Man convicted of sexually assaulting woman on train

The incident took place on board a train in July 2019.

The man has now been convicted. SNS Group via SNS Group
The man has now been convicted.

A man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a woman on board a train.

Tulsi Ram Bhandari, 48, assaulted the woman on a service between Dunfermline Town and Edinburgh Haymarket.

The incident took place at around 1pm on July 13 in 2019.

He has been sentenced to 150 hours community payback order and placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

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BTP Detective Crawford Gillies said: “Sexual offending will absolutely not be tolerated on the rail network. Everyone has the right to travel and feel safe.

“We will always take reports of sexual offences seriously, and in this case were able to quickly arrest the suspect after the victim reported the offence, and bring him before the courts.

“If you need us on your journey, you can text us discreetly on 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency always call 999.”


Barring vaccine refusers from large events ‘is wrong approach’

The deputy first minister said he disagrees with a suggestion from Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.

Scottish Government via Gov.scot
Swinney: Disagrees with Michael Gove.

Barring people who refuse a coronavirus vaccination from certain large events is the wrong approach, deputy first minister John Swinney has said.

Swinney said he disagrees with a suggestion from Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who said the UK Government is considering vaccine passports for events such as football matches.

Vaccine passports will be a condition for entry to nightclubs in England from September, however, the Scottish Government is yet to make a decision on whether they will be introduced.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow on Tuesday, Gove said those who refuse vaccines when they are able to receive one are “selfish”.

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Swinney, who is also the Covid Recovery Secretary, was asked about Gove’s comments on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

He said: “I think it’s the wrong way to handle it.”

He said the Scottish Government’s thinking on the issue has been influenced by Professor Stephen Reicher of St Andrews University.

Swinney said: “I think, listening to Professor Reicher, I would be much more convinced by an argument that was about engaging people, taking people with us and explaining the rationale.

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“Rather than the type of language that you’ve just put to me from Michael Gove.”

Swinney also said discussions are ongoing with the UK Government around waiving the need to quarantine for double-vaccinated travellers who arrive from the US and EU.

Asked about Scotland’s vaccine rollout, he said it has “massively exceeded” the planning assumption for an 80% uptake.


Houses evacuated as fire crews battle church blaze

More than 30 firefighters are in attendance at the scene in Glasgow.

Melissa Moore via @brunsmoore

Fire crews are tackling a well developed blaze at a church in Glasgow.

More than 30 firefighters are in attendance at the fire at St Simon’s Catholic Church on Bridge Street, Partick.

They were called to the scene at around 2.40am on Wednesday, close to Byres Road and Dumbarton Road.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue service say one person was given precautionary treatment at the scene.

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Nearby residents have been advised to keep windows and doors closed and some have been evacuated.

/ @Brunsmoore via Melissa Moore
Fire at St Simon’s Church in Partick. (@Brunsmoore and @_catriona)

A spokesperson for the SFRS said: “We were alerted at 2.40am on Wednesday, to reports of a fire within a church on Partick Bridge Street, Partick, Glasgow.

“Operations Control mobilised six fire appliances including two height appliances and more than 30 firefighters are in attendance and working to extinguish the fire.

“One person was assisted from the property and given precautionary treatment at the scene. Adjacent properties have been evacuated as a precautionary measure and nearby residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed due to smoke.

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“Road users should avoid the area to allow access for emergency service vehicles and due to road closures.

“Crews are expected to remain in attendance for some time.”


Gold Medal for Duncan Scott as Team GB win men’s 4×200 relay

Scott becomes the first Scottish athlete to win Gold at Tokyo 2020, but it was a team effort that sealed victory.

Joe Giddens via PA Media
Winners: Gold Medals for Team GB.

Scottish swimmer Duncan Scott has won his second medal of the Olympic Games in the men’s 4×200 metres freestyle relay.

Scott becomes the first Scot to win Gold at Tokyo 2020, but it was a team effort that sealed victory for Team GB at the city’s aquatics centre on Wednesday morning.

