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Dead end?

IT IS 7.10pm on a freezing November night in Crescent Road and a chill wind is whipping in from the Moray Firth. The Nairn United Reform Church is cloaked in darkness but the Havelock House Hotel on the opposite corner is bathed in light - befitting the summer residence of the Emir of Jaipur who, bizarrely, built this elegant home as his refuge during the Indian mutiny of 1857.

Beyond, a row of imposing Victorian stone villas stretch away into the gloom and only one, a three-storey building with stone balustrades outside the first floor windows, stands out. Here, at No 10, a single overhead lamp illuminates an imposing blue door at the top of a small staircase flanked by decorative iron railings.

No one is around in the early evening calm. The pub, whose front entrance faces directly on to No 10, is in the quiet time before drinkers congregate for an evening's entertainment. Along the street, curtains are closed against the autumn chill. Families are cocooned inside, watching TV, eating their evening meals, bathing their children before bed. It could be a small town street anywhere in Scotland.

Two years ago at the same time, it must have looked the same when a short, stocky man, wearing a dark jacket and baseball cap, walked down Crescent Road and stopped outside No 10. He then ascended the stone steps and rang the bell next to the blue door. Inside was the owner Alistair Wilson, a 30-year-old bank executive, his wife Veronica and their two sons, Andrew, four, and two-year-old Graham. Alistair was about to read a story to his two sons as they settled down to bed. It was Veronica who opened the front door to the caller and in the process unwittingly unleashed the chain of events that led to the brutal killing of her husband, one of the biggest manhunts in Scottish police history - that has so far cost more than £1.5m - and a murder mystery that, two years on, continues to perplex seasoned detectives.

They have a description of the killer, and have the gun that was used to fire three bullets into Alistair's body, leaving him dying on his doorstep. What they do not have is any sort of motive.

Next week, the police officer in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Peter McPhee, accompanied by Veronica, will use the second anniversary of the killing on November 28 to renew their appeals for any new leads. It may be a forlorn hope as even a £10,000 reward for information, offered from the early days of the investigation, has failed to prove a sufficient lure. The 10 police officers still working full-time on the case are running out of options. The rumours of who was behind the murder - a business enemy, a cuckolded husband, mistaken identity, even his wife - have all been checked thoroughly and dismissed.

"It's very frustrating. No motive for this crime has become apparent," admits a spokesman for Northern Constabulary, before adding bullishly: "But we have always said we are in this for the long haul and this is very much an ongoing investigation."

Little more is known now about the shooting than what emerged in the immediate aftermath. Hearing the bell, Veronica opened the door to the caller who asked for her husband by name. Alistair broke off from the children and spoke to the visitor, who handed him a blue or green envelope, the contents of which are still unknown. He went back inside his house and spoke to his wife, saying he didn't know who the caller was. He returned to the front door, spoke briefly to the man, who then pulled out a handgun and shot him three times in the head and body at close range.

When Veronica reached the front door, Alistair lay dying in a pool of blood and she says she glimpsed the man, presumably after retrieving the mysterious envelope, running off up Crescent Road. She ran across to the Havelock House for help. Two nurses out for a Sunday evening drink tried to resuscitate Alistair but he was dead before he had travelled the 16 miles into Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. The police were called at 7.13pm and immediately launched a manhunt - but they were too late. The killer had vanished. Just a few yards from Crescent Road, the open expanse of Nairn Links stretches far into the darkness.

A major breakthrough appeared to be in hand when, 10 days later, the gun used to kill the banker was found in a drain by council workmen. But that lead has now fizzled out, leaving Northern Constabulary facing criticism about its lack of headway in the case. In its defence, it proffers a ream of statistics that reveal that if Alistair's killer is never caught it will not be for the want of trying. The number of statements taken now numbers more than 3,200, and 8,000 names have been fed into the national police computer database. Almost 400 homes have been visited and more than 4,000 people interviewed. More than 200 DNA samples have been taken and the number of other Alistair Wilsons interviewed in the search for a possible explanation of mistaken identity totals 19.

Almost 1,700 documents have been collected and 1,730 vehicles checked. Although the number of officers now working full-time on the baffling case is down to 10, it originally stood at 63. The force points out that its conduct of the investigation has twice been subjected to the scrutiny of independent officers and, it says, has not been found wanting.

Nothing has so far been discovered in a painstakingly thorough trawl of Alistair's personal or professional life to suggest a motive. Initially promising lines of inquiry have so far yielded nothing. The gun is a Haenel-Suhl Schmeisser pocket pistol made in Germany between 1922 and 1926. Although the inquiry team tracked down the 70-year-old son of the manufacturer, factory records only date back to 1932, so the trail of ownership could not be traced. The 6.35mm bullets were made by a Czech firm, Sellier & Bellott, between 1983 and 1993. But although 600 gun owners who bought, or could have bought, the bullets have been interviewed, the trail has again gone cold.

There have been TV appeals for information, an extensively covered press conference to mark the first anniversary of the murder and the release of harrowing video extracts in which a child psychologist tells Andrew his father is not coming back. Veronica agreed to subject herself to a prime-time breakfast show and not only early viewers were watching. One veteran detective said: "Having watched the interview, I don't think she had anything to do with it. There are certain reactions you just can't hide."

