Richey dreams of driving ‘green machine’ 056

By Douglas Walker

UNEMPLOYED Kenny Richey has revealed his dream job  – a ‘Green Machine’ road-sweeper.

The former Death Row con says he loves driving and this is the only way he’ll be able to do it while getting paid.

Big-kid Richey says he’s been getting plenty of behind the wheel practice playing racing games on his Xbox.

The ex-US marine says his ideal car would be a Jaguar but he is happy to settle for a ‘Green Machine’ in the meantime.

He said: “I want to become a bin man as you get to drive one of those Green Machines – I love driving.

“It’s the most likely job I could do where I am able to get behind the wheel. 

“When I was in the Marine Corps I used to drive light-armoured vehicles.  Now the closest I get is a racing game on my Xbox.”

The distinctive Green Machines can be found in every major capital in the world.

Falkirk-based Applied Sweepers Limited have produced over 10,000 of the sweeping machines, which can be seen in 300 cities across the globe.

Richey, from Edinburgh, says he has a couple of stumbling blocks to overcome before he can start cleaning the city’s streets though.

He said: “I have been seeing a psychiatrist who has been helping me to adjust since I got home.  I’ll start working when he gives me the okay to do so.

“I’ll also have to get my full licence, I only have a provisional right now. 

“I can drive fine but would need to brush up before taking my test – it’s been over 20 years since I sat behind the wheel.

“My dream car would be Jaguar – that’s a fine British motor.”

Richey has struggled to adapt to freedom since his release and was recently exposed as having a steamy affair with a 16-year-old schoolgirl, Louise Turnbull.

He launched an astonishing tirade against her dad Alastair Turnbull declaring: “I’ll beat him like a bitch.”

Richey says he is determined to fix his broken relationship with ex-wife Wendy Amerud who read about his affair on the internet at home in America.

He was freed from Death Row in January after agreeing a plea bargain to quash his conviction for the murder of two-year-old Cynthia Collins.

The toddler died in a fire in her Columbus, Ohio, apartment while drunken revellers partied outside.

Richey always denied setting fire to the apartment building in a revenge attack on a former lover who lived below the dead girl’s flat.

He is currently undergoing treatment for mouth cancer after being diagnosed in April.

Award-winning restaurateur banned over mouse droppings 055

By Paul Thornton

AN award-winning restaurateur has been banned from running food businesses after he admitted a catalogue of sickening hygiene breaches.

When council officials inspected Herman Rodrigues’ Suruchi restaurant they were disgusted by the conditions they found, including mouse droppings littering the premises.

Inspectors also discovered bags of food gnawed open and water from a burst waste pipe all over the floor.

Rodrigues was the sole director of Indi Foods Ltd – which was fined £1800 in 2006 after inspectors uncovered similar breaches at the restaurant, including a cockroach infestation.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday, May 30, he pleaded guilty to five charges brought against him after Suruchi was found to be breaching food hygiene regulations.

The 47-year-old director has now been banned from running any restaurant without the permission of the court.

The court heard that during a routine inspection of the Edinburgh restaurant, environmental health officers discovered extremely poor hygiene standards in the kitchen. Water from a broken drainage pipe had leaked onto the floor and caused a puddle.

When they examined storage spaces at the Nicolson Street restaurant, they found rodent droppings all over surfaces where glasses were kept and dishes were washed. Bags of food had been chewed open by rodents and were sitting out on a shelf, and the ice machine was covered in dirt.

The court was shown pictures of Rodrigues’ restaurant which were taken by health and safety officers in April 2006. Environmental health officers closed the restaurant immediately after the April 25 inspection and it remained closed for four days.

Rodrigues also voluntarily closed the restaurant in August 2002 under similar circumstances, but the case never came to court.

In 2006, Indi Foods Ltd was fined £1800 after inspectors found a cockroach infestation at Suruchi, when inspectors found one of the microwave ovens covered in dead cockroaches.

Yesterday, Sheriff John Allan handed Rodrigues an indefinite hygiene prohibition – meaning he is banned from running any businesses in the food sector until the court say otherwise.