Following his victory on Tuesday, Tom Dean became the first British male swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Games since 1908.

Dean started solidly if unspectacularly, perhaps feeling the exertions of his recent endeavours, and it was Guy who got Team GB into the lead at halfway before Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott closed the show in style.

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The time of six minutes and 58.58 seconds set a new European benchmark and was just three hundredths of a second behind the world record still held by a Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte inspired United States 12 years ago.

It was a special moment for Guy, who won two relay silvers at Rio 2016 and finished fourth in the individual 200m freestyle event there. Having finally scaled the mountain, he was in tears by the time Scott touched the wall.

Scott was runner-up to Dean the day before in a historic one-two finish but the Glaswegian’s effort on Wednesday made sure Britain scooped their third swimming gold at an Olympics for the first time in 113 years.

Dean, who revealed he has had coronavirus twice inside the past year, said: “It feels pretty special. Double Olympic champion sounds pretty good. The last 24 hours have been unreal, a complete whirlwind.

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“This was our best, best, best case scenario. The way Jimmy and I have been training in Bath and the times he’s been dropping, I’ve never had a shadow of doubt in my mind and it came together like we knew it would.”

His earlier success was followed by a video emerging showing his family and friends celebrating in his hometown of Maidenhead. Asked whether his latest gold would bring more of the same he replied: “They might be. They love it.”

The Russian Olympic Committee took silver, pipping third-placed Australia by three hundredths of a second, but the teams were more than three seconds behind Britain, thanks to a late surge from Scott.

“It meant quite a lot, (especially to) myself and Jimmy,” said Scott, who now has a gold medal to go with his three Olympic silvers. “It was great to do it with him.”

The United States had won this event at the past four Olympics but, without Phelps and Lochte, they settled for fourth.

‘World’s most powerful’ tidal turbine switched on

The O2 has the potential to provide electricity to 2000 homes every year.

STV News
The O2 was assembled by an 80-strong team in Dundee.

A tidal turbine described as the “most powerful” in the world has started generating energy off Orkney.

The O2 has the ability to create two megawatts of energy every year – potentially providing electricity to around 2000 homes. 

The company behind the project, Orbital Marine Power, hailed a major step forward for the tidal sector in Scotland. 

Chief executive Andrew Scott said: “I’d like to think this is possibly, excuse the pun, turning the tide here a bit.

STV News
Power is transferred by cable along the seabed to the onshore electricity network. 
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“We’ve been very much focused on our research and development programme for the last 15 years and developing technologies of this nature in the marine environment is not a job which happens quickly. 

“We hope that this is a milestone that triggers a commercial era for the tidal stream sector.”

How does it work?

Assembled by an 80-strong team in Dundee, the O2 is 74 metres long, with ten-meter blades under the water which capture the energy from the powerful tidal stream and change direction depending on the movement of the tide.

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Based at a site run by the European Marine Energy Centre at the Falls of Warness, power is then transferred by cable along the seabed to the onshore electricity network. 

It’s hoped the technology – launched just months before Glasgow hosts the Cop26 climate conference – could also help create jobs in Scotland. 

Orkney already generates more electricity than it needs from renewable sources, but has been unable to export it to the mainland due of a lack of infrastructure. 

Hot meal or a bath?

There is a real issue with fuel poverty on the islands, where around 60% of households struggle to heat their homes.

The charity Tackling Household Affordable Warmth (THAW) was set up to help people.

STV News

Robert Leslie, from THAW, said: “We had one case where a woman had looked at how much she had left on her prepayment meter and it was enough to either cook a hot meal or have a bath.

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“For folk to be having to make choices like that in this day and age is atrocious. It gives an indication of how bad things are for a lot of folk in the islands.

“They certainly don’t recongise Orkney as a great place to live when they are choosing between heating and eating.”