One remaining hope, albeit a slim one, is the human DNA samples found around the scene of the crime. Of the 19 initially unidentified, there is one that remains to be pinpointed to an individual. This was found on a discarded cigarette butt and the genetic information has been fed into the national police DNA database. A police insider said: "The fact that we have a DNA hit is very significant. It may be the case that the breakthrough could come if he's [the gunman] brought in for something totally different, even a breach of the peace."

But Ian Stephen, an Edinburgh-based forensic psychologist who has advised on TV sleuth series such as Cracker and Prime Suspect, believes that as time passes the case will become even more difficult to solve. "The police have done just about everything they possibly could have and found nothing. All they can do now is basically hope and pray for a new line of evidence.

"It is an unusual case because there appears to be no indication as to why it happened. Hits like this in Scotland are usually drugs related, where there is a debt or a grudge, but this doesn't apply in this case. It also doesn't appear to have been a crime of passion."

The crime scene also appears to be a strange place for a contract killing, Stephen said. "It is such a public place. He was on the doorstep for some time so the chances of him being seen, opposite a busy pub, must have been quite high. It was very, very risky."

Despite the lack of evidence, however, theories still abound in the bars of Nairn. As Alistair was involved in banking, could he have slighted a hard-nosed businessman who had wanted a loan? Was it simply a case of mistaken identity? Was there an adulterous affair? Police have exhaustively gone down this route and found nothing. As one local put it: "If he [Alistair] was up to no good then he must have been extremely clever about covering his tracks."

As Scotland on Sunday reports today, suspicion still inevitably falls on Veronica, which, she acknowledges herself, is unsurprising in such a bizarre case. Yet police have repeatedly insisted there is nothing to link her to the crime. A police source said: "It's pretty much standard to suspect someone in the family at first, or at least consider it as an active option. But the more this was looked into, the clearer it was that she had nothing to do with it."

The 11,000 residents of Nairn have had no choice other than to get on with their lives. Last week, as usual, elderly ladies were out walking their dogs on Nairn Links. Groups of children were making their way home from school past the Victorian-style bandstand. On the famous golf course, players wrapped up against the chill were heading for the 19th hole. The High Street was buzzing with shoppers.

The Wilson killing has not been forgotten but it no longer has immediate relevance to the lives of the town's residents. Only one poster showing a smiling Alistair and asking for information is on display - outside Nairn's small police station, encased inside a salt-encrusted wooden display cabinet with a broken lock.

Sandy Park, the provost for the past eight years and a no-nonsense local butcher, said: "Of course there was a great deal of initial shock but what happened is way outside the experience of most of the people who live here.

"Nairn is a holiday resort and one of the most crime-free towns in the north of Scotland if not the whole of Scotland. The last murder we had was 20 years ago and the previous one 15 before that; both related to drink or women or provocation or some such easily-found motive.

"What is strange about this is the mystery element of it. If there had been an obvious motive it would have been solved by now."

Although many expected Veronica Wilson to leave Nairn after the shooting, she has decided to stay, and her eldest son is now at the local primary school. She returned home three weeks after the killing and has talked about how her children simply headed for their toy room as if nothing had happened. She prefers callers to use the back door but has steeled herself for those with no knowledge of the crime ringing the front door bell.

Park says he is pleased she has decided to stay: "She seems to have a close circle of friends who have helped her through. But she and her husband came to stay in Nairn in the first place because it is a wonderful place to live and I still believe that to be the case."

The whole town, Park adds, shares Mrs Wilson's sense of frustration. "All we can hope is that some sort of breakthrough comes very soon." Veronica herself has said that she and her children will be unable to grieve properly until the case is solved. Two years on, they are still waiting.

The hunt for the killer

NOVEMBER 28, 2004 Alistair Wilson is shot dead on the doorstep of his home in Nairn.

DECEMBER 6 Crimestoppers put up £10,000 reward for information to help catch the killer.

DECEMBER 8 Council workmen find a handgun in a drain half a mile from Crescent Road.

DECEMBER 10 Veronica Wilson talks publicly for the first time of the murder and says she cannot understand why anyone would want to kill her husband.

DECEMBER 14 Police confirm the gun found is the murder weapon.

DECEMBER 20 A memorial service is held for Wilson in Nairn.

JANUARY 31, 2005 Police begin taking DNA samples of people who were in the area at the time of the shooting.

FEBRUARY 7 Police appeal for help in tracing a Honda 4x4 they believe could be significant to inquiry.

FEBRUARY 17 Mrs Wilson gives an interview and denies being involved in the shooting.

APRIL 6 Wilson's funeral is held in Fort William.

APRIL 12 Police release details of the murder weapon, an early 20th-century pocket pistol made in Germany, as part of a BBC Crimewatch appeal for information.

MAY 29 Cost of inquiry reaches £380,000.

JUNE 15 Police reveal that DNA tests on the murder weapon do not provide any clues to the killer's identity.

NOVEMBER 1 Police release details of Mrs Wilson's 999 emergency call and an extract from six-year-old Andrew's interview with a child psychologist.

NOVEMBER 4 Police receive more than 30 calls after two television programmes about the killing.

