Boyzone come back with a bang 079

By Suzanne Mackie
IRISH boy band Boyzone arrived in Scotland with a bang yesterday – quite literally.
The 90’s pop group, who are in the country as part of their comeback tour Back Again – No Matter What, joined Jamie ‘The Cannon’ Shannon as he fired the world-famous One O’clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle.
The boys were in town promoting their upcoming gig at the castle on July 18, a performance which will form part of a summer of high-profile gigs gracing the capital’s iconic venue, including Girls Aloud, The Proclaimers and Runrig.
Ronan Keating said: “We are so delighted to be back in Scotland. We have just performed some of the best shows of the tour in Glasgow, and are really looking forward to playing in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
“Scottish fans have to be the loudest there is, and it’s always fantastic to play here.”
The ‘Picture of You’ hit-makers wore scarves, leather jackets and hoodies to shield themselves against the dreary Scottish weather.
Tourists gathering to watch the famous Gun go off were stunned to see famous five appear from underneath the battlements just moments before the Gun went off.
As the Gun was raised to the sky, the group stood huddled together and put their fingers in their ears.
And afterwards, Mikey Graham put his face in his jumper to try and escape the infamous smell of the gun smoke.
The group, who reformed late last year after splitting in 2000, looked happy to be back together as they laughed and joked with one another throughout their short Edinburgh appearance.
Stephen Gately added: “Edinburgh Castle is a beautiful venue to perform at and we’re really looking forward to the show.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed the weather will be good us.”
The band were formed in 1993 by pop svengali Louis Walsh, and have sold over 15 million records worldwide.
Last year, the group announced they were reforming after a seven year long split to the delight of fans all over the country.

Tragedy as boy, 3, killed at Royal Highland Show 078

By Alexander Lawrie

A three-year-old boy was killed after apparently pulling concrete bollard on top of himself as he played at the Royal Highland Show.

Onlookers said Ben Craggs was beside the 2ft pillars in the car park when one fell in and landed on him at around 1.30pm yesterday.

It is thought the tot had swung on a chain holding two concrete pillars together pulling one of the bollards down on top of himself.

Paramedics rushed to the scene and took the tiny child to the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, but he died shortly after from serious head injuries.

Ben’s parents, Jonathan and Dawn Craggs, of Sedgefield, County Durham, who were exhibiting livestock at the Edinburgh show, were last night too upset to comment.
But other family members paid tribute to a “beautiful little boy”.
Relative Mary Craggs, of Stockton-on-Tees, said: “It’s an absolute tragedy for all the family. It just seems to be a terrible accident, and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“A member of our family spoke to Jonathan this morning and, as you would expect, he is totally devastated.
“Ben was a beautiful little boy, and I don’t think the enormity of it all has really hit home yet.”

The tragic incident has shocked visitors to the launch of one of Scotland’s most iconic events, expected to attract over 150,000 people over the weekend.

Liam McGee, 19, who was working in the event’s car park when the tragedy occurred, said the youngster had been playing alone.

He said: “It looked like he was on his own at the time because I couldn’t see his parents anywhere.

I didn’t actually see the accident but I was close by. I heard the child was playing between two unattached concrete bollards which were roped together. He pushed the rope downwards and the bollards keeled over and landed on top of him. Another attendant told him he the child had bitten through his tongue – it’s pretty horrendous to think about.

He added: “Security were going mad trying to keep the public away from the area so the ambulance could get through. The crew worked on him for almost an hour before taking him away.”

And Agnes Turner, 64, who was visiting for the day from Galashiels, added: “It’s such a terrible thing to have happened. I hate to think what his parents are going through. Everybody at the show is talking about the accident and the rumour is that the boy was a member of a farming family who have a stall at the show.”

The scene of the accident was immediately blocked off with blue fences and tarpaulin and guarded by a solitary policeman.

Robert Doig, a security officer at the show, said: “I was near to the scene when the accident happened and rushed over to help. He was in quite a bad way but I didn’t really think he would die.
“It’s such a terrible tragedy to happen and all the staff here are devastated. We put some flowers down this morning as a mark of respect, it’s the least we could do. We are all thinking of his family.”

Now Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for witnesses to help them piece together exactly what happened.

At the scene, Inspector Alan Duthie said: “A tragic accident took place around 1:30pm this afternoon. A three-year-old child was playing near to some concrete bollards and suffered serious injuries. We are still unsure as to what exactly happened. The child was taken to hospital but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. We are appealing for witnesses to come forward and get in touch.”

