyond level zero will look like in Scotland, ahead of the planned lifting of all restrictions on August 9.

Nicola Sturgeon will address Parliament on Tuesday afternoon to set out the Scottish Government’s plans for the coming weeks and months.

It is expected that all restrictions will be lifted next week, however it remains unclear if venues such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen under the new rules. 

The need for physical distancing both indoors and outdoors may be removed, however face coverings are likely to remain mandatory in some settings, such as in shops and on public transport. 

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The news comes as double vaccinated travellers from the US and EU were able to travel to Scotland without the need to quarantine from Monday. 

Subject to countries remaining on the amber travel list, travellers will no longer have to self-isolate for ten days upon arrival in Scotland.

However people who have been in France in the ten days prior to their arrival will still have to self-isolate due to concerns over the Beta variant.

On July 19, the whole of Scotland moved to level zero coronavirus restrictions, which saw up to eight people from four households able to enter homes and stay overnight and up to ten people from four households able to meet in an indoor public place such as a bar or restaurant.

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Fifteen people from 15 households are currently able to meet outside in a public place and up to 200 people are allowed to attend weddings and funerals.

‘We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.’

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader

Ahead of the First Minister’s announcement, political leaders in Scotland called for changes to self-isolation rules including clarity on issues affecting students returning to university and school and support for the NHS. 

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.

“We need to ensure that people are kept safe and that businesses are helped to restart the economy.

“Perhaps most importantly, we urgently need a plan for our NHS and care systems to ensure that workers feel supported, services are invested in and the backlog of appointments is cleared.

“Nowhere is that more urgent than in our cancer diagnostic services.

“The last few weeks have underlined the need for an overhaul of the struggling Test and Protect system. A functioning and effective test and trace system is vital for public safety.

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“And for those who have been fully vaccinated, we must see changes on the requirement to self-isolate while still keeping communities safe

“We also need to see far greater support for Scotland’s struggling businesses, particularly as many will be having to deal with continued restrictions for some time to come.

“We have to learn to live with the virus, but to do so in such a way that the people of Scotland, our NHS and our economy are supported and protected.”

‘Businesses can’t afford any more last-minute, snap decisions that hit their cash flow and potentially results in job losses.’

Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has called for the removal of the “blanket requirement to self isolate for ten days” for those who have been double vaccinated. 

He said: “We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.

“We especially want to see changes to self-isolation rules for school pupils. We also believe there is a strong case for dropping the requirement for face masks in schools. Learning has already been disrupted enough and a return to normality for children must be a top priority.

“There should be no rowing back on the planned easing of restrictions. Businesses can’t afford any more last-minute, snap decisions that hit their cash flow and potentially results in job losses. They need certainty and a more optimistic outlook, in light of the encouraging public health data.

“Social distancing rules that prevent many businesses from trading as normal should be removed. The economy must be reopened safely but we must also put a premium on protecting jobs and family finances. The SNP cannot hold businesses back from reopening.

“Scotland’s economic recovery hinges on the SNP Government moving beyond Covid restrictions. We must seize this opportunity to start rebuilding from the damage of Covid now and not delay any longer.”

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Gillian Mackay added that the Scottish Government should clarify what measures it will put in place to protect students, staff and local communities when the new university term begins.

She said: “The Scottish Government must ensure that there is no repeat of last year’s shambolic return to campus, when thousands of students were forced to self-isolate in student halls as the virus ran riot.

“With just a few weeks to go until the new term begins, international students deserve clarity about the process of entering the country and settling in on campus. Yet, ministers are unable to tell them how and where they’ll be required to isolate.

“Students must also have easy access to testing and vaccination on campus, and while many younger students won’t be fully vaccinated, it’s essential that guidance around mask wearing and distancing is clear. Support must also be made available for anyone who tests positive.

“It’s vital that the First Minister addresses these issues when she makes her statement to parliament on Tuesday, ensuring that students can be as prepared as possible for their arrival on campus.”

Scottish Government urged to speak out against new oilfield

The proposed site off the coast of Shetland could produce 132 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, Oxfam Scotland said.

morkeman via IStock
Oilfield: Oxfam Scotland calling on Scottish government to speak out against controversial plans.

The Scottish Government is being urged to speak out against controversial plans to develop a new oilfield off the coast of Shetland.

