T in the Park tickets cause traffic chaos

By Cara Sulieman

HUNDREDS of desperate music fans queued overnight to get T in the Park tickets, causing traffic chaos on the capital’s streets.

The doors opened at 9am on Friday and festival-goers started queuing on Thursday afternoon, determined to be at the festival.

Police had to block off a lane of the road to ensure pedestrians could squeeze past the crowd, who had pitched tents and brought supplies to get them through the night.

And security kept a close eye on the young throng as they kept themselves entertained until they found out if they managed to get one of the remaining 40,000 tickets.

Starting at Ripping Records on the city’s South Bridge, it snaked round the corner on to Chamber Street and was kept back by a large metal fence.

And with a lane closed off on the main artery during rush hour it only added to the road jams caused by the tram works on Princess Street.

Cars, buses and taxis crawled past the buoyant mob on their way into the city centre.

With a fantastic line up including Blur, Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol playing at Balado this year, the young queue were determined to be there.

First in line were four friends from Glasgow, who had been confused when they turned up at a Ticket Scotland branch only to find they weren’t being sold.

Sarah Scott, Stacey Dent and Tracey McIntyre, all 18, and Gemma Purdon, 19, all then jumped on a train through to the capital to ensure they would be at the festival in July.

Tracey explained the wait in the freezing cold weather was worth it.

She said: “We tried to go to Glasgow and found out they wasn’t actually selling them so we had to come through to Edinburgh.

“Then I had to leave to go to work in Glasgow at 8pm and came back again afterwards.

“This is my first festival. I have never been to T in the Park before and some of my favourite bands are playing like the Killers, Snow Patrol and Kings of Leon.

“It is just an ultimate dream line up and I can’t wait to see them.”

With such huge numbers of people lining up along the busy Edinburgh road, the security was high.

The police had to close off a lane of South Bridge so that pedestrians could squeeze past the campers, and council workers started to clean up the rubbish left behind.

A police spokesman for Lothian and Borders said: “Police were in attendance to ensure the safety of a high number of people queuing on the South Bridge this morning.

“Barriers were erected and traffic restrictions were put in place on the South Bridge northwards.”

Superfit ten-year-old saves mum from drowning

Bath saving

By Cara Sulieman

A SUPERFIT boy hero saved his mum from drowning by hauling her out of the bath by her hair.

Aidan Smith, 10, found his mum Amanda unconscious and underwater in their bathroom in Galashiels.

But instead of panicking, the brave boy pulled the plug before using all his strength to drag the 30-year-old out on to the floor.

His relieved mum said: “If it hadn’t been for Aidan, I would have died – I am so proud of him.

“He is an amazing boy – I always knew he was intelligent and caring but I never thought he would save my life.”

Amanda had gone for a soak whilst Aidan and two of his sisters Madison, 7, and Lily-Ruth, 2, played downstairs.

She had asked her son to fetch her mobile phone while she relaxed in the bubbles.

But when he returned he found his mother under the water and not moving.

After shouting her name and getting no response, he tried to get her head above the water.

He yanked the plug out to empty the bath and then pulled her out of the tub by her hair.

Placing his mum in the recovery position, he covered her with a towel while calming his screaming young sisters down before he called his granny for help.

Amanda’s mother Sheila MacDonald works as a domestic porter at Borders General Hospital so Aidan knew she would know what to do.

Amanda said: “Water was spurting out of my mouth and I was coughing so Aidan banged my back.

“When my mum turned up, she said he had everything under control and was making sure I was kept warm.

“I don’t remember what happened at all until I was in the ambulance. They think it was a combination of my low blood pressure and the hot water which made me faint.”

The mother-of-four was given oxygen and rushed to hospital where she stayed under observation.

Amanda thinks it is partly down to her rugby-playing son’s weight-lifting which gave him the strength to remove all eight-stone of her from the bathtub on Tuesday February 10.

She said: “He plays rugby for the Mini Maroons and has little weights in his rooms that he uses trying to build up his muscles.

“It was probably a combination of fear, adrenalin and his weights-training that gave him the strength.”

And now Amanda is determined for her rugby-mad son to meet his hero – Scotland kicker Chris Paterson.

She said: “I went to school with Chris and bump into him from time-to-time but Aidan has never been with me.

“He would love to meet him and I think it is the least he deserves for what he has done.

“He’s just a special boy.”

Record-setting RBS losses provoke anger

By Oliver Farrimond

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland yesterday announced losses of £24 billion – the biggest in British corporate history.

With the recession set to deepen in 2009, the announcement will come as grim news to investors, shareholders and RBS customers.

Speaking at a news conference, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester said the bank was “under no illusions” about the scale of the losses.

