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.

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.”


‘Covid has terrorised my family, please take it seriously’

Nikki O'Hara says rule breakers need to take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously.

Nikki O'Hara via Email

“Covid terrifies me and still haunts me and my family. I think this will stay with me for a long, long time.”

Nikki O’Hara, from Strathaven, describes herself as an ordinary working mum, a fit and healthy 53-year-old with no underlying health issues.

On December 17, her son’s 19th birthday, Nikki tested positive for coronavirus.

“My partner, Roger, tested positive and had mild symptoms, so I wasn’t surprised when I got it,” she said.

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“I felt a bit rough for the first few days with a cough, a bit of a headache and a slight temperature.  

“A couple of friends had mentioned getting an oximeter, a wee gadget you attach to your finger to monitor your oxygen saturation levels. 

“I was doing some Christmas shopping online so I popped one in my shopping basket. It probably saved my life.”

Nikki contacted NHS 24 after her temperature spiked and the oximeter showed her oxygen levels were poor. She was then told to get to hospital as soon as possible.

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“The night I went into hospital, Roger went down to England to support his parents as his dad, who had dementia, also had tested positive for Covid,” Nikki explained.

“We didn’t think Covid would kill him but it did, my beautiful father in law died on Christmas Eve. I just felt terrible because I was in hospital and couldn’t support Roger.”

Nikki developed Covid pneumonia, impacting her lungs, and needed antibiotics, steroids and oxygen to help her breathing.

“I spent the next 12 days in hospital terrified and powerless. The other eight ladies who I shared the ward with at various times were all around 50 years old. 

“I had no Christmas or New Year. I had no visitors but I didn’t care. The nurses did their best to reassure me but the terror didn’t leave me.”

While she was in hospital, Nikki’s daughter also tested positive for Covid. The 22-year-old had only mild symptoms.

Nikki slowly began to recover towards New Year and after 12 days in hospital, was allowed home on January 5.

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Still recovering, she struggles to climb the stairs or do small tasks around the house.

“When I got home I was absolutely terrified as in the hospital, all the staff and nurses were always there to support me. I thought I might die during the night,” Nikki admitted.

“I am still scared but I know I am also very lucky. I am alive and I am getting better every day.”

Nikki described the NHS team who cared for her as her “superheroes”.  She said she has decided to share her story in the hope it would act as a wake-up call for people who are bending the rules or believe they will be unaffected by the virus.

“I believed I would be fine if I ever got it. Just a couple of paracetamol and I’d be fine but I wasn’t. This virus respects no one. Young or  old, we are all vulnerable. 

“We need to take it seriously every minute of every day.”

Coronavirus: 1341 new cases as hospital patients rise overnight

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 1918 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

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Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

More people are now in hospital with coronavirus than at any time during the pandemic despite new infections falling to the lowest level in almost three weeks.

A further 1341 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland over the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government confirmed.

The number of new infections is 412 below the 1753 announced on Saturday and is the lowest since December 28 – although there tend to be fewer cases recorded at the weekend.

There have been no further deaths reported.

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Total confirmed cases of the virus has risen to 162,333 since the start of the pandemic.

The daily test positivity rate is 9.5%, up from the 8.4% reported on Saturday.

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 412 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 226 are in Lanarkshire, 131 are in Grampian, 125 are in Ayrshire and Arran, and 123 are in Lothian.

The rest of the cases are spread out across seven other health board areas.

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The number of patients with recently confirmed coronavirus continues to reach record levels – increasing daily since Christmas Day, when there were 973 people in hospital.

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 1918 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 – an increase of 55 overnight. Out of those, 147 patients are in intensive care.

The death toll of those who had tested positive stands at 5305, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is at least 7074.


SNP ‘ramping up’ indyref2 campaign with creation of taskforce

The SNP has faced criticism from opposition parties for not focusing on the coronavirus pandemic.

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The SNP has announced the creation of a taskforce to support its campaign for Scottish independence.

The SNP has announced the creation of a taskforce to support its campaign for Scottish independence but faced criticism from opposition parties for not focusing on the coronavirus pandemic.

The taskforce could be the “final piece in the jigsaw” for achieving independence, according to the SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown.

He said it demonstrates the independence campaign is “ramping things up”, with the SNP looking to develop a strategy for another independence campaign ahead of May’s Holyrood elections.

“The independence taskforce will bring strategic direction and expertise which I believe is the final piece in the jigsaw that will help deliver independence,” Mr Brown said.