He also demanded details of Rodrigues’ finances after the businessman claimed to earn just £300 per week – despite running a bed and breakfast.

Sheriff Allan warned the man not to pretend he couldn’t afford to pay up and added: “I don’t like having to extract information like this. I would be surprised if he didn’t have some savings in an account.

“I want a full and frank disclosure of his financial circumstances and if that doesn’t happen I will fine him in line with what I think is the case.”

His defence lawyer, Massimo Dalvito said that Rodrigues had suffered over the publicity surrounding his restaurant.

Suruchi was named Patak’s Best Indian Restaurant in Scotland for 1996 and Rodrigues was thought of as one of Scotland’s most innovative restaurateurs after introducing haggis pakora and Scottish salmon nan bread to his menu.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader, said: “Residents and visitors to Edinburgh are entitled to expect the highest standards of food hygiene when they go out to eat in the city. Thanks to the vigilance and hard work shown by our Community Safety staff in bringing this case to court, we can send out a clear message to all food business operators that they must adhere to food hygiene requirements or face the consequences.”


Pensioners survive explosion 054

By Karrie Gillett

AN 87-year-old blind man has been pulled from the rubble of his bedroom by neighbours after a suspected gas explosion gutted his home.
The blast at the bungalow of Frank Hastie and his wife Molly, 86, ripped through the entire home – leaving the front door blown out on to the street.

And the home in a quiet West Lothian cul-de-sac has now been demolished because of the extensive damage.
Residents in Loaninghill Park, Uphall, described the early-morning bang as a “loud wartime-like crash” and said it was a miracle the elderly couple managed to get out alive.
Tom Perry – whose house faces on to the Hastie’s – was first on the scene at around 7.45 this morning (THU) and pulled a collapsed bedroom wall off Mr Hastie as he lay in his bed.
Mr Perry said: “I was just up and about making some tea and toast for my wife when I hear an almighty boom.
“I didn’t have a clue what the noise could be and went to my front door to have a look.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw. Molly was just standing up as if she were about to go out the front door but the door was lying out in the street and the whole house was completely destroyed – you could see right through it.
“She was totally bewildered and when I asked her where Frank was, she just said he was in his bed.”
Brave Tom, 69, immediately stamped out a small fire at the door of the house and then ran into the bedroom where he found a confused Mr Hastie trapped in the bedroom.
He said: “When she said he was in bed I thought ‘Oh no, what am I going in here to see?’
“But I saw him lying underneath the rubble and he was shouting. He didn’t know what was going on. He is registered blind so he was really dazed and in shock.
“Luckily the walls are plasterboard so I was able to pull them off him quite easily and steer him out of the house.”
Mr Perry said the couple – who were taken to St John’s Hospital in Livingston with minor injuries  – were extremely popular with their neighbours.
He said: “Lots of us came out into the street and I think everyone was fearing the worst until they saw Frank walking away and then there was just such relief.”
Another neighbour, James McIntosh, arrived minutes later to help in the rescue effort and said everyone looked out for each other in the street as most of the residents were elderly.
He said Frank – a retired blacksmith’s engineer – had lived there for more than thirty years and was extremely well-liked.
Mr McIntosh had been sleeping when the blast went off  but rushed out of his house after hearing the tail-end of the bang.
He said: “It was like a war-time crash that you hear on the TV. At first, I thought it must have been two lorries crashing into each other.
“I went outside and just could not believe what I was seeing. The whole house was a pile of bricks and there were neighbours out standing in their dressing gowns so I knew it was something traumatic.
“When Frank was finally brought out of the house, a few of us ran forward and helped steer him away from the garden but he just kept trying to go back in. He kept saying he wanted to know what happened – he was very confused.
“I can’t believe no one was killed. The roof looks like it is about to collapse at any minute and I think the fact it is still there is probably what saved them.”
Fire officers and a team of Transco inspectors are now investigating the cause of the blast.
Incident commander Gordon Fisher of Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said it was incredible that the couple managed to walk away with minor injuries.
He said: “You can see the devastation caused by the explosion and for two elderly people to walk away is quite remarkable.”