He added that it was important “to think about the past, to know what went wrong, to disclose it and to address those issues”.

The troubled bank, which was bailed out by taxpayers earlier this year, is also under fire over the pension of ex-boss Sir Fred Goodwin.

The disgraced exec’s £650,000-a-year retirement package has provoked widespread anger, with political leaders from all parties calling on the ex-RBS chief to give up his taxpayer-funded pension.

Cops in TV appeal for 1983 murder

Sheila Anderson Murder

By Karrie Gillett

A NEW television appeal is going out in a bid to solve the 26-year mystery of the murder of a young mother.

A reconstruction of the last known movements of Edinburgh prostitute Sheila Anderson will be aired on BBC’s Crimewatch programme tonight (THU).

The 27-year-old was murdered on Gypsy Brae in the Granton area of the city but her body was so badly damaged that cops initially thought she was a car crash victim.

It was thought the mother-of-two had been repeatedly run over in a car and the killer has never been caught.

Now, detectives have staged a televised re-enactment of Miss Anderson’s last day on April 7 1983.

The brutal murder shocked the community after two CB radio enthusiasts discovered the dying woman suffering with her horrific injuries.

The pair called an ambulance immediately but the mother of two young sons died in hospital a few hours after arriving.

Her bag was found two days later in an East Lothian car park, containing a green tobacco tin that she was known to use.

The case was reopened in May last year and officers from Lothian and Borders Police are now hoping the slot on Crimewatch will renew public interest.

The murdered woman had left a house in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh at around noon and the final confirmed sighting of her was in Leith’s Commercial Street at 11.30pm.

There had been various sightings of her during the day in West Granton and various areas of Leith.

Officers now hope the TV appeal might jog the memory of anyone holding information that can lead police to her killer.

And in Thursday night’s programme, Sheila’s family will reveal the trauma they have suffered as a result of her murder.

In a joint statement, they said: “Sheila’s death affected all our lives, and still does to this day. We remember Sheila as a woman with a gentle nature, who was loving and caring.

“She touched the hearts of all who knew her, and was much-loved by us all. We hope that after many years we will obtain the answers to the questions that we have.

“It is vital that anyone who has information regarding Sheila’s death gets in touch with either Crimewatch or the police. There must be someone out there who can help us, and by coming forward that person will allow Sheila to rest in peace.”

Detective Inspector Steven Reed, who is leading the inquiry, said that circumstances might have changed in the 26 years since the killing and some members of the public may now be in a position to come forward.

He said: “This is the first UK-wide witness appeal for this case and we are hopeful that this direct plea by the victim’s family will provide the answers that they deserve.”

Giant custard experiment shows science is no trifling matter

Custard Experiment

By Karrie Gillett

AN EXPERIMENT using an inflatable pool filled with enough custard to make 875 trifles has been used to show science has many uses.

A Scottish Government campaign has been launched in a bid to show young people that science is “not just for geeks”.

The drive aims to challenge misconceptions about the subject – after recent research showed many young people believe science is “dull” and “geeky”.

The messy experiment saw pupils from Trinity Academy in Edinburgh run across a pool of custard without sinking.

About 40 students took turns to skip, dance and jump on the dessert-filled pool in order to demonstrate the ‘non-Newtonian nature of custard’.

Fiona Hyslop, secretary for education, said: “As these pupils are demonstrating, science is not all about lab coats and pipettes.

“It’s about finding out how life works and how we can make it better.

“That’s what we want Scotland’s young people to realise.”

And Trinity Academy science teacher Philip Wilson said enthusiasm for science at the school is more than evident.

He said: “Our science classes are full up with keen pupils.

“It’s very important to get kids engaged in science. We really want to show them the releveant and contemporary nature of the subject.

“Studying science can lead on to a variety of careers, for example, sports medicine or fashion design.”

Employment research has shown that 58 per cent of science graduates are in full-time employment just six months after completing their degrees.

And results from the Work and Hours Survey showed the best-paid science professionals can earn an average of £72,515 per year.

Professor Anne Glover, the Scottish Government’s chief scientific adviser, said: “Science has the power to open up so many career paths for our young people.

“This campaign challenges the misconceptions around science and shows the huge creative opportunities that a science-based career can provide.

“It will stimulate debate and encourage our young people to find out more about the science in their everyday lives, much of which has been shaped by pioneering developments in Scotland.”

Plumber jailed after scaling Forth Bridge

By Michael MacLeod

A PLUMBER has been jailed after scaling the Forth Road Bridge to commit suicide the day after his friend’s funeral.

William Keenan, 40, scaled the south tower of the iconic landmark on Tuesday evening bringing traffic to a halt for an hour.

His antics sparked a full scale response as concerned drivers below plagued emergency services with calls to report him.