If given the go-ahead, the proposed Cambo development could yield as many as 255 million barrels of oil over its lifetime, environmental campaigners at Oxfam Scotland said.

And they estimated that the 132 million tonnes of CO2 emissions that could be produced would require an area of land some 1.5 times the size of Scotland to counteract them.

Jamie Livingstone, the head of Oxfam Scotland, said in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit in November, the UK Government must “intervene in the Cambo case and stop its climate credibility going up in smoke”.

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With the global summit taking place in Glasgow, he also insisted that the Scottish Government had a “duty” to press UK ministers to reject the Cambo plans.

He spoke out on the issue as Oxfam published a new report which estimated that for all current net zero plans to be achieved, an area equivalent to all the farmland on earth would need to be converted to forest, putting food production at risk.

The report stated: “Oxfam has calculated that the total amount of land required for planned carbon removal could potentially be five times the size of India, or the equivalent of all the farmland on the planet.”

It stated that net-zero targets “instead of focusing primarily on the hard work of cutting carbon emissions, for example by rapidly ending the use of coal, oil and gas for electricity and oil for cars, rely instead on using other methods to remove carbon from the atmosphere”.

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The Tightening the Net report added: “The problem is this removal of carbon either relies on virtually unproven new technologies, or on a level of land use that is completely impossible and would lead to mass hunger and displacement of people across the world.”

Mr Livingstone said: “All of our lives and futures depend on the world’s biggest polluters quickly, drastically and genuinely slashing their emissions, phasing out fossil fuels and investing in clean energy and supply chains.

“Instead, what we’re seeing is too many net-zero strategies being used as smokescreens to mask dirty behaviour: promising unrealistic carbon removal schemes in order to justify the continued plundering of our planet.”

He added: “The proposed new Cambo oilfield is a clear climate contradiction. If the UK Government is to be a credible broker for a deal that can stop the planet overheating when it hosts the COP26 climate talks in November, it must intervene in the Cambo case and stop its climate credibility going up in smoke.

“The Scottish Government has a duty to demand it does just that.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are wholly committed to becoming a net-zero economy by 2045 and, whilst this is ultimately a reserved area, any Scottish Government support for oil and gas businesses operating in the North Sea is conditional upon them contributing to a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, and ensuring a secure energy supply.

“The oil and gas sector can play a positive role in Scotland’s energy transition, helping to design the diverse energy system we need for the future.

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“The knowledge and experience of the oil and gas sector and its supply chain will also be important for developing and investing in essential low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage – a technology that is seen by experts such as the UK Climate Change Committee and International Energy Agency as being vital to achieving Scottish, UK and international climate emissions targets.

“In 2020 we launched our £62m Energy Transition Fund to support the oil, gas and energy sectors grow and diversify, accelerating its transition to net-zero emissions.

“Fair Work principles are being applied across projects funded by the Energy Transition Fund, supporting the creation of green jobs and training individuals with the skills they need to ensure a just transition to net zero with people’s wellbeing at its heart.”

Rock Lomond: When Oasis took Balloch Park by storm

It's 25 years since Oasis played two barnstorming concerts for 80,000 Scots fans.

STV News

Oasis played the first of two barnstorming concerts near Loch Lomond on this day 25 years ago.

Tens of thousands of people squeezed into Balloch Country Park on consecutive nights in what remain among the most memorable outdoor gigs ever held on Scottish soil.

For brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, it was a triumphant return to the country where they were discovered three years earlier, in 1993.

By August 3, 1996, they had released their hugely successful albums Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and the STV News cameras were in Balloch that day to capture the electric atmosphere.

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Fans were in party mood from first light as they packed trains from Glasgow, desperate to see the band who were dominating the airwaves.

“They’re just unique, honestly,” one reveller said. “There are very few bands now that you can actually enjoy, but this is superb.”

We even caught up with TV personality Chris Evans, who insisted it was impossible to choose a favourite Gallagher brother.

“They’re chalk and cheese – and I like chalk and I like cheese,” Evans told our reporter.

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Local residents had been concerned about the onslaught of Oasis fans to their town, but in the end they seemed to enjoy themselves.

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“They were all very orderly walking down that road, we watched them and there were no problems,” one neighbour said.

We were there!

As told to Laura Boyd, STV News entertainment reporter

Donald Macleod, the promoter behind the sell-out shows.