Councillor Ellen Glass, who chairs the Broxburn Local Area Committee said that bringing the house to the ground was inevitable.

She said: “I visited the scene of the explosion and the house was very badly damaged. It was clear that demolition was the only option.

“I would like to thank all the emergency services and everyone involved for their prompt response to such a serious incident.”

Scots artist swaps Tate for tiny seaside gallery 053

By Alexander Lawrie
A WORLD-FAMOUS Scots artist is holding a rare exhibition in a tiny, seaside art gallery.
John Bellany CBE, who has work hanging in the London Tate Gallery, has 12 original paintings worth a total of £100,000 for sale at the Harbour Gallery, Port Seton over the next four weeks.
The small gallery is owned by Alistair Hamilton, a lifelong friend of Bellany’s, and the exhibition forms the focal point of the small Three Harbours Arts Festival.
Hamilton, 64, an ex-art teacher, opened his gallery in 2003 primarily to show his own work, but has recently branched out to promote local talent.
Now, the gallery is set for a bumper show with the world-renowned Bellany agreeing to help out his old friend.
Mr Hamilton said: “I first met John when we were at primary school together and we’ve been lifelong friends ever since. We also both attended Edinburgh’s College of Art around the same time, though not in the same year.
“He is very generous in letting such a small gallery sell his work as he has paintings hanging in most of the prestigious galleries in the world.
 “I’m quite confident we will sell all twelve paintings as Bellany is one of the most respected Scottish artists of his generation.
“As a youngster it was obvious John was destined for great things because he is a born-natural. It was no surprise to me to see his career flourish like it has.”
Hamilton has recently completed his most prestigious commission by providing a painting as a wedding gift to the new Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Although the Princess was born in Australia, her parents and grandparents were both born and raised in Port Seton.
Bellany, originally from the quaint fishing village, was bestowed with the honour of being the first ever Freeman of East Lothian in 2005.
Described as one of the most influential Scottish painters since the war, Bellany was born into a family of fishermen and boat-builders in 1942. His coastal upbringing is instrumental within much of his early work.
His paintings hang in some of the most prestigious art galleries in the world including the National Gallery of Scotland, The Tate Gallery, The V & A and the Modern Art and Metropolitan Museums in New York.
The celebrated Scot’s work has been the subject of numerous awards and major international exhibitions, including being given the honour of holding the first ever one-man show at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 1986.
Bellany, 65, has lectured at various top British art schools, including the Royal College of Art, and was awarded the CBE by the Queen in 1994.
After a bout of ill health in the 1980’s, which resulted in a liver transplant, Bellany relocated to the Tuscan town of Barga, although he still has homes in Edinburgh and Essex.
The artist’s move abroad is widely seen as responsible for the dramatic change in style which is now believed to show a renewed optimism.


Ceremony to recognise bravery 052

By Alexander Lawrie
A BRAVE police constable managed to corner a raging bull just as it was about to gore an elderly man to death.
PC Derek Turnbull was first on the scene when the fully grown bull escaped from an abattoir in Galashiels.
He chased the dangerous animal for several miles before it was corralled in a garden.
An elderly man who was watching all the action unfold outside his home was then targeted by the dangerous beast.
As the bull jumped a small hedge and charged at the man, PC Turnbull, with no concern for his own safety, ran to the man’s aid.
The courageous PC was recognised for his bravery by being presented with the Chief Constable’s Commendation Award at a Lothian and Borders Police award ceremony yesterday. 