NOVEMBER 28 One year on and Mrs Wilson tells a press conference of her "utter disbelief" that the killer has not been caught. She says she and her children will not be able to grieve properly until the case is solved. The costs of the investigation break through the £1m mark.

JANUARY 2006 Detectives fly to Germany and the Czech Republic to begin tracking down the detailed history of the gun and purchasers of the type of bullets used. Both lines of inquiry eventually fizzle out.

MAY 24 During an interview for ITV's This Morning, Mrs Wilson reveals her son Andrew referred to the killer as "the Bad Man. This person came at the children's bedtime, and that's a big fear."

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Reply with quote  #92 
24 November 2006
Gordon Brown

IN A WORLD that is changing faster than ever, you cannot afford to stand still.

Thankfully in Scotland the choices we have made in the past 10 years mean we are going in the right direction to make the best of the opportunities for the future.

Today, there are 200,000 more jobs than in 1997 and 200,000 more Scots own their own homes.

There are also 130,000 children who have been taken out of poverty.

From the winter allowance to the pension credit, and here in Scotland help with personal care, more pensioners are better off.

And this is just the start.

In the next few years, we want to advance further and faster to full employment.

We want to invest heavily in education so that Scots children are up there with the best educated and most skilled youngsters in the world.

We want more Scots to be able to buy their homes or to rent highstandard accommodation.

Under our pensions bill, pensioners will enjoy higher standards of living in retirement.

The real danger is giving in to those who want to throw Scotland into reverse.

As I meet governments from all over the world, I see at first hand the two great forces shaping the 21st century - globalisation and interdependence.

Globalisation means we can buy our goods from anywhere and industries can locate anywhere, putting pressure on advanced industrial economies like Scotland to adapt and change.

And while people used to talk of the age of independence, now the talk everywhere is of the age of interdependence.

This a recognition that whether because of a shared environment or shared security threats - or shared needs for economic stability - we are all in this together.

No nation can survive without a strong relationship with others. So instead of separating, nations are coming together.

That's why, in the 21st century, being part of Britain gives Scotland a decisive advantage. Our partnership in Britain gives Scotland a shared economic stability - the best foundation for growth.

And devolution gives us the best chance to make Scotland's public services world-class and make our education system the best in the world.

Stability and skills will give Scotland a chance to be a global success story of the 21st century.

Ten years ago, people thought of Scotland as deprived.

Today, there are more Scots in work than ever before.

Scots income per head has been rising and child poverty is falling faster in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. Ten years ago, people thought London would never cede power from the centre.

Today, Scotland's parliament makes decisions that matter.

Ten years ago, people said devolution was a slippery slope to separation.

Today, growing family ties, deepening economic links and shared values mean that Scotland and England are more closely linked than ever before.

Why? First, we've found that half of Scots have relatives in England.

Two-and-a-half-million people in Scotland have family in England. Almost one in six Scots make their home south of the Border. And 400,000 people who live in Scotland are English-born.

These are signs of countries moving closer together, not further apart.

Second, England is our biggest export market and buys more of our goods and services than we do ourselves.

Sure, America, Japan and Asia are important markets. Mainland Europe is important.

But the vast majority of exports go to England.

In the financial services sector, 90 per cent of our exports go south of the Border.

In 10 out of 11 industry sectors, the rest of Britain buys more than half of what we export - and in the 11th, the rest of Britain is the destination for 45 per cent of our manufacturing exports.

Scotland's economic future and Britain's economic future are inextricably linked.

And third, we've found that Scotland's values - a belief in fairness, social responsibility and internationalism - are also those of modern Britain.

What we share is far greater than what separates us.

Over 300 years, we have built links which have strengthened us all. Links which are developing and which it would be folly to sever.

But Britain shows that ancient nations like Scotland and England can gain strength from coming together while retaining and celebrating our own identities.

And in this way, Britain is the model for the future of the modern way to live in an interdependent world.

Break-up would bring isolationism when the world needs greater, not less, integration and more not less co-operation.

Almost every nation in Europe is looking for ways to come closer together, economically and, to an extent, politically. But in Scotland, we created a single market with a single currency 300 years ago - it is called Britain.

So what must we do to make Scotland the success story of the coming century?

Economic stability and growth within the UK - not a destabilising separate currency and separate border controls - will give us the platformfor prosperity.

Years of building educational excellence, not years of debilitating constitutional wrangling, will give us a comparative advantage in the global economy.

Devolution in Scotland - and in Wales, London and hopefully Northern Ireland - has modernised Britain.


We have earned our prosperity through close economic links with the rest of Britain. We share values throughout these islands.

Scotland's prosperity can grow further in the coming decades if we make the right long-term decisions

And in the coming months, a real choice lies ahead.

We can take the high road and make the most of our Scottish parliament within the UK - building on stability, investing in education and creating jobs.

Or we can succumb to the low road, a nationalist break-up of the UK which would mean a focus on constitutions, not prosperity, and lead to job losses and instability.

We are stronger together, weaker apart.



(Sounds just like Jack McConnell eh?)


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Reply with quote  #93 



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Reply with quote  #94 

SNP has 'date with destiny'...

SNP leader Alex Salmond looks hopefully to May's Holywood polls

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has a "date with destiny" at next May's Holyrood polls, leader Alex Salmond has declared.

