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Teen murdered man by stamping on face causing spine to sever

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had admitted killing Frank Sinclair but denied murdering him.

Glasgow High Court: The teenager was found guilty. Google 2019
Glasgow High Court: The teenager was found guilty.

A teenager has been convicted of murdering a 61-year-old man by stamping on his face so savagely his spine was severed from his head.

The 17-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had admitted killing Frank Sinclair but denied murdering him.

However on Tuesday, a jury found him guilty of murder after deliberating for around two hours. He now faces a life sentence.

The teenager gave evidence and admitted killing Mr Sinclair, stating: “I’ve still not got over it. I just feel destroyed.”

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the teen launched the murderous attack – stamping full force on Mr Sinclair’s face and neck at least two or three times – minutes after trying to help him.

The teenager and three female friends – all aged 16 or 17 – came across Mr Sinclair lying on the ground at the rear of Westwood Community Centre, Riverton Drive, East Kilbride, at around 8pm on January 19 last year.

Initially the teenager tried to help Mr Sinclair up, but became angry when they both over-balanced and fell to the ground.

The teen believed that Mr Sinclair had pushed him, causing him to scrape his face off the community centre wall.

The teen admitted: “I just lost my temper. I just lost it.”

He later stated: “I didn’t know what I did to him would kill him.”

Mr Sinclair had 19 injuries to his face and neck including a fractured Adam’s apple. A vertebrae at the top of his spine was severed causing internal decapitation.

David Henderson, 50, a friend of Mr Sinclair, said they had a couple of pints in the Westwood Bar and then bought Buckfast and drank it at the steps at the rear of the community centre.

He said of Mr Sinclair: “He was always happy. We were just having a blether at the stairs.”

He told the jury when he left after 6pm to go back to the pub, Mr Sinclair was sitting on the steps rolling a cigarette.

The teen was also found guilty of an unprovoked attack on an 18-year-old man by punching him on the head and body at Westwood Stores in East Kilbride about an hour before the murder.

Sentence was deferred until next month for a background report and an assessment of the danger he poses to the public.

Snow storms and gusty winds to sweep across Scotland

Yellow weather warnings have been put in place until 10pm on Saturday.

Storm: The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings.

Snow storms and gusty winds are expected to pummel Scotland throughout Saturday.

Yellow weather warnings have been put in place until 10pm.

While strong winds sweep across the country, snow and ice are expected on the outskirts of Stirling and Perth, right up to Inverness and Thurso in the Highlands.

The Met Office has advised that the snowfall will affect higher routes, leading to difficult driving conditions and icy patches.

Those out on foot are being warned to beware of untreated pavements and cycle paths.

The adverse weather is expected to bring travel disruption.

Loss of power and other services “is possible”, while coastal routes and sea fronts could be battered by spray and large waves.

Emergency: An ambulance got trapped in the floods on Friday.

On Friday, high winds and torrential rain caused chaos throughout Scotland.

A number of major routes were hit by the severe weather, including the M876 northbound at junction two and one lane of the M80 heading north.

An ambulance was left stranded by floodwaters in Paisley, while the wet conditions in the town led to the cancellation of the St Mirren and Hearts clash at the Simple Digital Arena.

High winds also saw the Forth Road Bridge closed to double-decker buses, motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Coronavirus becomes notifiable disease in Scotland

The list also includes cholera, rabies, measles and tuberculosis.

Coronavirus: The outbreak started in Wuhan in China.

The new coronavirus has been made a “notifiable disease” in Scotland, meaning medics must alert health boards if they suspect a patient is infected.

Public health regulations were amended to place Covid-19 on the list of notifiable diseases north of the border, which also includes cholera, rabies, measles and tuberculosis.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, has written to NHS boards, medical practitioners and directors of diagnostic laboratories to make them aware of the changes.

As of Friday afternoon, 368 people had been tested for coronavirus across Scotland, with all results negative.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Although all Scottish tests have so far been negative, we are prepared for the high likelihood that we will also see a positive case in Scotland.