A police spokesperson added: “The circumstances aren’t entirely clear yet, but he appears to have hit his head while playing at concrete bollards.”

Ray Jones, Chief Executive of show organisers Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland said: “This has been a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the child’s family at what is obviously a very difficult time. The matter is now in the hands of the police and investigative authorities with whom we are cooperating fully.”

Andy Murray given go ahead for patriotism at Wimbledon 077

By Douglas Walker

PATRIOTIC Andy Murray has been given the all clear to wear Scottish sweatbands at this year’s Wimbledon championship.

Stuffy officials were forced to consult their code of conduct after learning the proud Scot was planning to don saltire-design wristbands.

The traditional All England Club has a strict dress code where players have to wear an all-white kit.

However last night Wimbledon chiefs confirmed the British number one would be allowed to bear the striking blue wristbands much to the delight of his Scottish fans.

Partisan Murray, 21, usually favours playing in an all-blue kit but will be unable to do so at SW19 because of the tight rules.

However the Dunblane player will still be able show his Scotland patriotism after officials confirmed he would be allowed to don his saltire wristbands.

A Wimbledon spokesman confirmed: “We don’t have a problem with him wearing Scottish sweatbands.

“It’s only shorts and tops that have to be predominately white.  These are allowed slight flashes of colour but nothing more. 

“Manufacturers consult with us before the championships start to ensure their kit designs are acceptable.

“Andy can even throw his sweatbands into the crowd if he wishes, although I’m not sure if I would like to be the recipient after a five-setter.”

Murray became a hero with the Tartan Army in 2006 after declaring he supports every team who plays against England.

Iain Emerson, editor of the Famous Tartan Army Magazine, says he has the full backing of Scottish football fans.

He said: “Andy is a great ambassador for Scotland and the fact he wants to show his patriotism is great.

“Given the championships are held at the All England Club victory would be all the sweeter.

“The whole of the country will be behind him.”

Murray not only has the hopes of Scotland on his shoulders but also the UK being the only British player with a realistic chance of winning the championship.

He is desperate to become the first ever Scot to win the men’s title having missed last year’s tournament with a wrist injury.

The fiery player has enjoyed a meteoric rise since reaching the third round on his Wimbledon debut in 2005.

He went one better the following year reaching the fourth round where he was defeated by the Greek, Marcos Baghdatis.

Seeded 12th at this year’s tournament, Murray will avoid the top three seeds – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – in the first three rounds.

The championships start this Monday.

Prince honours fallen troops 076

By Lauren Crooks

Prince Harry marched through Edinburgh to attend a church service in memory of his hero comrades killed in Afghanistan.

The Prince joined 200 servicemen and women during the memorial parade as it was announced that four more troops – including the first woman – had been killed in the war-torn country, taking the death toll to 106.

The Household Cavalry officer joined his troops on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile ahead of a service at the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral.

Crowds of tourists and onlookers applauded as the 23-year-old Royal – who spent 10 weeks fighting Taliban terrorists – made his way to the church service where soldiers were joined by bereaved families and UK Defence Secretary Des Browne.

The event was held to pay tribute to the 24 British, Danish, American and Czech soldiers who lost their lives during the deployment of the 52 Infantry Brigade in Helmand Province from October to April.

Harry joined 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen led by a pipe band as is weaved its way through the city centre before joining another 400 members of the armed forces gathered outside the cathedral.

And joining them were the families of 10 of the 11 British personnel who lost their lives during the tour.

Harry’s involvement was kept secret by the UK media but he was removed after ten weeks when news of his deployment was leaked on a US website.

Respectful Harry smiled momentarily at the crowds before setting off on the parade.

And he even defied his royal rebel nametag the night before – by staying sober on a boozy night out with friends.

The Prince sipped on nothing but soft drinks as his friends downed 10 bottles of wine and guzzled cocktails at the city’s exclusive Rick’s bar.

Harry and ten of his closest pals laughed and joked as they ran up a £400 bar tab at the trendy bar.
But when the clock struck midnight, the Prince was ushered out by his burly bodyguards.
And while Harry has become famous for his party hard image, he showed the utmost respect to the fallen heroes in the hours running up to the march.

Murray Ward, general manager at Rick’s, said: “We were absolutely delighted to host Prince Harry and his friends at Rick’s. Our sister club Opal Lounge is a bit more used to royalty with both William and Harry partying there when William was in Scotland studying.