“It was probably the biggest, most significant gig Scotland’s ever put on. It was fantastic. There was a lot more than 80,000 there – they were pulling down fencing…

“It was an experience like no other. It was really hyper, it was really mad. It was supersonic, as they would say.

“The band took it in their stride, they always did. They had that swagger.

Donald Macleod via Contributed
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“Just before the band came on, there was a tirade of things getting thrown at the stage and we’re looking up the hill and all these police horses start coming down towards us. They charged down. We were like ‘what are they doing?’, then it got quiet. Next moment, they were charging back up the hill with all the bams chasing after them.

“Getting the teams in place, the security, ten miles of fencing, enough power to power the city of Dundee, thousands of barrels of beer getting sold, the crowd loving it – Wonderwall – what a band. I’ve put on Prince and the likes, but this was something special.”

Alan McGee, the Oasis manager who discovered the band at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.

“The Celtic team were there on the Saturday and the next night was all the Rangers team, and the gig was great, you know what I mean?

“We’ve got a great iconic photograph from that time – when the brothers kissed each other on the lips, we got one of the great Oasis photographs from that time.

“They only talk about it in Scotland, if I’m being honest, cause in England they all talk about Knebworth, but Loch Lomond was a better gig from what I remember.

Oasis fan George Boothe, from Houston, Texas, was at the gig during his honeymoon.

“We got married in Aberdeen and decided to have our honeymoon in Scotland and ended up in Cameron House with tickets to see Oasis at Loch Lomond.

Donald Macleod via Contributed

“Oasis were THE band at the time. At our wedding, we had a ceilidh and a disco, and one of my greatest memories was all our friends singing in a big circle to Don’t Look Back in Anger.

“So we have very special memories of my honeymoon, but also of going to that concert.”

What was on the set list?

We’ve made all 20 tracks available as a Spotify playlist, which can be streamed here:


Campaigners call for three-mile fishing limit for trawlers

Members of the Our Seas coalition insisted the move would benefit both the environment and coastal communities.

Monty Rakusen via Getty Images
Fishing: Calls to ban trawlers from fishing within three miles of Scottish coasts.

An alliance of more than 100 organisations is demanding that trawlers be banned from fishing within three miles of Scotland’s coasts.

Members of the Our Seas coalition insisted that a “modernised” three-mile limit is “not a radical measure” and would benefit both the environment and coastal communities.

With talks taking place between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens over a formal co-operation agreement, the group is pressing both parties to consider the issue.

While there had previously been a ban on trawling the seabed within three miles of the coast, this was repealed by the UK Government in 1984 – with Ailsa McLellan, Our Seas coalition co-ordinator, claiming this “led to what academics called ‘ecological meltdown’”.

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She said: “There are many marine policy areas where we want to see change, given this country’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to our marine ecology and economy.

“But a return to a modernised three-mile limit is the single measure which we collectively believe would bring the greatest benefits for our waters, our environment, and for this country’s coastal communities.”

Ms McLellan added: “This is not a radical measure – bottom-trawling was previously banned in our inshore waters – and it will make our seas and fisheries more resilient in the future.”

The Our Seas coalition is made up of a range of organisations, including inshore fishing associations, community groups, sea anglers, tourism businesses, and environmental organisations.

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Research for the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF) – one of the members of the coalition – found that for every thousand tonnes of langoustine caught by creeling rather than trawling, the Scottish economy would see more than £6.7m in additional benefits, with more than £400,000 additional profit for the sector.

Alistair Sinclair, national co-ordinator of the SCFF, said: “Our members fish in a way which is genuinely sustainable for the long term, but the value of our fisheries are hampered by the activities of a poorly regulated minority.”

He argued: “A return of an inshore limit is really a compromise, and both parties should be persuaded to see it as such. It would bring back a little balance to the way this country manages its seas.

“It’s not an end to dredging and bottom-trawling, but would ensure they only operate in waters where those methods do much less damage.”

Meanwhile Annabel Lawrence, from the Community Association of Lochs and Sounds, told how hand divers, sea anglers, marine tourism businesses and community activists all wanted to see change.

She said: “Being forced to live with the status quo, watching a small number of boats damage the seabed, is painful and frustrating.

“Politicians – both SNP and Green – need to make meaningful decisions now to end this destruction of our seabed. We need change, and that means protecting our most sensitive seas from the most damaging practices.”

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have made clear that sustainability is at the heart of how we will manage Scotland’s fisheries.