“These changes keep our public health legislation up-to-date, ensuring the health service in Scotland can quickly respond, if a suspected case of coronavirus is confirmed.

“Our NHS is well-equipped to cope with any suspected cases. We are actively working with health boards to ensure this and have well-rehearsed procedures in place for infections of this kind.”

Whisky and cheese pairings among projects given funding

A total of 21 initiatives and businesses from across Scotland have been handed cash to promote locally-sourced food and drink.

Food: A range of initiatives and businesses have received funding.

A scheme to introduce whisky and cheese pairings at distilleries and restaurants is among projects awarded Scottish Government food and drink funding.

A total of 21 regional initiatives and businesses from across Scotland have been handed cash to promote locally-sourced food and drink.

They will share £95,550 from the Connect Local Regional Food Fund, which is supported by the Scottish Government.

Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland has been given £3450 for a range of projects, including ways to promote cheese as a pairing to whisky at distillery visitor centres and in restaurants.

Rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon announced the funding on a visit to IJ Mellis Cheesemonger in Edinburgh, where she met some of the producers in the group.

The cheesemonger has previously held whisky and cheese tasting events, recommending matching fruity drams with creamy cheeses and blue cheese with peaty tipples.

Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland chairwoman Jane Stewart said the funding will enable the group to boost its marketing of Scottish cheeses.

She said: “Whisky is already such an established Scottish product, recognised as such the world over, and artisan cheese-making is an up-and-coming thing in Scotland once again – and the two go together superbly.”

Ms Stewart said she was “astonished” to find out how well-matched the products are and has already has success with a whisky and cheese event in the US.

She added: “We are proud to be producing award-winning cheeses and excited about targeting different sectors so more people have the opportunity to enjoy our wonderful cheeses, which are part of the diverse selection of food and drink Scotland has to offer the world.”

Ms Gougeon said: “I have been hugely impressed by the standard and range of food and drink initiatives across Scotland.

“Innovative projects like these not only help local economies grow, they also promote the importance of locally-produced food and drink, and the environmental benefits of sourcing produce close to home.

“This fund helps collaborative groups such as Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland create new opportunities for small businesses and producers, and promotes Scotland’s world-leading food and drink sector.”

Other projects given funding include £5000 each for a pop-up shop from Lerwick fish market in Shetland, ScotRumFest 2020 and the Taste of Orkney Festival.

Children aged three and one killed with parents in crash

Family of four died at the scene of crash on the A82 near Fort William.

Two young children and their parents have been killed in a crash on the A82 near Fort William.

A 26-year-old woman, a 25-year-old man, a three-year-old girl and a one-year-old girl, who were all in a Mini Cooper, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The two-vehicle collision, which also involved a Ford Fiesta, took place on the A82 by Hillfarm, Torlundy, around 5.30pm on Thursday.

Superintendent Simon Bradshaw, of Police Scotland’s road policing unit, said: “I can sadly confirm that four people have died – a female driver, 26, a male front seat passenger, 25, and two children – both girls aged three and one. All four were travelling in a green Mini Cooper.

“Further details will be confirmed in due course but I can confirm that they were a family. Specialist officers have been deployed to provide support to their relatives at this extremely difficult time.”

The road was closed for around 11 hours after the crash, which also saw the 56-year-old female Fiesta driver taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Supt Bagshaw said the crash scene had been “extremely challenging” for the emergency services involved.

He added: “An investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances leading to this tragedy and it would be wrong for me to speculate on the cause at this time.”

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and the new finance secretary, tweeted: “This is extremely sad news. Thinking of the families and friends who are dealing with the shock of all of this.”

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash to contact them on 101.

Two women struck by falling sign outside Marks and Spencer

The pedestrians were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after the sign was dislodged in strong winds.

Emergency services at the scene in Argyle Street.

Two women have been taken to hospital after a city centre shop sign fell down during strong winds.

The incident happened outside the Marks and Spencer store in Argyle Street in Glasgow at around 3pm.

The two women were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where their condition is not yet known.

Social media footage showed emergency personnel at the scene and a police cordon where the incident happened.