He said: “I was patrolling the A7 when I got a call saying an animal had escaped from the local killing house.
“I caught up with the bull just as it entered a housing estate. I grew up on a farm so I was quite comfortable facing the animal.
“An elderly gentleman then appeared trying to help us shoo it to a local golf course, but unfortunately soon as it saw him it took off after him.
“It jumped the hedge and cornered him but luckily I got there in time and helped the man escape.
“It was quite an eventful day, but I felt quite safe facing it up.
Holding his baton in one hand, he managed to grab the man and drag him to safety while screaming at the charging animal.
The beast then changed direction and charged at the officer in the incident in November 2006.
A fellow officer helped Constable Turnbull escape by cornering the bull with his police van.
The bull was cornered in a nearby garden where it was contained and destroyed.
PC Turnbull said: “I didn’t really expect to be given any kind of official recognition as it’s all in a day’s work really, but I’m so proud to be given this award.”
Dozens of other police officers and heroic civilians were also presented with awards yesterday at the Police Meritorious Awards in Edinburgh.
Another heroic duo, Lorraine Telfer-Smith and Steven Ross helped save the life of an elderly woman who accidentally set herself on fire.
The Musselburgh woman had been cooking and had set her nightclothes on fire.
She then ran screaming into the street looking for help.
Neighbours Steven and Lorraine rushed to the woman’s aid using water and wet towels to dampen the flames, putting themselves in extreme danger.
Ms Telfer-Smith, a qualified nurse, stayed with the woman until the emergency services arrived.
It is thought that if the pair had not intervened the lady would not have survived.
Ms Telfer-Smith said: “I was sitting watching the tv when I saw a glow outside. I looked out and saw my neighbour running down the street on fire.
“I was so horrified. I ran down, took my dressing gown off to quell the flames and managed to call the ambulance.
“Mr Ross came down with a bucket of water and we managed to put the fire out together.
“I knew it was a terrible thing to happen but it was much worse for the lady involved. I’m just glad she is alright.
“The shock of it all didn’t hit me until later, it was more the reality of how can I assist her and save her from burning to death basically.”
Two cops who were called to attend to a drunk woman were also awarded after they risked their lives by pulling the lifeless body of the woman from the sea.
The woman was barely conscious and showed no signs of a pulse in the incident in Prestonpans in November 2006.
An ambulance was called and the two officers, PC’s Fiona Gilchrist and Neil Currie, stayed with the woman keeping her warm and helping her to regain consciousness.
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “Today’s awards are the recognition of the bravery and heroism of members of the public and police officers in the Lothians.
“They show our appreciation for the heroism they have displayed in a range of events that have both threatened life and also some serious incidents of crime.
“It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of police and the public working together.”

Tee time for world’s young golfers 051

By Karrie Gillett

THE world’s best young golfers have teed-off at the first ever tournament of its kind to be held outside America.

Hundreds of kids from around the world have arrived in East Lothian as a field of seven to 14-year-olds from 34 different nations take to the fairways.

But the young elites – including reigning world champions as young as seven years old – all struggled with the Scottish wind as the event got under way.

It is the first time the US Kids Golf Foundation, an organisation started in 2001 to boost youth golf in America, has held an event in Europe.

And there is no doubt that the influx of parents, coaches and supporters of the prodigies from as far as Colombia will also give the local economy a significant boost.

The East Lothian courses at Gullane, Craigielaw, Kilpindsie and Luffness are playing host to the three-day Ryder Cup-style competition.

Founder and president of U.S Kids Golf, Dan Van Horn is confident the success of similar tournaments in America will be repeated here.

He said: “Our experience shows that golf’s popularity shows no age barriers or geographic boundaries.

“The European Championship is an exciting opportunity to bring positively reinforced, high-quality competitive events to youngsters around the world.

“We believe this tournament will be an inspiration for youth golf throughout Europe and especially Scotland.”

Gullane Golf Club pro, Alisdair Good, has been instrumental in the tournament coming to Scotland and says staging the event here was, as the Americans would say, “a no-brainer”.

“It is the home of golf,” he said.

Alisdair, who has been voted as one of the top 50 golf coaches in the world, says that simply registering a score at the three-day tournament could be enough to catch the eye of scouts.

He said: “Golf is not a subjective sport, you don’t have to see a player to know they are playing well – the scores speak for themselves.”

As well as local players, some of the best young golfers from around the world will be making huge round-trips to compete.

Texas star inspired by KT, Amy and Sandi 050

By Douglas Walker

TEXAS singer Sharleen Spiteri says she has been inspired to go it alone by the young Scottish female singers dominating the charts.