‘Just the start’

The company said that the tidal turbine had the ability to offset around 2200 tonnes of carbon dioxide production every year.

And while the firm realises that tidal will not be the single solution to climate change or reaching net zero, they believe it has a crucial role to play

Mr Scott added: “We believe we can go on and build more of these machines and deploy them in more sites around the UK and ultimately around the world.

“We can see tidal stream play a role in helping to decarbonise the world.”


‘We’ll never know if Gerard could have lived longer’

Mum hopes new study will help others who suffer conditions similar to those which claimed her son's life.

STV News

Gerard Garvey’s mum will never know if her son could have lived longer – but she hopes a new study will help others like him.

He was just 17 when he died in 2008 having been left extremely prone to respiratory illness by a rare chromosome abnormality, which also caused learning disabilities.

It was six months after his birth before he was diagnosed with an ‘uncoordinated swallow’, which meant food was going straight into his lungs.

“If we’d found out earlier, there might have been less damage to his chest,” his mum Mary, from Glasgow, told STV News.

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What did the study find?

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory, based at Glasgow University, examined data from more than 90,000 people with learning disabilities over the past 24 years.

It concluded that people with learning disabilities are up to 11 times more likely to die from respiratory disease than the rest of the population and called for action.

For adults with learning disabilities, the risk of death was 6.5 times greater than it was for adults in the general population.

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The rate of death from pneumonia was almost 27 times higher.

‘He was amazing’

“Gerard was prone to infections, he was taking one after another,” Mary said. “I’ll always wonder whether, if we knew earlier about the uncoordinated swallow, would it have prevented the chest infections?

“He had multiple complex issues, but we will never know if he could have lived a bit longer.”

Mary recalled how, during his short life, Gerard repeatedly defied doctors’ expectations.

STV News
Gerard Garvey

“He was amazing,” she said. “We were told when he was born that we wouldn’t have him for long and that he wouldn’t do anything. Boy, did he prove them wrong.

“He had a condition which meant he couldn’t open his eyelids, but he learned that, if he lifted them with his thumbs, he could see what he was doing and play with his toys.

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“Even though he was in a wheelchair, he was very boisterous, into all sorts of mischief.

“He was the centre of the family, he touched so many lives. He was absolutely amazing.”

‘Unnecessary deaths’

It’s estimated that more than 120,000 people in Scotland live with a learning disability.

The report’s lead author said many people were dying prematurely and greater awareness needed to be raised in the medical profession.

Dr Maria Truesdale said: “The research highlighted a number of inequalities in the care of people with learning disabilities.

“People with learning disabilities are dying prematurely from causes that could be prevented.

“There is an urgent need for greater understanding and awareness across health and social care of the specific health and care needs of people with learning disabilities, and in particular of the specific risk factors that contribute to premature deaths.

“We must act to now reduce preventable deaths.”

What are researchers calling for?

  • Raised awareness among doctors of the links between dysphagia and recurrent chest infections
  • Action to increase uptake of relevant vaccination programmes
  • Addressing the common risk factors related to a higher risk of respiratory-associated deaths

‘This could help others’

Meanwhile, Mary hopes that with potential health care reforms and more awareness, change will come for those with learning disabilities.

“The study could help another family,” she said. “More research is only a good thing so children and their parents can get the support they deserve.”


Police officers face months off work after spate of attacks

Six attacks on police officers in Tayside have been recorded over the past two weeks.

SNS Group via SNS Group

A number of police officers are facing months off work after a string of assaults in Tayside.

Six officers have been attacked in the past two weeks, with some suffering serious injuries and requiring long recovery periods.

Police chiefs described the “rising trend” of assaults on officers in the region as “unacceptable”.

‘Attacks hurt families’

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“It’s totally unacceptable – it isn’t part of their job to be assaulted,” said Dundee-based Superintendent Iain Wales.

“They are not only a police officer; they are a husband, a wife, a mother, a father, and we are having to send officers home to their families that have been assaulted and the family then have to live with the aftermath of that, it is not acceptable.”