Eventually, two bridge riggers spotted Keenan and managed to persuade him to climb down.

The suicide bid came on the same day bridge bosses revealed plans to use infra-red beams to catch people climbing up.

Yesterday at Dunfermline sheriff Court, Keenan admitted a breach of the peace and acting in a disorderly manner and was jailed for two months.

The court heard how Keenan lost his job with drains company Penant last month and had buried a close friend just the day before his attempted death jump.

Around 6pm on Tuesday a number of drivers started to call 999 reporting seeing a man jumping the fences and climbing the bridge’s 500feet.

This sparked a full-scale response from the emergency services – with 13 police vehicles from Fife and Lothian and Borders as well as the coastguard and ambulance.

When he got to top, he was seen hanging over the edge and looking down at the River Forth.

Bridge controllers followed him on CCTV while a police negotiator rushed to the scene.

But it was two bridge rig workers who eventually talked the Blackburn, West Lothian man out of jumping.

They accompanied him down in a lift and he was arrested at the bottom by waiting police.

Once in the police car he told cops: “You can do what you want to me, it’s the end of me anyway. I will just hang a noose around my next.”

Solicitor Andrew Aitken described Keenan’s background as “somewhat unfortunate”.

He said: “Mr Keenan was paid off a month ago and since then his mood became worse. Furthermore, he was at a close fri4end’s funeral the day before this. It was a number of factors which led him to the bridge.

“He is no longer suicidal and intends to get help from a GP. He cooperated calmly and quietly with the staff who spoke to him and since that point he decided he no longer wishes to take his life.”

But after hearing the facts of the case Sheriff Ian Dunbar was unsympathetic and jailed him for two months.

He said: “The court must have regard to the concerns which others raised. The court must also have regard for the inconvenience and cost of your actions.

“I am advised that there is no psychiatric history in your case. Having regard to the fact that you plead guilty I will reduce your sentence from three months to two months.

“I would advise you to seek any medical advice you can get.”

Thug kills puppy with coffee mug

By Michael MacLeod

A THUG who killed a miniature Poodle with a coffee mug because it wouldn’t stop barking has been jailed.

Ian Robson, 32, claimed he was angry at the noise his friend’s 15-month-old puppy Olly was making and lashed out at the defenceless animal.

Sick Robson hit it so hard with the cup, the dog’s skull was smashed and it had blood pouring from its nostrils.

And despite emergency treatment from a vet, the whimpering Poodle later died from its injuries.

Yesterday at Dunfermline Sheriff Court he admitted culpable and reckless conduct – despite claiming that he liked animals and felt terrible that he had killed the pup – and was jailed for six months.

The court heard how Olly’s owner Mr Wilson had been visiting Robson’s Lochgelly home last July and took the pup with him.

But when his friend left the room to go to the toilet, the dog’s barking got louder and Robson lost it.

Short fused Robson lashed out at the animal smashing his skull.

When Mr Wilson returned, Robson was holding the dog out in front of him and it was barely conscious with blood streaming from its nostrils.

Olly was rushed by taxi to a vet in Dunfermline where he was given intravenous fluids and medical care.

But moments later the terrified pup suffered a seizure and died.

Robson later told police he “felt terrible” about the attack and claimed he was only trying to quieten it down.

His defence agent Richard Flett said: “The dog was barking and became louder but this is in no way intended to excuse Mr Robson.

“He lashed out at the dog and unfortunately this appears to be the cause of the fracture He likes animals and accepts he hit the dog with some force.

“But his intention was not to harm it, his intention was to quieten it.

“He very much regrets what has happened and is extremely ashamed and has expressed remorse.

“Sadly other family members have also carried the can for what has happened.”

Sentencing him to six months behind bars for the attack, Sheriff Craig McSherry said: “I understand there are others ways of dealing with this but striking a dog with such force as to cause its skull to fracture deserves a custodial penalty.”

Babe saves his own bacon

Babe the pig

By Paul Thornton

A PIGLET destined for the slaughterhouse has saved his own bacon after being found by a local farmer following almost a week on the run.

Babe was discovered in a field just outside Edinburgh by a farmer last week and is now being nursed back to health.

Scottish SPCA workers who are caring for the six-week-old porker say because of his breed his most likely destiny was the dinner plate.

But after his bid for freedom, which has left the young swine thin and exhausted, it is hoped a farmer or freeholder will take him as a pet.

The piglet was found by a farmer at the Whitehill Mains Farm near the Fort Kinnaird retail park, just south of Edinburgh.

He was named Babe by an ambulance driver who took him to the Scottish SPCA’s animal rescue centre at Balerno, Midlothian, and is now being fed and cared for.