“Harry wasn’t drinking, he was obviously being sensible about the parade he was involved in.

“The group was very chatty and informal and they all seemed to be having a good time.

“To anyone who didn’t know they would have seemed like an ordinary group for dinner and there was nothing hush-hush about their visit.

“It was an absolute pleasure to serve the Prince and his friends.”

The group arrived at the plush Frederick Street bar and hotel just before 8pm on Tuesday and sat down to a two-course meal.

Locals drinking at the bar hardly even noticed the down-to-earth prince – dressed in a casual pair of jeans, white shirt and brown gilet – as he sat catching up with his friends.

But as the group got tucked into bottles of £18.95 bottles of Firefly Shiraz, Harry stuck to soft drinks and ordered himself three Cokes throughout the night.

Polite Harry even got up after the meal to thank bar staff for looking after his group throughout their four-hour stay.

And despite being flanked by five bodyguards, the visit was informal and Harry moved around the restaurant himself – including two toilet visits.

One onlooker said: “Harry left with only his bodyguards for company. The rest of the group were still in Rick’s. It was a very military operation – his bodyguards got him out of the bar and into the car before you could blink.”

Red carpet glamour for film festival opening night 075

By Karrie Gillett

SHOWBIZ A-listers Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller shared the red carpet with Hollywood legend Sir Sean Connery for the world premiere of The Edge of Love.
The movie – which charts the tangled love life of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas – marks the opening of the Edinburgh International Film Festival which Connery is patron of.
And the glamorous duo appeared inseparable as they stopped to chat to journalists and sign autographs for fans who had stood outside the city’s Foutainpark cineworld complex for hours.
The biopic also stars Welsh actor Matthew Rhys who said filming alongside Miller and Knightley had been “very giggly”.
Miller – wearing a black dress by Jasmine di MiloLouis Vuitton shoes and a trademark black vintage hat – admitted that her role in the movie had not been her most challenging because it had been so well written.
She said: “It was really well-directed and the environment was really conducive to creativity
“I have worked on films before where I haven’t been supported as much so no, it was not the most challenging but it was a lot of fun.”
And co-star Keira – kitted out in a cream Chanel trouser suit and black jacket topped off with Moschino shoes – said Miller was “the best looking date I could ask for.”
The 23-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star said finally getting to see a screening of the film which was also penned by her mother was a brilliant celebration.
She said: “It’s fantastic. This was a film that everyone involved in was hugely, hugely passionate about so it’s a celebration that we got it made and it’s here and we’re all so proud of it.”
And as the young actors stopped to sign autographs, Sir Sean Connery made his way into the screening sporting his arm in a sling.
The 77-year-old was greeted by some wolf-whistling from fans and raised a thumbs-up when asked if he was okay.
The festival – now in its 62nd year – will run until June 29 and the opening night was also attended by Nip/Tuck actress Joely Richardson who appeared a natural on the red carpet.