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said officers in Tayside were currently at higher risk of assault than those in Scotland’s capital city.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in assaults on police officers across Scotland, but specifically in the Tayside area,” said the SPF’s David Threadgold.

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“Statistics will show that you are four times more likely to be assaulted as a police officer in Tayside than you are, for example, in Edinburgh.”

‘Some people think it’s OK’

Assaults on police staff rose by more than six per cent in 2020-21, compared to the previous year, with 6942 incidents being reported.

More than 1000 of them were linked to coronavirus and included spitting and coughing on officers.

But police in Tayside don’t believe the latest spate of assaults can be blamed on the pandemic.

“Yes, spitting has increased during the pandemic, but this is a behavioural thing where people think it’s OK to assault police officers,” said Supt Wales.

“When people join Police Scotland, they don’t join up to be assaulted as part of their daily duties and we will not tolerate that.

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“Along with the Courts Service and the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service, we will take a very robust line on anyone who assaults a police officer.”

Some of the officers have been so badly assaulted that it could take months for them to recover from their injuries, and the psychological damage can be much longer-term.

“It’s the mental impact of it, it’s the change in their behaviour when they go home when they deal with their children and their husband and their wives and what that impact has on them,” said Mr Threadgold.

“We have to get a grip of this and society has to accept that what is going on at the moment cannot be sustained.”


Andy Murray’s bid for fourth Olympic medal ends in doubles defeat

Cilic and Dodig prevailed in a deciding tie-break to win 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-7.

Adam Pretty / Staff via Getty Images
Murray: Defeated in Olympic tennis doubles.

Andy Murray’s bid for a fourth Olympic medal ended with a painful defeat in the men’s doubles alongside Joe Salisbury in the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

The pair had raised expectations with two fine performances to make the last eight and led Croatian duo Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig by a set and a break.

They had a point to make it 5-2 but Cilic and Dodig stepped up their level, broke the Murray serve and prevailed in a deciding tie-break to win 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-7.

It is they who are now guaranteed to play for a medal, and the disappointment for Murray and Salisbury was obvious.

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“It’s always tough when you lose matches but especially here, a chance of getting to the semi-finals and a chance of winning a medal,” said Salisbury. “And the situation we were in, we were a set and a break up and we were playing well, so it’s very tough.”

Murray is the only tennis player ever to win successive gold medals, and he also has a silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson from London.

Given his ongoing struggles to stay fit, which included pulling out of the singles here with a thigh strain, it seems highly unlikely he will compete at a fifth Games in Paris in three years’ time.

“I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute of playing in the Olympics. I wish that today could have gone differently.

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“I had another chance with Joe to win a medal, we were so close, and that’s what’s disappointing. I would like to have done some stuff differently in the match to try to help out more.”

Murray will now head home for more rest and recovery but is hopeful of being fit for the US Open, starting on August 30.

He said: “I’ll see how the injury heals. That’s what will dictate it. I’m not going to rush something if it’s not there.

“My team think I should be OK to play the US Open judging by how I felt in matches here. It’s not as physical as singles but there’s a lot of explosive movements and my leg felt fine.”

Nicola Sturgeon announces £70m investment in youth employment

The Young Person’s Guarantee was launched in November last year with the aim of protecting young people from the economic impact of Covid-19.

Fraser Bremner via Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon will visit Young Movers, a youth charity based in Glasgow, on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is determined to do everything it can to support young people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the First Minister on Wednesday announced that £70m will be invested towards youth employment.

The Young Person’s Guarantee was launched in November last year with the aim of protecting young people from the economic impact of Covid-19.

Under the scheme, every 16 to 24-year-old in Scotland is offered the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training programme or volunteering.

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The £70m investment set out by the First Minister includes £45m for local partnerships to provide training, employer recruitment incentives, and mental health interventions for young people.