Weather conditions have been wet and blustery but it is not known whether that was a factor.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police were called at 3pm after two females were struck by signage that appears to have fallen from a storefront on Argyle Street.

“Both have been taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) also attended.

A SAS spokesman said: “We received a call at 2.55pm to attend an incident on Argyle Street in Glasgow.

“We dispatched one ambulance crew to the scene.”

An M&S spokesperson said: “Extreme weather caused an incident outside our Glasgow Argyle Street store this afternoon.

“We’re grateful to the emergency services for responding so efficiently.

“Our engineers have ensured the surrounding area is safe and our store remains open.”

Man ‘forced his way into flat before murdering girlfriend’

Keith Rizzo, 23, is accused of killing Neomi Smith at her flat in Brechin last summer.

Court: Keith Rizzo has been accused of murdering Neomi Smith.

A man has gone on trial charged with the murder of his girlfriend.

Keith Rizzo, 23, is accused of killing Neomi Smith at her flat in Brechin, Angus, on June 9 last year.

It is claimed he initially forced entry to the property and compressed Miss Smith’s neck, restricting her breathing.

Rizzo is then said to have repeatedly struck the 23-year-old on the head and body with knives.

Rizzo faces a separate charge of assaulting Miss Smith to her injury and danger of life between May 5 and June 8, 2019.

Prosecutors claim this happened at her flat and Hudson’s Bar in Brechin.

The charge includes accusations Rizzo hit Miss Smith’s head off a wall, punched her and caused her to lose consciousness by again compressing her neck.

He is further charged with threatening and abusive behaviour against Miss Smith.

Rizzo also faces allegations involving four other women – three described on the indictment as his “ex-partner”.

These accusations span between December 2014 and May 2019.

Mary Saville – one of the women listed – was the first witness to testify in the trial at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.

She told prosecutor Duncan McPhie they had been in a relationship after they started dating in 2014.

The 23-year-old support worker went on to allege a number of assaults at the hands of Rizzo.

She claimed the first was in his bedroom at his mum’s flat in Brechin.

Miss Saville said: “I was pushed into a sliding glass-mirrored door which smashed.”

The witness then recalled “things becoming physical” on a later date at her mum’s home in the town.

She initially alleged being shoved against a door.

Mr McPhie asked: “What happened to your neck?”

Miss Saville responded: “He compressed my neck while I was against the door.”

The witness further claimed she was “kicked in the ribcage”.

Miss Saville told jurors they split in 2016 after an incident at her home in Aberdeen.

She recalled confronting a “drunk” Rizzo about a message she had discovered.

Miss Saville claimed she had to leave her home before police were alerted.

Crown witness Murron Wallace said her and Rizzo had been “friends with benefits”.

But, she recalled him being “controlling and jealous”.

Mr McPhie asked: “In what way did he speak to you?”

The 19-year-old student replied: “He was very nasty and manipulative.

“He called me every name you could think of. He tried to belittle me, make me feel like I was nothing.”

Miss Wallace told jurors she stopped seeing Rizzo after they returned from America.

She later discovered he had been cheating on her.

Rizzo’s QC Donald Findlay asked: “You would confront him about that?”

Miss Wallace: “He denied it.”

The witness said police spoke to her during the inquiry into Ms Smith’s death.

Rizzo denies the charges and the trial, before Lady Rae, continues.

School pupils’ exam performance falls by up to 10%

Rate and number of pupils getting passes in core Higher classes dropped significantly.

Exam: Report reveals drop.

School pupils’ exam performance has fallen by up to 10%, according to a new Scottish Government report.

Figures show the rate and number of pupils getting passes in core Higher classes dropped significantly.

The government was accused of trying to avoid scrutiny by releasing the report at 8pm on Thursday.

Scottish Conservative education secretary Jamie Greene said: “This is a snide and cynical move by an SNP government which is increasingly in crisis across all of Scotland’s public services.

“There are clearly major and systematic problems within our education system that the SNP simply refuses to acknowledge or take action on.”