Fraser inspired by gran to launch Superjam tea parties 074

By Alexander Lawrie
A TEENAGE jam-making entrepreneur is launching a new charity venture – Super Jam Tea Parties for the elderly.
Fraser Doherty, 19, kicked off the first Tea Party in Edinburgh yesterday, and the young businessman has big plans to roll the events out across Scotland.
The fresh-faced teen has struck deals with retail giants Waitrose who are donating the tea and cakes for the events, and John Lewis who are supplying the teapots, cake stands and tablecloths,
The City of Edinburgh Council has also given its full backing to the charity by providing the venues for the parties free of charge.
The charity idea was initiated by Fraser’s paternal grandmother – the same one who gave him the inspiration for the Super Jam – and her work with the elderly and the housebound.
He said: “I first got the idea about the Tea Parties from my grandmother. My brother and I used to help her when she organised small tea dances for the elderly in her area.
“And since Super Jam took off I always thought it would be a natural progression to do something like this.
“I wanted to bring young and old together because a lot of people never have the opportunity to mix.
“For some of the elderly here today this might be the only time this week they get a chance to have a wee chat with their friends.”
The Scots youngster started out making his sugar free jam in his parent’s small kitchen and soon landed exclusive sales contracts with supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco.
He began by producing up to 1,000 jars per week, selling them to neighbours, farmers’ markets and to customers online.
And the sugar-free substance is now the top-selling jam in many supermarkets stores across the country selling over 500,000 jars per year – with Fraser on his way to becoming a millionaire.
Currently taking a break from studying for a Business Studies and Accountancy degree at Strathclyde University, Fraser has enlisted a team of volunteers to help make the parties go with a swing.
Expert knitters have produced 30 different tea cosies for the event, while students from local colleges and universities will be on hand to serve out the tea and scones.
Fraser said: “I think it is really important to look after the elderly and I’ve always been conscious about trying to put something back into the community.
“And if it is a success, then we’ll hopefully be able to organise events on a national scale.
“I can’t thank all the volunteers enough, it’s so good of them all to get involved in the charity and to give their time for nothing.”
Speaking on behalf of John Lewis Partnership, David Lincoln, a Waitrose branch manager, said how pleased he the company was to be supporting the new charity.
He said: “It’s a fantastic idea and Fraser’s business ethos, which is about putting something back into the community, chimes well with our own.
“We’re sure these Tea Parties will take off in a big way.”
Councillor Norman Work, Vice Convener for Health, Social care and Housing for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “When Fraser first came to me I thought this was a fantastic idea and I am happy that we can use his entrepreneurial ideas to such a good end.
“The opportunity to get out and interact with others is very important as you get older and I’m sure the older people will enjoy the occasion.
“With this excellent example of partnership working and with Fraser’s enthusiasm, these events will hopefully spread across the city.”
The ex-Royal High pupil hit the headlines last year when his homemade health jam business was awarded the Global Student Entrepreneur Award in Chicago – a competition that saw him beat 750 students from around the world to the prestigious title.

Hollywood stars arrive in Edinburgh 073

By Karrie Gillett

KEIRA Knightley and Sienna Miller brought a touch of glamour to Edinburgh Castle ahead of the world premiere of their new movie The Edge of Love.

The A-list pair were joined by Keira’s Glasgow-born mother Sharman MacDonald – who penned the script focusing on the tangled private life of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, played by Matthew Rhys.

And Keira was quick to deny that a breast-baring scene in the all-British film was in any way embarrassing to shoot in front of her mum.

The 23-year-old said she simply followed instructions from director John Maybury during filming of the movie – whose premiere marks the opening of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

She said: “I always bare my breasts do I not? He told me to take my bra off and I said all right then.”

The Pirates of the Caribbean star said she had no doubt about taking the part when she first read her mother’s script.

And she revealed how her mum first showed it to her when she was in Glasgow filming The Jacket.

She said: “When I first read the script I completely fell in love with the character of Vera. She has such a subtle, emotional side that really moved me and I feel very grateful to have played her.”

But her writer mother admitted that she originally thought her daughter would play the role of Caitlain MacNamara – the other female lead played by blond superstar Sienna Miller who wore a black and white striped mini-dress.

The two leading ladies giggled and touched each other on the arms during the press conference in Edinburgh Castle’s Queen Anne room.

And Knightley – wearing a stylish floral print dress – was in a jubilant mood ahead of the world premiere screening at the city’s Foutainpark cineworld complex.

The pair faced questions from journalists along with co-star Ryhs, director John Maybury and Rebekah Gilbertson – the granddaughter of Knightley’s character Vera Phillips.

Asked if she felt particularly Scottish, Knightley proudly took her Glasgow-born mother by the hand and said it would be difficult not to.

She then joked about how she liked kilts while director Maybury accused mother and daughter of being ‘tight with their money.’

Joking aside, Knigtley said that although she was proud to be associated with her mother’s work, she did not feel any heightened responsibility to make it a success.

She said: “I am very, very proud of the film and I do feel particularly close to it but I always want to do the best I can possibly do.”

But her mother jibed that making her daughter sing in the film was ‘an act of revenge.’

And Keira said: “The singing was terrifying and I had to take a couple of shots of vodka just to get through the first scene.”

The Edge of Love premieres tonight at a red carpet gala opening night for the 62nd EIFF which has moved away from the traditional festival month of August for the first time.