“In addition to our network of Marine Protected Areas, there are fishing controls and a policy of restrictive licensing in place to limit the number of Scottish scallop vessels, the number of days they fish, and technical measures … and minimum landing size of king scallops.

“It should be noted there are fewer nephrops, which includes scallops, being landed than a decade ago and there are fewer nephrop trawlers and more creel fishing vessels.

“Positive discussions between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens on a potential co-operation agreement are ongoing and a further report will be provided to parliament after the recess.”

Nurse reunites with family from US as quarantine rules change

Elaine Burt shared an embrace with her sister and her nephews as they arrived at Glasgow Airport.

Andrew Milligan via PA Ready

A nurse who embraced her family at an airport after 20 months apart has hailed the “best present ever” after rule changes mean they will not have to quarantine for ten days.

Elaine Burt, 55, a senior nurse with the NHS, shared an emotional embrace with her sister Michelle Bolger, 50, and her nephews Kaie, 17, and Taran, 12, who were all double vaccinated in the US, as they arrived at Glasgow Airport on Monday morning from Boston via Amsterdam.

Mrs Bolger said: “It’s been so long … it’s been really hard, but we’re here, we made it”, as she arrived in the country to visit her mother Jean, who has been unwell.

She said: “We booked the flight just a week past Monday. It’s been a rollercoaster trying to get here.

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“We still have to test on day two but it’s great, absolutely amazing, I didn’t think I would see this day.

“We’ve done everything by the book just to get here and we’re just excited.”

Ms Burt, from Newton Mearns, said after the reunion: “It was an absolute relief, it just felt as if it was never going to happen and it’s just the best present ever.

“We never thought it was going to happen with all of the different restrictions, but we left it to the last minute to see what was possible.”

‘It was an absolute relief, it just felt as if it was never going to happen and it’s just the best present ever.’

Elaine Burt
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They were among the first to enjoy a relaxation of rules that changed as of 4am on Monday, allowing people who have had both jabs in the US and EU to travel to Scotland without isolating for 10 days.

The Scottish Government made the decision public last week just hours after UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the relaxation of measures for England.

Subject to countries remaining on the amber travel list, travellers will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in Scotland.

The change does not apply to people who have been in France in the 10 days prior to their arrival, due to concerns over the Beta variant of coronavirus.

Travellers need to show a negative test before departure and produce a negative PCR test result on day two after arrival.

Glasgow University veterinary medicine student Ben Hamilton, 19, from Texas, said it was a “relief” to not have to isolate after he landed back in Scotland, saying: “It’s the first time I’ve got back and not had to quarantine.

“It’s a relief not to have to sit inside myself for 10 days.”

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Colin Morton, 56, was another person enjoying isolation-free travel at the airport on Monday morning.

The engineer, who moved to Italy in his mid-20s and had both his vaccinations in Italy, said he had returned to Scotland to visit his mother, who has been unwell.

He said: “My mother and father live here and they are both elderly and my mother has been unwell, so I’m looking forward to being able to see her.

“There would have been no point coming if I had to quarantine.”

The requirement to take a further PCR test on day eight is being dropped, authorities said.

Those arriving will be required to show either the EU Digital Covid Certificate or the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s white card – known as a CDC card – to prove they are fully vaccinated.

Announcing the changes last week, Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the change is down to the “overwhelming success” of the vaccination scheme in Scotland, as well as “successful rollouts” of vaccine programmes in the EU and US.

He said: “Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to Scotland under this significant relaxation of international travel measures, providing a boost for the tourism sector and wider economy while ensuring public health is protected.”

He urged people to “continue to think very carefully about travelling – especially given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern”.

The relaxation of the rules extends to the four European Free Trade Association members – Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – and the microstates of Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City.


Dad vows to help five-year-old walk after death of mum

Arabella Green is unable to use her limbs and relies on a wheelchair after she was born with a rare condition.

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A dad is doing everything in his power to help his five-year-old daughter walk after the loss of her mother.

Arabella Green was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) – a rare condition which causes joints to stiffen and become fixed into bent or straight positions, restricting movement.

She suffers from Arthrogryposis in both her arms and legs, and although she has already had numerous painful operations, she is unable to walk and relies on a wheelchair.

Her dad William told STV News that soon after Arabella was born, she was “surrounded by about 20 doctors” from the special baby care unit.