He told the SNP conference in Perth today that his party was "in the business of hope", he was standing for the job of Scottish first minister "and we are running to win".

The SNP is in a buoyant mood as it gathers just seven months before the Scottish parliamentary elections next year. The party is catching up with Labour in the opinion polls and the support for independence among voters is high.

A recent YouGov poll found that 44 per cent would back an independent Scotland, compared to 42 per cent who would not, and today Mr Salmond said the SNP would "ride on the crest of a wave – this time, in our time, there will be change for Scotland".

He condemned the record of the Scottish executive, saying his country had been "let down", and condemned the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition for their "total lack of ambition" in promoting Scottish interests.

Although Mr Salmond took some pot shots at his political opponents, including Gordon Brown, who was "not fit to be prime minister", he concentrated on providing a vision for what the SNP could do in government.

He said: "To the nurse struggling in the ward, to the fisherman worrying about losing his boat, to the young couple trying to get a foot on the housing ladder, to the farmer trying to get a start in the industry, to the student struggling with loan debt, to the shopkeeper trying to compete with the big battalions.

"To these people and to many more, the message from this conference is – we have heard you, we're coming and we are bringing hope and change for Scotland."

He reiterated his pledges on free education, unilateral nuclear disarmament and to pull troops out of the "political misadventure" that was Iraq. And he accused the "dead hand of the British Treasury" for stalling Scotland's economic growth.

On the key issue of the environment, Mr Salmond also pledged to make Scotland Europe's "clean green energy powerhouse", citing a recent report by Professor Stephen Salter showing the country could produce five times the green energy it needs.

But he stressed: "We need to think big, not act small. Because Scotland, our infinite Scotland, is not small."

However, a Labour party spokesman said: "It's time the SNP were honest about the choice voters face next year – more doctors, nurses, police and teachers with Labour or separation and isolation with Alex Salmond's nationalists.

"Voters face a clear choice in 2007 – Labour will deliver investment in schools and hospitals, tough action on crime and a strong, stable economy.

"The SNP are determined to break up Britain, damaging jobs and injecting risk and uncertainty into the Scottish economy."

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #95 
  • Controversial tycoon reveals what goes on behind her castle gates
  • Attempted art thefts and camera surveillance add to rich couple's woes
  • Revelations come as the Gloags strive to keep their property's fence up and the undesirables out

Key quote "Most of the reasons Mr McCleary gave in court seem spurious. There are plenty of people living in the centre of cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow who have valuables, but do not need an exclusion zone. If the Gloags feel threatened they should install adequate security - there are plenty of ways of securing their possessions without a fence." - Ian McCall of Ramblers Association Scotland

Story in full THE castle of Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag was targeted for an audacious art heist, her husband told a court yesterday as part of the couple's battle to keep ramblers off their country estate.

David McCleary, 56, a businessman, said he and his millionaire wife, who want to keep the perimeter fence they installed at Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire, said the plot emerged after one of their staff was approached by a criminal in a nightclub asking for details of paintings owned by his wife.


Mr McCleary, giving evidence at the latest instalment of the court case, described how he and his wife were already under surveillance from people pointing telescopic lenses through their baronial gates.

Asked by Mike Jones, QC, representing Mrs Gloag at Perth Sheriff Court, what it would be like to live in their castle without a fence, Mr McCleary replied: "Madness. Unless I had a gun you wouldn't want to be there. I have had to call the police three times in the last six weeks."

Describing the attempted heist, Mr McCleary told the court: "One member of staff was approached in a nightclub and asked about particular paintings in Beaufort and Kinfauns.

"He was a known criminal. Police said there was an embryo plot to steal items, which was nipped in the bud."

Mr McCleary also revealed the fence served a secondary purpose - keeping Mrs Gloag's elderly father, who is prone to wandering off, within the confines of the estate.

Mr McCleary said: "We have lost him on several occasions when he goes out on what we call walkabout, but we have found him in the garden or various areas of the house."

Mrs Gloag is the first landowner in Scotland to try to exempt part of her property from right-to-roam legislation and has gone to court to try to keep walkers off her land.

Mr McCleary said his wife's main benefit in buying a large estate and castle like Kinfauns is that "she is able to entertain her friends in privacy".

On a previous occasion the court heard guests had included royalty and foreign leaders.

Mr McCleary, who married Mrs Gloag in 1990 after his first wife died in a car crash, said the fence - subject of the dispute with Perth and Kinross Council and the Ramblers Association - was vital for security and privacy.

But Ian McCall, campaign and policy director of Ramblers Association Scotland, said he believed the Gloags were overstating the need for a fence.

"People like Mohamed al-Fayed, who has an estate in Ross-shire, and the Queen at Balmoral, both of whom are far wealthier than Ann Gloag, allow people to walk through their land and seem to manage fairly well.

"Most of the reasons Mr McCleary gave in court seem spurious. There are plenty of people living in the centre of cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow who have valuables, but do not need an exclusion zone.

"If the Gloags feel threatened they should install adequate security - there are plenty of ways of securing their possessions without a fence."

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 came into effect in February 2005 and gives a statutory right of access to most land and water, so long as the right is exercised responsibly. The court hearing, before Sheriff Michael Fletcher, continues.