The sexy songstress says the quality of material produced by KT Tunstall, Amy MacDonald, and Sandi Thom has given her the confidence to produce a solo record.

The 40-year-old went on to say how she still hasn’t got used to looking behind her on stage and not seeing the faces which have been with her for over 20 years.

The mum-of-one was talking yesterday as she visited a children’s cancer charity she has supported since hitting the big time.

The Glasgow-born singer says she has found it easier to go it alone following the recent success of Scottish female singers.

She said: “I know for a fact that when I hear their music I find it very inspiring – absolutely.

“It’s great that there’s music out there I want to listen to.”

However the modest singer, who has notched three platinum selling albums with Texas, bashfully refused to say whether she thought she was an inspiration to them.

She blushed: “That would be something for them to answer.”

Sharleen’s debut solo album, Melody, is released on July 7 following over twenty successful years fronting Texas.

She went on to say that she is still trying to get used to not having her band mates behind her on stage.

She said: “It’s kind of weird when I look behind and see different faces.  I think ‘that’s strange’.

“I don’t miss them though as I see them all the time, they support me in a different way.  They are always there for me and ask me how I’m getting on.”

Sharleen split from her partner of ten years, Ashley Heath, in 2005.  They have a six-year-old daughter, Misty Kyd.

The yummy mummy is a patron of children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent Scotland.

Yesterday (Tuesday) she took time out from her hectic schedule to help celebrate the ten-year anniversary of a villa in Edinburgh provided by the charity for kids receiving treatment.

And she says since becoming a mother she has come to appreciate even more the work they do.

She said: “It was the first charity I got involved with when I became famous.

“I went along to see how they worked and thought they were amazing.  The way they help families with care and after-care is unbelievable.

“I didn’t have children back then but since becoming a mother I have appreciated their work even more.  You never know what is around the corner.

“I can’t imagine what it must be like to try and cope with having a child with cancer.  I don’t how people get through it – it’s amazing.”

Thugs bite friend’s ear off 049


By Paul Thornton

A VICIOUS thug bit off his friend’s ear and spat it out on the floor in a  misguided attempt at relationship counselling.

Benjamin Hammond, 19, started punching Brian McLintock after getting involved in an argument between him and his girlfriend.

And as the terrified 17-year-old tried to defend himself, Hammond sank his teeth into his ear and ripped off a chunk.

Quick-thinking friends of the pair put the piece of flesh into a plastic bag before rushing Brian to hospital.

But the father-of-one, who was covered in blood, lost half his ear in the attack and now needs cosmetic surgery to repair it.

Yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Hammond admitted mutilating his friend for life.

But despite the nasty attack, reminiscent of Mike Tyson’s infamous lunge at Evander Holyfield, Brian claims he is prepared to put the incident behind him and patch up his friendship with Hammond.

Speaking from his home in Lochend, Edinburgh he said: “It was just a stupid argument and I don’t bear any grudges at all.

“I hope he gets free from prison and I will have no problems with him at all.

“I’ve not had my ear fixed – I have a young child and I don’t have time to spend weeks in hospital.”


The court heard how angry Hammond had gone after hearing about a heated argument between his friend and his girlfriend.

By the time he reached the couple’s flat, they had sorted things out but Hammond was intent on causing problems.

Fiscal depute John Cook told the court Hammond burst into the father-of-one’s flat in Edinburgh before hurling abuse at him.

Hammond pounced as Brian sat in a chair and the two exchanged blows as his victim fought to defend himself.

But the vicious teenager lunged at his friend’s ear and bit of a chunk before spitting it out on the floor.

When cops arrived on the scene, they found pools of blood and the missing piece of flesh, which quick-witted mates had bagged for safe keeping before calling an ambulance.

Police arrested Hammond and he has been locked up since the February attack.

Mikey Annis, 16, is friends with both Brian and Hammond and witnessed the brutal attack.

He said: “There was blood everywhere and Brian’s face was covered in blood.

“I just saw the ear on the floor and couldn’t believe it.

“They haven’t spoken since but I’m sure they will be alright, we are all good friends.”