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He added: “Our independence taskforce at SNP headquarters will be welcomed by party members and grassroots Yes activists across the country.”

Mr Brown also indicated a “high-profile” Yes campaigner will soon be announced to lead the project and added: “I really believe that when I make the appointment it will also fire up the wider Yes movement.”

The SNP’s opponents have seized on the announcement to argue the party is more focused on breaking up the United Kingdom than tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scottish Labour constitution spokesman and leadership candidate Anas Sarwar said: “The SNP’s priorities are wrong. Right now, political leaders should be focused on the coronavirus crisis, the vaccination programme and creating stability for the people of Scotland.

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“As we emerge from the pandemic, what is needed is a taskforce on jobs, health and education – not on independence.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The SNP are ramping up their push for indyref2 this year while the rest of Scotland is worried about their jobs and when they’ll get the Covid vaccine.

“They are stuck in the Holyrood bubble with no clue about the priorities of people across Scotland.

“Their shameless push for another referendum this year would wreck our recovery from the pandemic. We need to focus on building up Scotland, not breaking up our country.”

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “The First Minister promised that the SNP wouldn’t start a referendum in the middle of a pandemic, but off they go. They can’t help themselves.

“Thousands of people are ill with Covid. Business and workers are desperately worried about their immediate future.

“Despite the promises of the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, nationalists will always put their own interests first. Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.”

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Pamela Nash, chief executive of the Scotland in Union campaign group, added: “Amid a public health pandemic when people are losing their lives and livelihoods, the idea that we need a taskforce on separation shows just how out of touch the SNP is.

“Imagine thinking that what we need right now is a taskforce focused on dividing communities and building borders, rather than bringing people together and rebuilding our country.

“The SNP is obsessed with how to tear families and friends apart, but we are stronger together as part of the UK and we can ensure a successful recovery by working together.”


Body found in park in search for missing 16-year-old boy

A search was launched for Santino Hogan after he failed to return home on Friday night.

Police Scotland
Police: Santino Hogan disappeared on Friday night.

A body has been found in the search for a missing 16-year-old boy in Perthshire.

Santino Hogan, known as Sonny, was last seen leaving his house in Main Street, Glenfarg, at around 6pm on Friday.

Specialist officers and police dogs joined in the search on Sunday.

At around 2pm, a body was found in a park in Glenfarg.

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Formal identification is yet to take place, however it is believed to be the teenager. His family has been made aware.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 2pm on Sunday, January 17, the body of a male was found in a park in Glenfarg.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

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“Formal identification is yet to take place however it is believed to be 16-year-old Santino Hogan who had been reported missing from his home in Glenfarg. 

“His family have been made aware.”


Raab: Brexit delays for fishing sector are teething problems

The UK foreign secretary argued the trading agreement will 'create huge, sustainable opportunities' for the fishing sector.

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Fishing sector row: Foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

Delays to fishing exports are just “teething problems” following Brexit, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has claimed.

Challenged about the warning from the seafood sector that fishing businesses could collapse within days, Raab said he was “not convinced” it was because of the Government’s trade deal with the European Union.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Raab argued the trading agreement will “create huge, sustainable opportunities” for the fishing sector.

Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted by delays since the UK’s transition period ended on December 31.

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Some Scottish fishermen have been landing their catch in Denmark to avoid the “bureaucratic system” that exports to Europe now involve, according to Scotland’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described lorry situation as ‘shameful and disgraceful’.

On land, lorries transporting freshly-caught produce have been held up at distribution hubs and many have struggled to enter into France – a situation which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described as “shameful and disgraceful”.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a committee of MPs that fishing businesses would be compensated for what he described as “temporary frustrations”.

Asked about the potential collapse of parts of the fishing industry because of problems caused by the Brexit deal, Raab said: “I’m not convinced that that is the result of the agreement.

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“The agreement we have struck – short term, medium term and long term – will create huge, sustainable opportunities.

“Of course we have always said as we leave the transition period with a deal, but even more if we hadn’t found a deal, there will be some teething problems.

“We are very focused on working with all the different sectors, including the fishing industry, to resolve any of these teething problems.”

Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael said: “It’s hard to find a minister who will admit to having even sat down and read the trade deal.

“Brexit might be a game to the likes of Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson but for thousands of people in Scotland this is their business and their livelihood on the line.

“The Government needs to get a grip now.

