Murder inquiry launched after inmate dies in prison

Darren Brownlie, 47, died at HMP Low Moss in East Dunbartonshire on Monday.

HMP Low Moss: Darren Brownlie died on Monday. Google 2020
HMP Low Moss: Darren Brownlie died on Monday.

A murder inquiry has been launched following the death of an inmate at a Scots prison.

Darren Brownlie, 47, died at HMP Low Moss in East Dunbartonshire on Monday.

Four men were arrested on suspicion of assault and have since been released.

Police launched the murder probe following Mr Brownlie’s post-mortem.

A force spokesperson said: “Police Scotland was made aware of the death of a 47-year-old man within HMP Low Moss on Monday, January 6.

“Following a post-mortem examination, the death is being treated as suspicious and a murder inquiry has been launched.

“The 47-year-old man can be named as Darren Brownlie and his family have been informed.

“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“Four men have been arrested on suspicion of assault and have been released pending further enquiries.”


Coronavirus live: Volunteers call, sewer blockage warning

Latest updates as they happen while Scotland is on 'lockdown' to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

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  • A huge nationwide volunteering campaign is being launched
  • Breathing aid developed to keep patients out intensive care
  • Budget airline Easyjet grounds its entire fleet
  • Supermarket chain Morrisons pledges to keep foodbanks stocked
  • PM’s adviser Dominic Cummings has Covid-19 symptoms

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Police fine 25 people for gathering in public places

It comes after images on social media showed people flouting the restrictions including at Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell.

Police Scotland
Police: Officers issued 25 fixed penalties over the weekend.

Police Scotland issued 25 fixed penalty notices over the weekend to people flouting the regulations introduced in a bid to stop people from spreading coronavirus in public places.

The new powers in the Coronavirus Act make it a criminal offence to flout the public health guidance on social distancing to prevent Covid-19.

On-the-spot fines of £30 can be issued to people who breach social distancing measures, rising to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days and capped at £960 for repeat offenders.

Deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham said despite the small number of cases where fines were issued, the vast majority of the public were complying with the new regulations.

Mr Graham said: “We’ve had high-visibility patrols right across the country since we were given these enforcement powers and it’s clear that the vast majority of people are complying with the measures that are in place.

“We issued 25 fixed penalty notices across Scotland over the course of Saturday and Sunday and I think that is strong evidence of how these extraordinary powers have had an impact in such a short space of time with communities across Scotland.

“We’ve also received a significant number of calls, firstly from people asking how do we comply with these regulations and, secondly, reporting people they felt were breaching them.

“We responded to those calls to make sure we could again explain why it was important, encourage people to comply with them, and in those very small number of occasions use the enforcement powers that we’ve got where that very small minority of people just refuse to comply with what is required.

“There was broadly three situations that happened in. We had a number of house parties still going on; we were called to attend, and people refused to break those up, then notices could be issued.

“We had groups of people outside and again, if people have refused to comply, that was some of the circumstances, and in a very small number of cases we issued fixed penalty notices to businesses that were still operating where it was not appropriate that they should continue to given the regulations that are in place.”

Mr Graham’s comments come after images on social media showed dozens of cars at Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, on Sunday.

Although the guidelines allow people to take a walk as a form of exercise each day, Mr Graham said the public were still getting used to what the measures mean for daily life.

He added: “We’re working with local authorities and other bodies that run open spaces. People have been encouraged to go out and exercise, it’s very clear it’s taking a little bit of time for people to work out how this is going to operate.

“It’s such a significant change in everybody’s lives. This was made very clear last week by the chief constable – we’re going to do this through policing in Scotland as we always do.

“Engaging with communities, policing by consent and making sure that we do that in a courteous and respectful manner to keep the population safe.

“Of course everybody’s getting to grips with these changes that have come in so quickly.

“If there are repeated instances then the penalties rise very quickly and we’ll see if that has an impact.

“And of course, if people refuse to comply once they’ve been issued with a penalty notice, then a criminal offence has been committed and people can be arrested.”

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‘We value you’: McAvoy sends message to NHS workers

Actor James McAvoy has urged members of the public to join him in donating money to Masks for NHS Heroes.

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McAvoy: Donated £275,000 to NHS staff.

James McAvoy has said that he wanted to “start a conversation” so that NHS frontline workers who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic are aware of how much they are valued by the public.

The Hollywood star, who donated £275,000 to a campaign to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for health service staff, urged members of the public to follow suit and donate as much as they could to the crowdfunding initiative Masks For NHS Heroes.