Small Scottish gallery wins right to show artwork by rock icon Bob Dylan 072

By Karrie Gillett

A SMALL Scots art gallery has been picked to showcase an extremely rare collection of graphics from rock legend Bob Dylan.
The exhibition of the star’s paintings – entitled The Drawn Blank Series – is giving fans in the Scottish Borders a unique chance to own some of the singer-songwriter’s visual art.
And the Peebles-based gallery is one of only two in the country to host the exclusive collection made by Dylan while on the road from 1989 to 1992.
Bob Corsie, director of breeze gallery, said the phones were constantly ringing since the announcement that the prestigious works were coming to the small picturesque town.
Mr Corsie said: “The interest that the collection has already attracted is brilliant. I think there will be a lot of people coming here to have a look.
“breeze has been brave enough to feature his work and I think there will be a lot of other galleries kicking themselves when they see just how successful his art is because this isn’t just another singer releasing artwork.
“You can see just how truly special the works are when they are hung in a quality way.”
Each of the 29 watercolour paintings is limited to just 295 editions but the real attraction for collectors keen to own one of the works from the Blowin’ in the Wind singer – who has sold more than 110 million albums worldwide – is the individual signature.
Mr Corsie said: “Each and every single print is hand-signed by Bob Dylan and that in itself is really something quite special because Dylan doesn’t sign things these days. In fact, he has always been quite against it
“So, having these works hanging here with his name on the bottom really is special in itself and has brought Bob Dylan to the Scottish Borders which is fantastic.”
The prints – which are already proving a sell-out before even being seen by the general public – range in price from £1,000 to £35,000 for the full set.
And the gallery’s director is predicting a huge turnout for the week-long show with collectors rushing to get their hands on some of the most popular and vibrant pieces including the portfolio entitled Woman In Red Lion Pub.
Mr Corsie said: “It’s going to be difficult for collectors, to be honest , because they are already in short supply.
“There are only 295 editions of each piece and there are some which have so much interest that we see we could be sold out within days.
“Beyond the weekend I think they will be very, very hard to come by at all. They are all individually signed and it’s just a fantastic piece of art to have in your house.”
The collection will also be on show at Glasgow’s Princes Square gallery.

Sir Sean returns home for exclusive autobiography reading 071

By Karrie Gillett

SIR Sean Connery is to return to Scotland this summer to launch his much-anticipated autobiography.

The Bond superstar will jet in from his luxury home on the Bahamas for the Edinburgh International Book Festival where he will read selections from his book called Being a Scot.

And Connery will be celebrating his 78th birthday on the day of the talk on August 25 – marking a world exclusive for the festival which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The long-awaited autobiography – co-written with Scottish filmmaker Murray Grigor – will include details of life growing up in the capital, as well as promising a Scottish take on mixing with the Hollywood elite.

And for Catherine Lockerbie – director of the festival – there was only one place the work could ever have been launched.

Ms Lockerbie, who is celebrating the biggest ever book festival with 800 authors taking part, said she set her sights on securing the main attraction as soon as she heard about the screen legend’s novel.

She said: “A few years ago, Sir Sean said he was giving up movies to write his autobiography and I thought ‘When that book comes out, there is only one place on the planet that it is going to be launched and that’s at my festival in Charlotte Square Gardens.’

“When Murray Grigor became co-writer we just kept in there and argued very strongly that our festival was the best festival for this book.

“To me it just makes total sense. It had to be in his city, it’s a lovely thing that it’s on his birthday on the final day of our anniversary festival. It’s perfect.”

At yesterday’s launch of the festival line-up – which takes places from August 9 – 25 – the ex-Edinburgh milkman sent a comic-filled video message.

Connery – pictured on the golf course – joked at his inability to spell properly while Grigor looked on despairingly.

But Ms Lockerbie confirmed that although the novel was being co-written, it would offer a completely different personal insight into the Bond legend’s life.

She said:  “It isn’t anything like a conventional autobiography. When a big film star comes out with a book – and everyone agrees that Sir Sean is one of a handful of true stars in the whole world of movies – normally they will have it ghost-written by an anonymous person in the background.

“But this isn’t like this. This is Murray interviewing Sean about his opinions on everything from sport to architecture to the Scottish sense of humour and in the process, Sir Sean’s life emerges.

“It’s a different way in to showing where he came from and what he thinks.

She added:  “It’ll be quite playful, quite eccentric and utterly wonderful.”

And another Connery fan keen to get his hands on a ticket for the personal reading is Rebus author Ian Rankin.

The crime writer – who will host an audience with a mystery guest on the festival’s opening night – said he was eagerly waiting hearing Sir Sean’s account of Scotland.

He said: “Connery’s event is going to be a hot ticket. What an exclusive event that is going to be, I doubt I’ll get a ticket actually. It’s amazing.