“Fishermen are telling the PM that his deal did not do any of the things he claimed for it, let alone what he had promised.

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“The harder the Tories spin, the angrier fishing communities get. The Government needs to start listening to the people who know what they are talking about and start to clean up the mess that the Prime Minister has created.”


Private firm awarded £2m NHS contract for vaccine support

Scotland’s health service awarded the contract to an accountancy firm for 'management and advisory services'.

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Vaccine rollout: Scotland’s health service has awarded a contract worth more than £2m to an accountancy firm.

Scotland’s health service has awarded a contract worth more than £2m to an accountancy firm for “management and advisory services” on the coronavirus vaccine programme.

The contract is for “extended flu and Covid vaccination programme management and advisory services” and was handed out three months before the first vaccinations began in Scotland.

The Scottish Government gave the £2.32m deal to KPMG without any other competing bids in September because of the “extreme urgency” of the vaccination programme, according to the contract award notice published on Tuesday.

The justification for directly awarding the contract on behalf of NHS Scotland states it was due to “unforeseeable” events.

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It adds the work required is to “meet the additional demands of the Scottish Health and Social Care sector during the current Covid-19 pandemic”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Given the scale of the unprecedented demand on health services and the need to run both the flu and Covid vaccination programme, KPMG were contracted to provide administrative support to NHS and government officials leading on planning and delivery.

“A number of contracts were awarded on a ‘direct’ basis due to extreme urgency.

“NHS National Services Scotland has since transitioned to other ‘open’ tender procedures whenever possible.”

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Commenting on the contract, Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay told The Sunday Mail: “This is extraordinary – we have the Scottish Government handing over millions to a private sector organisation to tell them how to roll out the vaccine.

“Do they not trust civil servants or the NHS to work out how to do this?”

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell added: “It might have been better for the Government to empower our local healthcare providers rather than splash millions on external consultants.

“The vaccine rollout is giving people hope right now and they won’t begrudge extra resources being brought in from the private sector.

“The problem is that the SNP and First Minister are failing to be upfront about these contracts.”


Anas Sarwar confirms bid to be next Scottish Labour leader

The Glasgow MSP set out his stall in the leadership race, which was triggered by Leonard’s resignation on Thursday.

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Scottish Labour leader race: Anas Sarwar has confirmed his bid.

Anas Sarwar has confirmed his bid to succeed Richard Leonard as the next Scottish Labour leader.

The Glasgow MSP used an article for the Observer online to set out his stall in the leadership race, which was triggered by Leonard’s resignation on Thursday.

Late on Saturday night, he tweeted to say the country “needs political leadership that will bring people together” and that he wants “to rebuild Scottish Labour, and then rebuild Scotland”.

In his column, Sarwar wrote: “Over the past few years, I have gained a new perspective on our politics and realised that the things we argue about mean little to people’s lives.

Jane Barlow via Getty Images
Richard Leonard resigned on Thursday.
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“We spend too much time highlighting our differences, rather than focusing on what unites us.

“I firmly believe we cannot go back to society as it was before the pandemic – insecure work, hollowed- out public services, an underfunded health service, and the constant focus on another independence referendum when there’s far more important things we need to be dealing with.

“Scottish Labour can compete again if we offer a positive alternative – a plan to heal our wounds, to reunite our people and to rebuild our country.”

The 37-year-old also discussed facing racism and fighting prejudice in the article, adding: “Speaking out against the racism I’ve faced was the hardest thing I’ve done in politics. My family faced death threats as a result.

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“But I’ve used that experience to spend my time in our communities working on what unites us and bringing people together – I have listened and I have learnt.

“I want to bring that same approach to our Labour movement so that we can rebuild our party and rebuild our country.”

After news broke of Leonard’s resignation, Sarwar paid tribute to his former boss, saying: “Richard has led our party through one of the most difficult times in our history.

“He is Labour to his core, and we are all grateful for his service.

“I know he will continue to fight for a fairer, more just and more equal society today, tomorrow and long into the future.”

Earlier on Saturday the party’s executive agreed to a condensed timescale for any contest with the Holyrood elections less than four months away.

The last Scottish Labour leadership contest in 2017 – when Leonard defeated Sarwar – took two-and-a-half months.

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Other candidates have until midnight on Sunday to declare their intention to run and will require support from at least four of the party’s MSPs or its sole Scottish MP by midday on the following Tuesday to be formally nominated.