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Comments Add your comment

1. Ginster's Pastie / 1:21am 28 Nov 2006

Can't say I have much sympathy for this family of maggots who used questionable business practices to squash their opponents, then hiked prices once they had local monopolies.

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2. Faye, Scotland / 1:29am 28 Nov 2006

"Controversial tycoon reveals what goes on behind her castle gates" ....

Who cares about what goes on behind her castle gate....this is jump up tosh?

"Revelations come as the Gloags strive to keep their property's fence up and the undesirables out"...

Guess the undesirables should stay well clear of their buses.

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3. Peter Cherbi, Edinburgh / 1:49am 28 Nov 2006

"He was a known criminal. Police said there was an embryo plot to steal items, which was nipped in the bud."

.. and the Police claims/report on that one was produced as evidence ?

Sounds like someone's got so used to power, they want to have an exclusion zone around their house too. What's next - no fly zone ?

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4. Ginster's Pastie / 2:22am 28 Nov 2006

And exactly how did the police nip this in the bud - it's a lot of poop spouted by businessmen with zero scruples, or regard for decency.

If you're such a tool as to want to live in a castle, you gotta take the rough with the even rougher.

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5. Wisnaeme, Sent to Coventry. / 5:25am 28 Nov 2006

I would not condone crime but there is much to be said for the villains stealing herself and dumping her in an other country. Occasionally, very occasionally the notion of having an absetee landlord is to be welcomed.Take a long holiday Madam, and give folk a welcome break from youself, for you're no treasure thats for sure.

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6. Ian Perth, Perth / 7:37am 28 Nov 2006

The woman and her family are entiteled to feel secure in their own home. The family are only doing what any of us would do protecting our privacy and ensuring as far as possible that their grand childern have a place to play without people watching them.
I support peoples right to walk over the land and I support peoples right to resonable security the fence protects both the ramblers and the family.

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7. paulr / 8:28am 28 Nov 2006

I suppose this act means that we all have the right to walk through peoples gardens as and when we please, so how come holyrood palace has high fences and armed police?

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8. maestra / 8:46am 28 Nov 2006

Security is not really the issue...

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9. Ozzy, Perth / 8:51am 28 Nov 2006

After reading the Key quote by Ian McCall of Ramblers Association Scotland, I have come to the conclusion that he is an expert on security. Send him to Iraq and maybe he can help defend the borders there. How stupid to say that it is just as easy to secure an estate as it is a town house. Why do ramblers need to go anywhere near this house anyway? Don't they have enough beautiful countryside to walk through. Any rambler going near this house is just being nosey so leave these people alone.

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10. Ichabod / 8:52am 28 Nov 2006

I agree that folk have aright to privacy, a privacy often intruded upon by the media. I agree also that there are large areas of land that could be used by ramblers without harm to owners or occupiers.
It seems that here the owners just want to keep the plebs at bay. I understandthat, but there must be a way round this without the need of wasting court time.

I have been very unhappy with the way the bus company made its name. I do not think the companies action were acceptable from a 'Christian' perspective.
While there is nothing wrong in being 'rich,' and most of us are n comparison to the majority of the world, there is sonething not right with the behaviour of these folk here.

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11. Kay, Scotland / 9:18am 28 Nov 2006

Seems to me this issue is more about money and power than security, a case of 'who does she think she is.'

Hire some security guards, you can afford it and there is plenty of top notch digital secuiirity around, she can afford it.

Oh, and get a helper for daddy, and stop sounding helpless.

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12. George VII, Highland / 9:18am 28 Nov 2006

That's right, it's just the usual underhand tactics to get what they want. Although I'm not sure they're not encouraging exactly what they don't want, better to shut up and put up I reckon.

But if they want ultimate peace and security then piss off to an uninhabited island in the pacific for me.

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13. stonepark, Cumcock / 9:20am 28 Nov 2006

There is no right to ramble over the house or garden of a private property, however the fence in the above case also includes a large area outside this and that is why people have a problem.

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14. Scotty, Galloway / 9:24am 28 Nov 2006

Horrible woman deserves all she gets IMHO.

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15. Rubbersnap, just shaved! / 9:28am 28 Nov 2006

I was on a Stagecoach bus once ... and it was rightly named ... cos it was staffed by a bunch of cowboys who drove the buses like they they were being attacked by a band of marauding Commanche warriors firing arrows at them in a terrifying chase all the way down the M1.

I always go with Intercity now.

Same goes for Gloag and her brother. Their business practices were always suspect and they acted like underworld gang-bosses. That's how they went on to make trheir money

Maybe some enterprising souls will come along and put her under siege at her castle and she'll move away and her fence will be ripped down, the land rightfully going back to ramblers.

I thought Scotland didn't have laws of trespass. Wasn't it that the landholders' had to give right of access because they held the land for the crown, who held it for the people? It was something like that. A little clarification would be good.

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16. Privateman, East Lothian / 9:32am 28 Nov 2006

No paulr 7., this does NOT mean that we all have the right to walk through people's gardens. Areas such as domestic gardens and certain land around farmhouses are exempt from open access under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. I had to (successfully) defend my garden against my local council's attempts to argue that there was a right to open access across it. And no, it's not a huge estate like the subject of this article.
There remains a right to privacy, the question is how far can you take that? It seems, in this instance, that the owners believe protection of their family wealth is more important than access. That must be a matter of opinion and, ultimately, law.