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He said: “At first they couldn’t determine what was wrong with her, they just said deformed limbs.

“But she can feel everything, her mind is perfect. She doesn’t like being in the wheelchair, she doesn’t like people looking at her when she’s in the wheelchair. She wants to walk.”   

‘She doesn’t like being in the wheelchair, she doesn’t like people looking at her when she’s in the wheelchair. She wants to walk.’

William Green

Arabella’s world was further turned upside down in March 2021 when her mum Catherine took her own life. She now lives with dad William, who has vowed to do everything he can to continue Catherine’s fight and help Arabella walk.

Last year, Catherine made contact with an Arthrogryposis specialist surgeon based in the United States – Dr David Feldman.

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She travelled with Arabella to his European clinic in Poland for a consultation, where she was told with the help of surgery and rehab, Arabella could gain some movement in her legs.

But unfortunately, when she returned to Scotland to meet with NHS Lothian doctors, they said there was nothing that could be done and the surgery wasn’t suitable for Arabella.

William said: “They said ‘you need to be realistic and think about how you can improve Arabella’s life in a wheelchair’.”

He added: “On hearing that, as any mother, it dashed Cat’s hopes so much.

“Two months later, she took her own life on March 16.

“She wasn’t getting noticed. She was begging doctors to straighten her leg out.”

Catherine’s death has rocked the whole family, especially Arabella, says William, who has now given up his job as an electrician to look after his daughter full time.

‘She’s devastated, she was her best pal, it’s devastated the whole family, now we know how much Cat held everyone together.’

William Green
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“She’s devastated, she was her best pal, it’s devastated the whole family, now we know how much Cat held everyone together. Her mum is an angel, she had a heart of gold.

“She thinks her mum is with her and going to help her walk. We were at the cinema last night and she saved a seat thinking her mum is there.”

Determined to press on with the costly surgery in Poland, William has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise the cash for the trip.

“It’s not going to be cheap, and I won’t give up. Obviously the longer it takes the more Arabella’s muscles are contracting backwards. So she needs it done now.

“I’m her dad and I’m a fighter, my daughter is a fighter, and I believe in Dr Feldman.”

Dr Feldman told STV News: “We have proven that we can straighten knees, not lose function, have children walking at home outside the house.

“So I would invite any surgeon anywhere to come and watch us do it, we do it three times a week.

“We have many children with this condition and I have done this surgery about 150 times now.

“We have shown the results and the results are real. It’s easier to give people a wheelchair and not operate.

“On an individual care, I would not give up.

“You can’t tell someone to accept it. That’s not fair when they have so much potential. I can show case after case of this.”

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director, NHS Lothian said: “In Scotland, multi-disciplinary assessments from a range of clinical professionals help determine when surgery might be indicated and what the benefits to patients might be.

“This process enables decisions to be made which are centred on the patient’s needs.

“Arabella’s condition remains under review and she continues to receive ongoing care from a range of professionals.

“We understand this is a very difficult time for the family and extend our sympathies to them.

“We would encourage the family to get in touch with us directly if they have any questions or concerns.”


Rapper Dizzee Rascal due in court over assault charge

The alleged incident took place at a residential address in London on June 8, the Metropolitan Police said.

Gareth Cattermole / Staff via Getty Images
Assault: Dizzie Rascal due in court over assault charge.

Rapper Dizzee Rascal has been charged with assault.

The alleged incident took place at a residential address in Streatham, south London, on June 8, the Metropolitan Police said.

The force said a woman reported minor injuries.

Dizzee, real name Dylan Kwabena Mills, is due to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Friday September 3.

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In a statement, the Met said: “Dylan Mills, 36, of Sevenoaks, Kent, has been charged with assault after an incident at a residential address in Streatham on June 8.

“Officers attended and a woman reported minor injuries. She did not require hospital treatment.

“Mills is due to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, September 3.”

According to his website, Dizzee is performing at South Facing Festival 2021, Crystal Palace Park and Lydiard Park on dates in August.


Humza Yousaf seeks legal advice over nursery ‘discrimination’

The health secretary said an application for his two-year-old daughter was refused twice by a Dundee nursery.

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Humza Yousaf has said he is seeking legal advice after raising concerns that his daughter was discriminated against by a nursery.

The health secretary explained that an application for his two-year-old daughter was refused twice by Little Scholars Day Nursery in Dundee.