Party members and affiliated supporters will be able to cast their votes from Tuesday February 9 until ballots close on Friday February 26 with the new leader to be announced the following day.

Scottish Labour’s chairwoman Cara Hilton said: “The Scottish Executive Committee today agreed that a new leader of the Scottish Labour Party will be elected by a ballot of party members and affiliated trades union members in February.

“The new leader will be announced on February 27 and will lead Scottish Labour into the Scottish Parliament election with a fresh energy to carry Labour’s message and take the fight to the Tories and the SNP.”


Nurses tell of mounting stress on the coronavirus frontline

Frontline workers have raised concerns over staff shortages and issues with PPE.

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images via Getty Images
Nurses are facing a tough time coping with coronavirus in hospitals.

Nurses have told of the mounting stress they’re facing while trying to cope with coronavirus in hospitals.

Frontline workers told STV News that wards were often short-staffed due to sickness and raised concerns about the quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) they use.

They also said they feared taking the virus home to their families after spending the day with Covid-19 patients.

As of Saturday, 1863 coronavirus patients were being treated in Scotland’s hospitals, including 145 in intensive care.

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Under condition of anonymity, nurses from different health boards admitted they sometimes felt like taking strike action, with one insisting: “We’ve had enough.”

It comes after frontline workers at University Hospital Monklands said the NHS was close to the “edge” and appealed for people to follow restrictions.

One nurse said: “It’s a circle of fear. It doesn’t matter how many get unwell, we work through it until we break.

“We are completely understaffed; staff who are having to isolate, staff going off with PTSD, with stress, completely burnt out because they are working 60-hour weeks.”

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Two charge nurses said they only had basic PPE, gloves, visors, masks and aprons, and that they felt unprotected amid the new strain of the virus, which has sparked a rise in cases.

One said: “I don’t know what the solution is, but they need to start protecting us. It’s in our nature to preserve life, this is out of control.”

A number of health boards – including Ayrshire and Arran, Borders and Lanarkshire – have postponed all non-urgent surgery to focus resources on coronavirus, such is the scale of the situation in hospitals.

Frontline workers said it had left them feeling overwhelmed, putting increasing pressure on mental health support services.

One charge nurse said: “I go home and cry at the end of every shift. Everyone is trying to work together, but you can see morale going down.”

Trying to care for multiple Covid patients who can’t be seen by their own families has left some nurses feeling helpless.

“People are crying, they are so lonely, saying they don’t want to be here anymore because they are so lonely,” one nurse said.

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“You have to split your time between them. You are watching them struggling to breath, there is nothing you can do.”

Union leaders said frontline health workers had been “consistently let down” during the pandemic.

Drew Duffy, public services organiser for GMB Scotland, said: “The truth is that many workers have little-to-no confidence that their safety is being prioritised.

“They were told that Scotland was prepared for Covid-19, but from PPE to testing, and now the first wave of the vaccination programme, they have been consistently let down.

“We are closing in on the first anniversary of this pandemic, but instead of listening to and supporting these workers, it looks increasingly like the Scottish Government and health boards are managing the message.

“That’s not good enough. Workers’ voices need to be heard, their safety needs to be prioritised and their value recognised.”

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.

More on:

Hunt for men after car petrol bombed outside block of flats

The white BMW 5 series was targeted outside Woodside Court, Coatbridge around 4:20pm on Friday.

SNS group via Police Scotland
Investigation: Manhunt after car petrol bombed.

A car has been petrol bombed outside a block of flats in North Lanarkshire.

The white BMW 5 series was targeted outside Woodside Court, Coatbridge around 4:20pm on Friday.

Officers are treating the blaze as wilful and are now appealing for information after two men were seen in the area around the time the fire attack occurred.

The first man is described as aged 20-30, around 5ft8 and of stocky build. He was wearing a black hooded top with the hood up. He was wearing black gloves and thought to be in possession of a petrol canister.

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The second man is described as aged 20-30, around 5ft7 and of slim build. He was wearing black tracksuit bottoms, a dark tracksuit top and a top with dark arms and a dark grey or green bottom half.

Detective constable Alan McNeil, of Lanarkshire CID, said: “It is believed the two males headed towards Highcross Avenue and onto Coll Drive after the fire.

“The area was busy at the time of this incident with vehicles and pedestrians passing by and I am appealing for anyone who saw people matching these descriptions or who has any information which may assist with our enquiries to contact us.

“I would also appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have dash cam footage to get in touch.”

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Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101.


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