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17. BGW / 9:37am 28 Nov 2006

These unpleasant thatcherite free-trade capitalists bought the castle kowing the proximity of a right of way, and now they wish to make a Holywood style private gated community of one family - how very democratic, aping American models of "classlessness" and property conferring absolute rights of disposition.
I have lived in places where rights of way went right by a front door - so what, I got used toit because i knew that was what the condition of living there was. The Gloags seem to have adopted a life style based on conspicuous consumption, flamboyant demonstration of wealth and new found influence - ah! the discrete charm of the nouvelle noblesse. When they can show more concern beyond their ane nebs, i still wouldn't have sympathy, because just maybe theywouldn't be advertising themselves as self-agrandised targets. So they have the right to steal public land and rights for themselves, typical.





The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #96 
29 November 2006

DETECTIVES hunting the killer of banker Alistair Wilson have admitted they are no further forward after two years.

Yesterday, on the second anniversary of his death, chief inspector Peter MacPhee admitted they still did not know who shot the 30-year-old dad-of-two on his doorstep in Nairn - or why.

Despite no breakthrough in the £2million murder hunt, Mr Wilson's widow, Veronica, 35, said she believed the killer would be caught.

She said: "I have every confidence they will find the person responsible. I still have a feeling of disbelief. I just can't believe that this could have happened and for this not to be solved."

She added that her son Andrew, five, still asks her: "Where is the bad man?'"

More than 500 police officers have been involved in what is the largest investigation ever mounted by Northern Constabulary.


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Reply with quote  #97 

MBE conman is stripped of honour
Michael Eke
Michael Eke received the honour from the Queen in 2003
A jailed ex-police worker who conned his way to an MBE has been stripped of the honour by the Queen.

Michael Eke, 38, of March, Cambridgeshire, was jailed for 18 months for theft and deception in October this year.

Norwich Crown Court heard he had pocketed thousands of pounds in lottery grants given for events for young people that never happened.

He had been presented with the MBE for "services to the community".

Following the trial, Judge Paul Downes said Eke had gone to "ridiculous lengths" and had "acted shamelessly" to get what he wanted.

He sentenced him to 18 months in prison on each of the 14 charges of theft and deception to run concurrently and ordered that he served nine months also running concurrently for forging his MBE application.

Eke had carried out an elaborate plan to get himself on the honours list and get an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2003.

In a little over four years, Eke obtained £66,000 by a number of sophisticated deceptions.


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Huge Beirut rally demands change
Demonstrators gather at the prime minister's offices in Beirut

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies have held a mass rally in Beirut to protest against Lebanon's government.

Amid tight security, demonstrators chanted slogans denouncing Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

The opposition says it will keep up the pressure until the government resigns.

The protests follow weeks of rising tension in Lebanon, with the killing of a leading anti-Syrian politician and resignations from the cabinet.

Mr Siniora has vowed to resist what he called an attempted coup.

Hezbollah has been demanding a bigger share in the cabinet that would give it the power to veto government decisions.

We appeal to all Lebanese, from every region and political movement... to rid us of an incapable government
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah leader

Speaking from behind a bullet-proof glass screen, Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun said the government was not one of national unity and so was not constitutional.

"I call on the prime minister and his ministers to resign," he told the cheering crowd, many of them waving the flag of Lebanon.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has been emboldened by a conflict with Israeli forces in the summer that destroyed many parts of southern Lebanon but failed to shatter his movement's militia.

Hezbollah accuses the Lebanese government of failing to support it during the conflict.

However, the anti-Syrian parties that have the majority in government accuse Hezbollah of serving Syrian interests in their country.

'Incapable government'

Many supporters of Hezbollah and its allies, including the party headed by Mr Aoun, were brought to Beirut in buses for a demonstration that started at 1500 local time (1300 GMT).

Police estimated the crowd at 800,000 people, but Hezbollah said it was larger, said Associated Press news agency.

Lebanese soldier beneath poster of Hassan Nasrallah
Lebanese troops are guarding key buildings

Armoured vehicles and hundreds of troops have taken up positions to defend government buildings in the city, despite assurances from Sheikh Nasrallah that the protests would be peaceful.

According to BBC Beirut correspondent Kim Ghattas, Beirut feels like a city in a state of emergency.

Mr Siniora's government has vowed to stand firm against the protests - but the death or resignation of another two ministers will automatically topple it.

Syrian troops

Anti-Syrian Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told the BBC that Hezbollah was trying to block the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Fouad Siniora
Siniora warned any attempt to topple his government would fail

"The question is: What do they want? They only want to avoid the truth that is the international tribunal. This is the answer."

The government came to office last year in the first election held after the withdrawal of Syrian troops originally stationed in Lebanon during the civil war.

Syria was forced to withdraw its military presence after massive street protests and international pressure, triggered by the February 2005 assassination of Mr Hariri.

A UN investigation has implicated several Syrian officials in the killing - but Syria denies it is involved.

The government in Beirut also accused Damascus of ordering the assassination on 21 November of anti-Syrian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel.

Friday's protest had originally been scheduled for last week but was delayed after the assassination.


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Fiat filled with nine youths in car chase.