A sum of £13.5m will be allocated for colleges, universities and the Scottish Funding Council to provide industry-focussed courses, whilst there is £10m for the roll-out of new school coordinators and enhanced school provision, and £1.5m to increase places on volunteering and third sector programmes.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Young Movers, a youth charity based in Glasgow, on Wednesday, Sturgeon said the investment meets the commitments set out by the SNP in the party’s manifesto.

“We know that young people have been badly affected by the pandemic and we are determined to do everything we can to support them,” she said.

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“The Young Person’s Guarantee is a vital part of that support which aims to give all young people the chance to succeed despite the economic impacts of Covid-19. 

“This investment of £70m, which meets four of our 100 days commitments, will also ensure employers continue to benefit from the fresh talent and new perspectives that young people bring to workplaces across Scotland.”

Sandy Begbie, chair of the Young Person’s Guarantee Implementation Group, said: ”Inclusion was at the core of the Young Person’s Guarantee so I am particularly pleased by the increased opportunities created for young people who are furthest from the workplace.  

“None of this could have been achieved without employers being engaged and I am delighted we have almost 100 employers and business groups signed up supporting the scheme.

“Our young people, who have been disproportionately impacted as a result of the pandemic, are an asset to Scotland and it has never been more important that we deliver against the Young Person’s Guarantee.”


Drunk witnesses ‘no less accurate at recalling details of crime’

The study was conducted by researchers at Abertay University and London South Bank University.

Jonathan Austin Daniels via IStock
The study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Drunk witnesses to crime are no less accurate when recalling details of what they have seen than sober people, a study has suggested.

The research, from Abertay University in Dundee and London South Bank University, found people who had consumed alcohol were less confident and recalled fewer details than those who had not, but were no more likely to include errors.

It also showed that people who discuss what they have witnessed with others can provide less reliable testimony.

The researchers said the results mean police, judges and jurors should be aware drunk people’s version of events may not be less accurate than others.

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They stressed, however, that their research looked at people who had only mild to moderate alcohol intoxication and were asked to recall details with little delay.

Some people who took part in the study were sober and others had drunk vodka and orange juice.

Both groups were asked to recall details from videos showing a mock theft.

Participants were tested in pairs and each person watched a different version of the crime, although they were made to believe that they watched the same video.

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Before being asked to recall what they had witnessed, half of the participants were allowed to discuss what they had seen.

The study found people who engaged in discussion incorporated errors into their testimony almost seven times more often than those who recalled alone.

A total of 87.7% of these participants gave at least one piece of incorrect information that they had not actually seen themselves, but had heard about from their co-witness.

The drunk participants were no more likely to make the errors than those who were sober.

It was also found that drunk participants were not less accurate than sober ones, but their accounts were less detailed.

Drinking alcohol also had a negative effect on a participants’ confidence, meaning they thought their memory was less accurate when in fact it was not.

Dr Julie Gawrylowicz of Abertay University, co-leader on the study, said: “Contrary to perceptions commonly held by the general public and many professionals working within the criminal justice system, our findings suggest that mild to moderate alcohol intoxication does not make individuals more susceptible to incorporating misleading information obtained from a co-witness.

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“Our work also shows that alcohol does impact recall completeness but not accuracy, so mild to moderately intoxicated witnesses may be regarded as a reliable source of information, even if questioned in an intoxicated state.

“It is important to note though, that this study tested memory at low to moderate intoxication levels, with a minimal delay before recall, and no other influencing factors.

“Those involved in the criminal justice chain, including police, judges and jurors, should therefore be aware that although mildly to moderately intoxicated witnesses might report fewer details and might be less confident in their accounts, their version of events might not be necessarily less accurate.”

She added: “The results also show there is clear potential for all witnesses, sober and intoxicated alike, who discuss a crime with a co-witness, to report information that they did not see but have just heard about from the other witness.

“This indicates it may be important to minimise co-witness discussion where a crime has been witnessed in public settings, such as bars and restaurants.”

The study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.


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