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver called for reports and Hammond, who was held on remand, will be sentenced next month.


Free wine – if you buy my flat 048

By Alexander Lawrie

A CRAFTY wine buff is enticing house hunters to buy his home – by offering them a bottle of classic wine while they view.
Giles Cooke, 37, is one of only 265 Masters of Wine in the world and is giving a bottle of fine wine to every potential buyer who comes to view his up-market Edinburgh flat.
The top floor flat, which has stunning views over the River Forth and to Fife, has already seen one seller pull out of a sale, encouraging Mr Cooke to try something new and imaginative to sell his home.
He said: “As a wine buyer, I’m lucky enough to sample some of the finest wines available. I just thought offering the wine would be a quirky enticement for the target market.
“I’ve heard about house sellers using tactics like giving deposits back and other such incentives but I thought I would try something totally different.
“The flat is immaculate and the price is right, but I think the timing of the sale could be better.
“So, I just thought by offering viewers the opportunity to see the house and get a bottle of something very tasty would help speed the sale along.
“The traditional approach of just waiting on buyers turning up is great in a buoyant market, but when things get tougher you have to be more innovative.”
The Institute of Masters of Wine has 265 members of 20 different nationalities, although Mr Cooke is one of only four qualified Masters of Wine currently operating in Scotland.
Mr Cooke passed the notoriously difficult Master of Wine exams in 2001 and became one of the select band of people in the world to carry the initials M.W.
He said: “The M.W. exams are the highest level of academic qualifications you can achieve in the wine industry, and it takes almost a week of exams and tasting to achieve the grade.
“And although I’m very keen to sell my flat, I’m hoping the offer of giving out wine to everyone who comes to see it isn’t going to cost me a small fortune.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting ahead of the competition in the market, and as I am in a fortunate position I should use it to my advantage.”
The penthouse flat in Gardners Crescent is currently on offer at a fixed price of £345,000.

Man starves puppies to death 047

By Paul Thornton

A MAN has been banned from keeping animals for five years after he starved three puppies to death.

Michael Nesbitt, 18, kept a litter of seven Border Collie Cross pups and their mother in a cage surrounded by their own faeces and urine.

And when he realised that three of the tiny dogs had died due to lack of food and attention, the heartless teenager dumped their bodies in a shoebox.

But police and animal cruelty officials swooped after a neighbour complained about the stench coming from his flat.

The surviving dogs were immediately taken from him and he was charged with animal neglect.

Yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, after admitting to neglecting the animals, Nesbitt was banned from keeping pets and fined £150.

But animal cruelty experts hit out at the lenient sentence, and called for a lifetime ban.

Doreen Graham from the Scottish SPCA said: “These puppies died a horrible and slow death.

“Every time they heard footsteps they would have thought someone was coming to feed them.

“In cases of neglect we would always look for a life ban to be imposed – owning a pet is a privilege, not a right.”

The court heard how officers from the Scottish SPCA had visited Nesbitt after a neighbour reported him walking a thin dog.

They found that the bitch – who had just given birth – was significantly underweight and told Nesbitt to make sure he fed her more.

But less than a month later, another call from a concerned neighbour over the smell uncovered serious animal neglect.

When officers entered the Clovenstone Gardens home, they found four pups and their mother locked in a cage surrounded by their own dog mess.

And they were horrified when they discovered that the other three pups had died and their tiny bodies were lying in a shoebox in the hallway.

Officers immediately took the whimpering mother and her surviving puppies into care.

Unbelievably, as they drove away with the animals, Nesbitt threatened to kill himself.

Yesterday, Victoria Good, acting for Nesbitt said her client had been “deeply distressed” about what had happened.

She said that Nesbitt had been unable to care for the dogs after suffering from severe depression after his relationship broke down.

She said: “He and his girlfriend bought the dogs together, when she left she took one of the dogs (the pups’ father) and he gave up.

“He knew they were there and he had to take care of them but he just couldn’t get up out of bed.”

She added: “He is deeply distressed about what happened to the dogs.”

Sheriff James Scott fined Nesbitt £150 and ordered that the dogs were kept from him.