NINE teenagers crammed into a Fiat Punto were chased by police in the early hours of yesterday, the latest shocking example of dangerous driving by youngsters on Scotland's roads.

As Scotland on Sunday campaigns to reduce the toll of death and serious injury among young drivers, police told how officers spotted the car driving in an unusual fashion through the Ballangeich area of Stirling.

When they caught up with it, they detained six of the teenagers. Everyone in the car, including the driver, was under 18.

Police were unable to say where the extra bodies had been squeezed in and admitted they were unsure how so many people had fitted in.

A source at Central Scotland Police said: "Someone carrying this many in the car would be breaking a number of laws - the seatbelt laws for a start and there may also be an issue about careless driving."

Between 6pm on Friday and 6am yesterday, the force's traffic patrols attended 10 road incidents, including two drunk drivers and one involving drug-driving. Over the course of the night, five people suffered injuries, though none were serious.

Chief Inspector Donald MacMillan, head of road policing for Central Scotland Police, said: "This was a relatively quiet night. The incident with the nine in the Fiat was very unusual. What was probably most disturbing and disappointing was the drunk-driving and drug incidents, because the publicity campaign against that has only just started."

Inspector Colin Shillito, of Lothian and Borders Police, said there had been 28 crashes on the area's roads through the night, with two causing serious injury and eight involving minor injuries. He said: "This was relatively quiet. If you compare it to the same Friday night last year, we were down from 53 accidents, two with serious injuries."

Strathclyde Police reported 14 crashes over the period. There was one death and five minor injuries. A 28-year-old man died as a result of a crash on the Kingston Bridge at about 1.40am yesterday.

An accident near Larkhall in South Lanarkshire claimed the life of a 24-year-old man yesterday morning. The crash, which involved a Vauxhall Corsa and a Volvo lorry, happened around 11.25am on the A71 east of Canderside Toll.

Last week, the SNP pledged a series of measures aimed at clamping down on reckless driving among young motorists. Its manifesto for next year's Scottish Parliament elections will include plans for nighttime curfews and a ban on carrying teenage passengers. Road crashes are the biggest killer of 15- to 24-year-olds.


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Good advert for Fiat, dont suppose we'll be seeing that car chase being spiriti de punto on STV adverts mind you. 


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6 December 2006

AN ICE cream man blasted with a shotgun as he worked in his van was targeted in a feud over his son, police believe.

Jim "Flash" Allison, 57, was shot at close range, seconds after selling sweets to young kids. He was critically ill in hospital last night.

Sources say Allison had threatened revenge on youths who battered his son William, 24, for singing sectarian songs.

And a police insider told the Daily Record: "We are looking at the possibility that a feud has spiralled out of control."

William Allison, an Orangeman thought to be associated with a flute band, was badly beaten last month.

Sources have told police that his father was heard vowing to recruit friends in Ireland to help him take revenge on the attackers.

It also emerged yesterday that Allison senior is a convicted rapist. He was sentenced to 12 years in 1970, when he was 21, for separate assaults on three girls.

Two other men were also locked up for the attacks. Detectives do not believe Allison's rape conviction was a factor in the shooting.

It's understood a grey-haired hitman waited for Allison for three hours before gunning him down in his home town of Penicuik, Midlothian.

Some youngsters had just bought sweets from the van.

And Detective Superintendent Brian Doneghan, leading the hunt for the gunman, believes five kids, aged between eight and 14, were nearby when Allison was shot.

The children have told police they saw the gunman run off.

Mr Doneghan was horrified by the contempt the attacker showed for the children's welfare.

He said: "The level of violence and complete disregard for public safety is staggering. It is very concerning to us that an individual capable of carrying out such an attack, while children were nearby, is still at liberty and could still be carrying a firearm."

Witnesses saw the suspected gunman pacing up and down the street before the shooting.

When Allison drove up to the scene, playing Christmas jingles to attract customers, his attacker coolly walked up to the serving hatch in the side of the van and opened fire.

Allison was gunned down at 6.30pm on Monday in Strathesk Road, Penicuik. Onlookers reported hearing two shots but police believe the second may have been an echo.

Locals rushed into the street to find Allison bleeding heavily from his stomach. Three teenage Army cadets used first-aid training to help him.

One of the boys, Daniel Sturrock, 15, said: "I was walking home from my friend's house when I heard two loud bangs. Then I heard a voice shouting, 'Help! Help! I've been shot!'

"My pal phoned an ambulance. We found a shirt in the van and pressed it to the wound to stop the bleeding and told the man to take deep breaths.

"He was in shock and pale-faced and finding it hard to breathe. It was quite bad."

Daniel's friend, Liam Dugan, said: "We thought it was a bit of a joke to start with but then he moved his hand and he had quite a wound.

"Then it just suddenly kicked in and we started doing the first-aid training we'd learned at the cadets."

The gunman is described as 5ft 9in and slim. He was dressed all in black, apart from his white trainers, and had a black beanie hat.

The scene remained sealed off last night as police with sniffer dogs searched the area.

About 18 police were working on the case. Cops made door-to-door inquiries and an incident room was set up at Dalkeith police station.

Allison, an ice cream man in Penicuik for about 25 years, was in intensive care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, with wife Jacqueline, 46, and daughter Kasie, 16, at his bedside.