“The SNP is failing an entire generation of our children and our once world-leading education system is increasingly losing the faith of parents, pupils and teachers.”

A total of 1515 fewer pupils passed their Higher English exam – a reduction of 5.5% on the previous year and the lowest number since 2014.

Passes dropped by 8.8% – or 178 students – for those sitting Advanced Higher exams in the subject.

Higher maths saw the pass rate fall by 2.1% – the first decline since 2014 – while Higher history pass rates plunge by 14.6% overall and by 10% in A-C grades.

Advanced Higher maths saw the number of passes increase by 1.6%.

Sciences had total passes up 1.6% at a Higher level, with subjects including chemistry, physics, biology and human biology.

Those sitting the subjects at Advanced Higher – not including human biology – saw the number of passes fall by 14.1%, although there was a 13% reduction in those sitting the tests.

Speaking after the publication, Education Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government regularly monitors and analyses performance to inform decision-making.

“Taken together, this analysis demonstrates good progress in a number of areas and that it is challenging to identify significant drivers of change or to draw firm conclusions about some subjects due to small numbers of entries.

“The analysis has however identified areas that justify further exploration and highlight actions that have been agreed.

“My key areas of focus are to ensure that curriculum and assessment are aligned, how to better support professional learning and development, and maintaining a clear focus on enhancing learning and teaching.

“I will continue to do that in my regular discussions with partners on performance.”

Man fights for life after ‘being pushed down station stairs’

Police charge man with attempted murder after 58-year-old attacked at Edinburgh Haymarket station.

The alleged attack took place at Edinburgh Haymarket station on Thursday night.

A man is fighting for his life after allegedly being pushed down the stairs at a train station following an argument.

The 58-year-old suffered serious head injuries at Edinburgh Haymarket just before 10pm on Thursday night.

A 32-year-old man also suffered facial injuries after allegedly being assaulted on the platform.

Marc McKinnlay, 35, from Cowdenbeath, Fife, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday charged with attempted murder and assault. He made no plea and was released on bail.

Detective inspector Brian McAleese, from British Transport Police, said: “I’d now urge anyone who may have witnessed the incident or the events leading up to it to get in touch with us as soon as possible to assist with our enquiries.”

Actor Brian Cox ‘honoured’ to lead New York tartan parade

Dundee-born star will head the celebration of Scottish culture for a second time.

Brian Cox previously led the Tartan Day Parade eight years ago.

Hollywood star Brian Cox is to lead the New York City Tartan Day Parade for a second time.

The Golden Globe winner will lead around 3000 participants including solo pipers, drummers, full pipe bands and Highland dancers in his role as grand marshal of the event in April.

The Dundee-born actor previously led the procession in 2012 while other grand marshals have included Sir Billy Connolly, Sean Connery, Alan Cumming, KT Tunstall and Sam Heughan.

Last year around 50,000 people turned out to watch participants march from 45th Street to 55th Street up Sixth Avenue in the parade, led by Sir Billy.

Cox said: “I’m honoured to be returning to my role of a lifetime – grand marshal of the New York City Tartan Day Parade.

“America holds a dear place in my heart and to be able to celebrate my heritage and homeland of Scotland along with thousands of New Yorkers is a feeling unlike any other.”

It is the first time since the parade, now in its 22nd year, moved to Sixth Avenue in 2002 that a previous Grand Marshal has been asked to take up the role again, organisers said.

The announcement comes just weeks after Cox won best actor in a TV drama at the Golden Globe awards in LA for his role as ageing media magnate Logan Roy in Succession.

The parade is one of the highlights of New York City Tartan Week, which has a full programme of special events taking place throughout Manhattan between April 1 and 5.

Kyle Dawson, president of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome back Brian Cox as grand marshal of this year’s New York City Tartan Day Parade in April.

“For 40 years, he has wowed the masses with his incredible acting – whether it be in his role as Hannibal in Manhunter or, most recently, his portrayal of media magnate Logan Roy.

“His love of America runs as deep as the love he has for his Scottish roots, making him the perfect Scot to lead our parade. See you all in April.”

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