However, he said that an application made by a white Scottish friend for a child of the same age was accepted within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a second application under the name ‘Sara Ahmad’ was rejected.

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An investigation by the Daily Record newspaper also found that an application they made under the name ‘Aqsa Akhtar’ to the nursery was rejected, whilst one under the name of ‘Susan Blake’ was offered a choice of four afternoons.

Yousaf said that he has now reported the nursery to the Care Inspectorate, as well as having sought legal advice.

The nursery has said that it is “open and inclusive to all” and said that any claim to the contrary is “demonstrably false”, and that they would refute any such accusation in the “strongest possible terms”.

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Detailing the experience on Twitter on Monday morning, Yousaf said the step taken by him and his wife had not been taken lightly.

He said: “After our nursery application for our daughter was refused a 2nd time, my wife asked her white Scottish friend to put in an application for a Child the same age.

“Within 24hrs of refusing our application my wife’s friend’s was accepted. I was sure there must be rational explanation but my wife felt differently.

“She created a profile with a white Scot name & made an application, she also asked her sister ‘Sara Ahmed’ to submit an application on same day. Her sister was rejected but white Scot application accepted.

“At this point we asked @anniebrownword at @Daily_Record to investigate. She created two profiles with kids same age, their requirements the same.

“‘Aqsa Akhtar’ application was rejected while ‘Susan Blake’ was offered a choice of 4 afternoons. No explanation has been forthcoming.”

Yousaf continued: “I cannot tell you how angry I am. As a father all I want to do is protect my girls, yet aged 2 I believe my daughter has faced discrimination.

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“If this had not happened to me I’m not sure I would have believed it could happen in 2021. How many other families has this happened to?

“We are fooling ourselves if we believe discrimination doesn’t exist in Scotland. I believe evidence we have proves our case beyond doubt. As well as reporting the nursery to Care (Inspectorate) we are also seeking legal advice.”

He later Tweeted that it was his wife’s “gut instinct” that something wasn’t right with the application process, having given the nursery time to offer an explanation, he said.

Opposition party leaders have expressed their support for the health secretary.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar Tweeted: “I know this must hurt. Solidarity with @HumzaYousaf and Nadia.

“Profiling/assumptions based on names happens every day.

“In this case an application for nursery, in others for a job. This story also demonstrates why quality journalism is so important.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “This is an awful situation and no family or child should suffer discrimination because of their name and background. This should be investigated and stamped out.”

“We have nothing to hide and look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the policies and procedures we have in place.”

Little Scholars Day Nursery spokesperson

A spokesperson for Little Scholars Day Nursery said: “Our nursery is extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all and any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false and an accusation that we would refute in the strongest possible terms.

“We also stand by the member of our staff, named by the media today, who has been with us since the nursery opened 14 years ago. She is professional, compassionate, incredibly hard working and a valued member of our team.

“In addition to our owners being of Asian heritage, across more than a decade we have regularly welcomed both children and staff from a range of different religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds including two Muslim families currently.

“We have also regularly made arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles by, for example, providing a halal menu for those children who come from Muslim families.

“We note Mr Yousaf’s call for a Care Inspectorate investigation and this is something we would absolutely welcome.

“We have nothing to hide and look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the policies and procedures we have in place to ensure we are a nursery that is open and welcoming to all.”

Speaking to STV News following the response of the nursery, Yousaf called for an explanation or an apology.

He said: “I think their response is woefully inadequate. I’m not being unreasonable, all I’m asking for is a really simple, rational explanation of why three Muslim-sounding applicants, ethnic minority applicants, had their applications rejected, and sometimes within less than 24 hours, children of the same age, same requirements, but they were white-Scottish, were accepted.

“That’s all I want. Whether you serve halal meat, whether you’re Asian owners, entirely irrelevant. Explain why these three applicants were rejected and why three applicants were accepted.

“This defence, which frankly is a paraphrase of, ‘I can’t possibly be racist because my best friend is black’, well I’m sorry, that just doesn’t fly anymore.”

He added: “If they do not provide an explanation, or if they apologise, then we can look at not pursuing this further through the courts.

“If that is not forthcoming, then yes, there’s a Care Inspectorate investigation, I’ve had acknowledgement from the Care Inspectorate of the complaint, but also we are seeking and sought legal advice already.

“And if necessary, we will absolutely pursue this through the courts. Little Scholar’s Nursery and their owners should be in no doubt about that.”