ARMED cops swooped in the heart of Glasgow last night after reports of gunfire.

Part of busy Woodlands Road, near the city centre, was sealed off and it's thought one man was arrested.

An eyewitness said: "Two men started arguing outside a shop. The next thing I saw was one of them pull out a handgun and fire it at the ground.

"He then dropped a black bag he had been carrying and ran off."

A local resident said: "About 8.30, I heard a blast like a firecracker.

"Within moments, police arrived. It looked like a man was being arrested."

A police spokeswoman said: "There was a report of a firearm being discharged. Inquiries are ongoing."

She added that there were no reports of any injuries.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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These dark night are not half bringing the guns out, mind you I hear the shooting of 3 in Possil was in broad daylight today.


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7 December 2006

A MAN was killed and two others seriously injured in a gangland shooting at a garage yesterday.

The victims of the bloodbath were all members of the notorious Lyons crime family, who are involved in a deadly Glasgow turf war with the rival Daniel clan.

The dead man is believed to be Michael Lyons, 21. Stephen Lyons, 26, is thought to have lost a leg in yesterday's attack and was seriously ill in hospital last night along with a 41-year-old.

It's thought the assassination was carried out by two gunmen.

The shootings took place at a garage run by David Lyons, a senior member of the crime family run by his brother Eddie.

It happened at about 2.30pm, at Apple Row Motors MoT garage in Balmore Road, Possil.

Minutes earlier, numerous taxis were in the area collecting pupils from nearby St Joan of Arc special needs school.

Detectives are looking into the possibility the cabs might have been used as a cover for the bloody attack.

They were last night believed to be quizzing taxi firms and drivers.

Chief Superintendent David Martin said: "The local community will be feeling vulnerable and frightened but we are confident this was not a random shooting.

"It was, however, a cold and callous act which showed complete disregard for the safety of locals, including children at nearby St Joan of Arc primary school."

The suspected dead victim, Michael Lyons, became a dad six months ago when his girlfriend gave birth to a daughter.

Stephen Lyons, who is thought to have lost a leg, has twice been cleared of attempted murder.

In 2001, he was accused of trying to kill a man outside Chirnsyde Community Centre.

He was also cleared of stabbing three men in Kirkintilloch in 2005.

He faced drug charges earlier this year but they were dropped in court.

The shootings happened only hours before a public meeting to discuss escalating crime in the area.

Locals and politicians had arranged to gather at St Joan of Arc school to draw up an action plan against gangsters.

The turf war between the Lyons family and the Daniel gang - led by millionaire Jamie Daniel - has escalated in recent months, with a number of shootings in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, and Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow.

The war is believed to have been sparked by vandalism of the grave of Eddie's son Garry, who died from leukaemia aged eight in 1991.

The latest crime scene was being studied by forensic teams last night.

Detective Superintendent Campbell Corrigan, who is leading the inquiry, revealed: "Two males have gone into the premises and carried out an act which would appear to have all the hallmarks of something that was planned.

"We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to try and piece together what has happened.

"This could be something which is part of an ongoing feud - that is something which we will be looking at.

"We are interested in two men seen at the scene, who were wearing dark clothing, and also a light-blue car seen there."

Councillor Billy McAllister - who has launched a personal crusade against the crime clans - said he warned police that a bloody vendetta would be played out.

McAllister, who says he has a £50,000 contract on his head for speaking out against the Lyons clan, said: "This kind of bloodbath was only a matter of time.

"The people involved in this have no respect for the law or for human life."



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Fatal shooting inquiry continues
Shooting scene
The shooting happened close to a primary school
Detectives are expected to reveal more information about a fatal shooting near to a Glasgow primary school.

A 21-year-old man died and two others are seriously ill after the attack at Applerow Motors MOT Station on Balmore Road in the Lambhill area.

The injured men, aged 26 and 41, are being treated in the Western Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Strathclyde Police have said they will not speculate on a motive for the crime, but described it as pre-planned.

The names of the dead and injured men have not been released and police have declined to say whether the trio are related.

I've passed on intelligence that I've been given to police over a long number of years
Patricia Ferguson MSP

The incident happened at about 1415 GMT close to St Joan of Arc Roman Catholic School.

Meanwhile, at a meeting at the school on Wednesday, local residents expressed their anger and frustration at the police for failing to crack down on growing lawlessness in the area.

Glasgow Maryhill MSP, Patricia Ferguson, told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme said Lambhill was a good area with a "great community" and felt the shooting was part of an ongoing feud in the wider area.

The Labour MSP added: "I've passed on intelligence that I've been given to police over a long number of years.

"But the police then have to turn that into hard evidence and one of the problems there has been is that no one was willing to actually stand up that evidence.

"That makes the police's job so much more difficult and I would appeal to anyone who knows anything at all about this shooting to make sure that they pass even the smallest piece of information on to police so that the perpetrators of this incident can be brought to justice as speedily as possible."

Police reassurances

The residents have been reassured that extra police will be patrolling the area, while a mobile police office has been set up at the scene.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the attack and are looking for information in relation to a light blue car seen near the scene.

Det Supt Campbell Corrigan, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: "Our enquiries are at a very early stage and we are still trying to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.

"An extensive forensic investigation is ongoing at the scene of the incident.


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