X-Men actor McAvoy told Good Morning Britain: “One of the main reasons I wanted to give money, and why I upped the amount of money, was not just to get PPE across there, which is so important, but secondarily I’d say it was more to show a sign of support to the frontline staff.

“I’ve heard that morale is incredibly low and they’re feeling exposed and vulnerable and like they haven’t been supported properly.

‘I’ve heard that morale is incredibly low and they’re feeling exposed and vulnerable and like they haven’t been supported properly.’

James McAvoy

“They’ve got to protect their families, and I just wanted to help start a conversation that says to the NHS, we value you so much.

“They’ve saved my life and the lives of my family multiple times, and they probably will be doing it at some point in the near future again, so please please please know we value you.”

Glaswegian actor McAvoy, 40, described Covid-19 as “an invisible enemy that (NHS frontline staff) are fighting every day on our behalf”.

He said: “It’s an absolute war zone and we’re asking them to go and fight that war with no weaponry, no armour, and I’m sure it’s going to get fixed in the coming weeks and months, but in that interim, what is happening right now, the threats that they face and the threat of them passing it onto their patients and their patients’ families is huge, so you know every day that goes by without the correct PPE is an opportunity lost to save someone’s life.

“The sooner that we can get PPE in there, even donating £10, that might mean you might potentially save a life because you provided essential PPE to a healthcare provider in this essentially important time to get it done.”

He added: “These incredible doctors that have set this amazing initiative up, you can give money to that, but I think also we’ve got to protect those incredible doctors and surgeons and porters and the lady that fills the vending machine at the hospital, and we’ve got to protect all of those people by staying indoors, we’ve got to protect all of those people by social distancing and by taking it seriously, and I think people are starting to take it more seriously.”

The campaign Masks For NHS Heroes was set up by a group of four doctors, and has raised more than £900,000 so far.

Their mission is to “purchase certified PPE to donate directly to the NHS front line and protect staff and patients”.

Dr Mona Barzin, one of those behind the campaign, told the programme that McAvoy’s donation has helped them to raise a larger amount than they first thought.

She said: “We thought we’d get a small amount of donations, then James gave us his first initial amount, which was also incredible, but then he upped it and it took us to a completely different level.”

McAvoy also discussed how those in the acting community are feeling amid the pandemic, which has seen the UK and other countries put in a lockdown-style situation to adhere to social distancing measures.

He said: “A friend of mine, whilst we were social distancing, he came to borrow something and I chucked it out the window of our flat.

“I said, ‘How you doing, man?’ and he said, ‘You know it’s great, I’ve got no anxiety about my career, right now I’ve got the exact same career as Benedict Cumberbatch.”

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Firefighters tackle large blaze near Arthur’s Seat

Smoke can be seen billowing from the fire at the popular Edinburgh beauty spot.

Arthur's Seat: Large blaze.

Firefighters are tackling a large blaze near Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Smoke can be seen billowing from the fire as at least two fire engines and three police cars are in attendance.

At this stage it is unknown how the fire was started.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue service have been contacted for a statement.

More to follow.

Billy McNeill’s daughter appeals for help to find missing son

Matthew McCombe, 21, disappeared in Amsterdam during the early hours of March 14.

Missing: Matthew McCombe, 21, disappeared in Amsterdam more than two weeks ago.

The daughter of late Hoops legend Billy McNeill has made an emotional appeal to the club’s “Celtic family” for help in tracing her missing son.

Matthew McCombe, 21, disappeared in Amsterdam during the early hours of March 14.

After leaving a Novotel in the city, he was last seen at 8.15am on the Berlagebrug bridge heading east.

Posting on the Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee Facebook page, his mum, Paula McCombe, said: “I’m reaching out to you, the Celtic family, begging for your help to find my son, Matthew McCombe. 

“He has been missing in Amsterdam for over two weeks now and we are desperate to find him and bring him home. Our hearts are broken.”

I am the daughter of Billy McNeill.I'm reaching out to you, the Celtic family, begging for your help to find my son,…

Posted by Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee on Sunday, 29 March 2020

Ms McCombe, who previously asked for businesses and residents in the Amsteldijk area to save their CCTV footage, asked for her post to be shared far and wide.

She added: “Words cannot explain how desperate we are to find our son. Please, please help us.”

Celtic previously issued an appeal for help.

Posting a picture online, the club stated: “Celtic FC great Billy McNeill’s grandson, Matthew McCombe, 21, is currently missing in Amsterdam.