“I’m looking forward to doing what I always do during the festival and that’s being a punter and listening to some great writers talking about a massive range of issues.

“It’s just such a mix. You know, Edinburgh’s a pressure cooker in August and the book festival  is such a great place to hang out, it’s an oasis. You don’t need to pay, you don’t need to be shy, you can just sit and have a picnic and hang out.”

But the Edinburgh-based writer said he was guarding the name of the mysterious guest with his life.

However, other heavyweights who have been named on the official programme include politicians Alex Salmond and John Prescott.

And meet-the-author events will offer personal readings from Salman Rushdie and Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh.

Stray dog tears family pets apart 070

By Michael MacLeod

A DISTRAUGHT family are calling for Staffordshire bull terriers to be banned after their beloved pet dog was killed in a savage attack.

Catherine Falconer, 52, was walking her four-year-old Toby and eight-month-old puppy Milo when a stray dog came towards them.

The beast bit tiny Toby – a miniature dachshund who stood at just 20cm tall – round the neck and threw him into the air, before launching an attack on the family’s Dachshund pup.

The attack was so brutal that Catherine lost her voice as she screamed for help and when she tried to intervene, was bitten herself.

Vets fought to save the two dogs but couldn’t save Toby from what they described as “horrific injuries”, and Milo is still in intensive care.

Police are hunting for the dangerous dog, and have warned anyone who sees it to keep away, but the Falconer family insist that the breed should be banned altogether.

Catherine told how she was out walking the two pets just before midnight on Sunday near her home in Tranent, East Lothian, when the stray ran at them.

She said: “The dog was running hell for leather at us and I just knew from how vicious it looked that it wanted to kill my wee dogs.

“It dug its teeth into Toby and flung him into the air like a rag doll, then chased Milo and bit him too.

“Both my dogs were covered in blood so I kicked the Terrier to fend it off while it was jumping up at me.

“Every time I shut my eyes I see it, and I want them taken off the streets because they are no different to pit bulls.”

Four-year-old Toby died shortly after the attack, while doctors at the Braids veterinary hospital battled for three hours to save Milo in an operation on his ruptured abdomen.

The tiny pup is still in intensive care and has been given a 50-50 chance of survival.

Catherine added: “We sit up at night just waiting on a call from the vets with news about Milo,”

“I lost my voice screaming at the terrier to go away, and I’m so upset I can’t even cry.

“Everyone in Tranent knows how much we loved our pups, and why anyone would want to own a beast like the one which killed Toby, I do not know.”

Mike Hall, a partner at the Braids veterinary hospital in Edinburgh, described the injuries sustained by the two dogs as “horrific”.

He said: “They are small dogs so they do not have a lot of muscle or a thick coat or hide to protect them, and the injuries were even more severe than they might have been otherwise.

“Both dogs had injuries to the abdomen, and unfortunately one of the dogs was too badly injured and couldn’t be saved.

“The other was treated straight away by our E-Vets emergency team, who operated to repair damage to the intestines for around three hours. Milo is now in intensive care and is recovering but we will need to wait and see how he does.

“It is not uncommon for dogs to attack other dogs, unfortunately, but to see an attack like this must have been absolutely tragic for the owner.”

Catherine and husband Mike are now determined to help police trace the stray dog, and are considering asking local politicians to support their call for a ban on Staffordshire bull terriers.

The mother-of-two said: “I know it’s only a dog we’ve lost, but this happened just around the corner from a primary school, and I shudder to think what it would have done to a child,”

“These dogs are like weapons, and police told us they are often used by people for protection.

“But that’s no excuse, these aren’t pets and they should not be stray on the streets like this.

“Somebody in this area knows whose dog that is, and I would love to see them in court.”

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they were investigating CCTV footage of the area, but were unable to trace where the dog had come from.

A spokesman said: “The dog is still at large and given its nature, our advice to anyone who sees it would be to not go near it and phone police immediately.”

Only last week the RSPCA issued a statement saying the breed were the country’s most abandoned dog.

Scottish SPCA spokesperson Jo Wilson said that while they can be good pets, owners must be responsible for their actions.

She said: “This is an incredibly tragic and horrific incident for the owners of the small dogs.

“But we would hope it’s the deed and not the breed which gets punished.

“Staffies can be brilliant family dogs and if one does suddenly become aggressive, we advise owners to please take them to a vet rather than dump them as sadly appears to be the case here.”