ScotRail report suggesting 1000 jobs could be axed slammed

Trade union bosses have expressed anger at the report, which questions the viability of ticket offices in the future.

SNS group via SNS Group
Anger: Trade union bosses slam ScotRail report.

A ScotRail report suggesting 1000 jobs could be at risk and questioning if ticket offices will remain has been slammed by unions and politicians.

Trade union bosses have expressed anger after an internal report on the future of ScotRail questions whether “the provision of ticket offices is viable in the future” as the service begins to recover following the Covid-19 crisis.

The report also suggests that the franchise, currently owned by Abellio but due to enter public ownership next year, could make a permanent 10 per cent cut to services.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) claims this would mean more than 85,000 services being cut annually and a loss of more than 1000 jobs.

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The union has claimed the report seeks to “legitimise damaging cuts to Scotland’s rail network”, in a move that be a “kick in the teeth” to staff who have been key workers throughout the pandemic.

Trade union bosses also believe it runs counter to the country’s climate change targets. 

Transport Scotland said both it and the Scottish Government had no involvement in the report, while ScotRail claimed the report is not a formal proposal but contains recommendations on the future of the railway post-pandemic.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This report is a blatant attempt to further a cuts agenda that will be devastating for Scotland’s railway.

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“On the one hand, the report rightly acknowledges that Scotland’s rail network has a central role to play in meeting climate-change targets, yet it goes on to advocate service cuts, ticket office closures, and job losses.

“This will make Scotland’s railway far less safe, secure, and accessible for passengers and runs counter to Scotland’s net-zero targets.

“With COP26 taking place in Scotland in November, and ScotRail coming into public ownership in eight months’ time, we need an alternative future for Scotland’s railway that values passengers and staff, and invests in creating a sustainable, affordable, and accessible rail network.”

The report was made by Professor Iain Docherty, a former non-executive director of ScotRail and Transport Scotland, and talks of the changes seen during the pandemic, and of the ‘unique platform’ to ‘reduce staff costs quickly’. 

The report states: “There is also a clear opportunity to explore how digital technologies and automation of certain functions could reduce revenue spend, but this will require addressing ‘difficult’ cultural and political questions.”

ScotRail is facing a financial crisis in the wake of the pandemic and is currently surviving off an emergency taxpayer support of more than £400m.

The franchise is coming under state control in March 2022, with Dutch-owned Abellio being stripped of the franchise three years early following an outcry over service failings and rising costs to taxpayers.

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Scottish Conservatives transport minister Graham Simpson said: “The logic behind this report is deeply flawed.

“We want to see simpler fares and we want to make travelling by train easier, but you don’t do that by closing ticket offices. Not everyone will be able to buy tickets digitally, so this kind of idea risks creating a travelling underclass.

“We should be looking to invest in and expand our rail network and not follow this slash and burn approach.”

Scottish Labour slammed the proposals, calling them “irresponsible”.

Labour party transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: “This is an explosive report that appears to propose permanent cuts to pre-pandemic rail services of at least ten per cent.

“This would be economically, socially and environmentally irresponsible.

“The Transport Minister must immediately clarify the status of this report and rule out retrograde cuts to the rail network.

“We should be building up rail services, not cutting them back and cutting jobs across Scotland’s network.

“Labour stands with passengers and the workforce in the fight against cuts.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Transport Scotland is pressing ahead to put in place arrangements to mobilise a wholly owned company of the Scottish Government to provide ScotRail services when the current franchise expires as expected on March 31, 2022.

“Permission from the Government was not required by Abellio to commission this report and Scottish Government and Transport Scotland officials did not hold any discussions with Professor Docherty in relation to his report.

“Transport Scotland, as part of the Rail Recovery Task Force, uses Transport Focus’s passenger pulse research to identify the changing priorities and requirements of rail passengers during and post Covid-19. 

“This also provides a platform to assess the scale and pace of recovery from Covid and, in particular, the potential to move towards our policy vision of an integrated public sector controlled railway.”

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are seeing a gradual increase in the number of customers returning to the railway due to the easing of travel restrictions and coronavirus controls, but with passenger numbers at only 50% of the pre-Covid level, this is not the time to put that recovery in jeopardy.

“Railway jobs are being put at risk by the reckless actions of the RMT and we are urging union bosses to call off divisive strikes and false narratives.”


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