“Have you seen Matthew? Please share this, it may reach someone who has.”

Driver dies after crashing into bin and parked car

The 56-year-old man’s car collided with the large bin and silver Ford Fiesta at 'low speed' in Edinburgh.

Google 2020
Edinburgh: The crash happened on Spottiswoode Road on Sunday.

A driver has died after crashing into a bin and parked car in an Edinburgh street.

The 56-year-old man collided with the large bin and silver Ford Fiesta at “low speed” on Spottiswoode Road in Marchmont at around 9.20pm on Sunday.

Two members of the public found the man in his car and administered first aid until the arrival of paramedics.

He was then taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where it was confirmed he had died. No one else was injured in the crash.

The road was closed for almost two hours for investigation works.

The man’s family has been made aware and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Inspector Roger Park said: “Officers are carrying out enquiries at the moment to trace a route for the car prior to the collision.

“However, we would be keen to hear from anyone who has not already spoken to officers, who saw the car in Spottiswoode Road prior to the crash, or anyone with information that may assist with the enquiry.”

If you have any information, call 101.

Morrisons to restock food banks with £10m worth of groceries

The UK’s largest fresh foodmaker will run its bakery, egg, and fruit and veg packing site for an extra hour every day.

Morrisons: The supermarket chain will set aside £10m worth of groceries.

Supermarket chain Morrisons has pledged to donate £10m worth of groceries to help restock Britain’s food banks during the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK’s largest fresh foodmaker will run its bakery, egg, and fruit and veg packing site for an extra hour every day to make, prepare and pack food required to restock the food banks.

Morrisons will also be sending deliveries of ambient food – such as canned goods and pasta – to its stores to also give to local food banks. 

Altogether, £10m of food will be distributed to food banks by Morrisons community champions – in-store colleagues who work with the local community.

The company said food bank donations have “dried up rapidly” over the past two weeks with demand increasing.

To make it easier for customers to donate, purchase limits on items will be raised from three to four, and some removed altogether. 

Morrisons will also create ‘local’ drop off points for customers to donate products to those in need. 

Donation hubs in Morrisons’ recently repurposed in-store cafes will collect these additional products for local food banks.  

David Potts, CEO of Morrisons said: “As a food maker and shopkeeper we are uniquely placed to help. 

“We know food banks are finding life very difficult and running our manufacturing sites for an extra hour each day to help restock them is the right decision at this time. 

“The core purpose of all 96,537 colleagues at Morrisons is to play our full part in feeding the nation.”

EasyJet grounds entire fleet due to coronavirus outbreak

However, the airline will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

Airline: EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet.

EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airline said.

In a statement on Monday, the company said: “As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.

“Over recent days easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers. 

“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday, March 29. 

“We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

“At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

The airline also announced it has reached an agreement with union Unite on furlough arrangements for its cabin crew.

The deal will be effective from Wednesday for a two-month period and means cabin crew will be paid 80% of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme.

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Kevin Bridges: People will appreciate life more after pandemic

The Scots comic thinks once the outbreak is over people will appreciate the simple things.

Kevin Bridges: Using time to write new material.

Kevin Bridges has said he thinks people will appreciate the simple things in life more once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

With venues around the country shut, comedians are among those feeling the effects the lockdown is having on business.

He is using the quieter time to come up with new material for a future tour.

Bridges said he thinks once the outbreak is over people will take more time to enjoy the things they once took for granted before the restrictions were brought in.

He said: “It’s a really sad time but I hope we can get through it and get back to normal.

“I think people will appreciate life a bit more and focus on the bigger things and appreciate just being in the pub or going to a park or a comedy club, things you take for granted.”

The Scottish comic is using technology to keep in touch with people and is planning to make good use of the quieter time writing new material.

He told PA: “I’m working on a new tour with new material so I will be back to writing, I’ll be sitting in the house thinking of jokes.”

Bridges has also urged people to think of charities during the outbreak and to consider donating if they can afford to as many organisations will be struggling with events such as fundraisers postponed or cancelled.

He recently donated £20,000 to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) as a tribute to Dylan Hairstains, a boy he met at Robin House near Balloch in 2012.

Bridges has not forgotten the boy, originally from Lockerbie, who died aged 16 in 2012 after suffering complications from cystic fibrosis.

He said: “I went to visit him in the home, he had a PlayStation and we used to sit and play the computer and he came to a couple of my shows with his family and we kept in touch and had a laugh about football and sadly he passed away, and on Mother’s Day I thought it would be nice to do this.”

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