Assistant manager at the centre, Kenny Sharpe, said that he was probably on his way to a slaughterhouse.

He said: “Babe is a large white industry standard breed of pig and has had his tail docked, which are both signs that he was destined for the meat trade.

“The piglet was quite unwell when he arrived with us. He was dirty, thin and weak so we think he may have been straying for four or five days at least.”

And, Kenny said, the sudden appearance of Babe miles from the nearest abattoir in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders has left animal workers stumped.

He said: “It’s a bit of a mystery how Babe came to be found, but we have had incidents in the past where pigs have fallen off livestock transporters and are found at the roadside so that could explain what has happened here.

“There is a railway line close to the farm so he may even have come by train.”

And now carers at Balerno are keen to see Babe re-homed with a loving, and possibly vegetarian, family.

Kenny said: “We cleaned him up and have been giving him antibiotics on a daily basis. He’s feeding and drinking okay, but we are monitoring his progress for now.”

“If he makes a full recovery we will be looking for home for him as a pet. Ideally it will be someone with a bit of land, such as a small holding or petting farm, and a secure, pig-proof compound as we know he is already good at escaping!”

Anyone interested in re-homing an animal or wishing to donate to or join the Scottish SPCA can visit scottishspca.org or telephone 03000 999 999.

Anti-gay Christians distribute ‘abhorrent’ cartoon strip


By Alexander Lawrie

FURIOUS Scots have blasted an evangelical group for distributing a booklet to encourage hatred towards homosexuals.

The cartoon-strip leaflet, entitled Birds and Bees, is being handed out in cafes, churches and youth clubs in Dunfermline, Fife.

It features two gay characters called Larry and Charles who are introduced to a class full of schoolkids and are depicted throughout with demons crawling over them.

And in it homosexuals are compared to the people of the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah – cities that were destroyed by God for their inhabitant’s sins.

The chairman of a Fife-based gay support group has condemned the anonymously distributed booklet as “abhorrent”.

And a local councillor has joined the condemnation by claiming the cartoon book is “encouraging a form of hatred in the community”.

It is being handed out by a group calling themselves the American Evangelist Christian Company, and there are thought to be around 10,000 copies of the publication in circulation in and around the Fife town.

Throughout the cartoon storyline – which is obviously designed to attract children’s interest – the two homosexual characters are demonized for their lifestyle.

The schoolkids in the cartoon strip are told by a Christian classmate that “God hates homosexuality” and warns us in the Bible to stay away from it.

In the cartoon strip, the homosexual characters are accused of brainwashing the schoolchildren about their gay lifestyle.

One little boy is chastised by his teacher for using the word “queer” while one school girl regales her classmates of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The children are then told that they will be “saved” if they follow the Bible’s teachings and the school girl is quoted as saying: “Satan wants to destroy us kids. But God still says being gay is an abomination.

“If anyone tries to make you gay – stay away from them.”


Graham Whyte, chair of the Fife Free Lesbian and Gay Society believes the non-PC booklet encourages hatred towards gays.

He said: “People aren’t born hateful of other people – they are taught that. And this is a clear example of a group trying to teach small children to hate other people. I think that’s abhorrent.

“I think people pit Christianity against ordinary gay people’s values and that’s wrong. Many people are members of both communities.

“It’s certainly not healthy for children to get such a distorted unbalanced view. I look in the mirror and I don’t see a wee devil sitting at the top of my head.

“So while we can ignore a leaflet like this as irrelevant it needs to be known that this is not mainstream thinking by enlightened reasonable people.”

Councillor Liz Mogg, a former headteacher believes the offensive cartoon strip is encouraging hatred towards the local homosexual community, and believes children should be protected from reading the booklet.

She said: “I imagine any headteacher who would look at that would put it in the bim immediately.

“It’s only encouraging a form of hatred in the community.

“It’s important to prevent this getting to children in the 11-14 age group – a lot of them might not be sure of their own sexuality let alone anything else, and to have this sort of thing thrown at them makes things worse,”

“Bullies will find any reason to make someone else’s life a misery just by calling tham a name, whether it’s warranted or not.

“I think children have quite enough to deal with without the fear of eternal damnation and brimstone.”

The definition of a hate crime adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland is “any crime where the perpetrators prejudice against any identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised”.

A Fife police spokesperson said: “We received no complaints about this matter and can therefore make no further comment.”

Scots stunna in bid to be High St Honey

Kirsty McDaid

By Alexander Lawrie

A SEXY Scots nurse has beaten off stiff competition from thousands of wannabe models to make the top ten in FHM’s hottest High Street Honeys.

Kirsty McDaid, 23, polled thousands of votes to become one of only three Scottish finalists in the popular lad’s mag’s competition.

Kirsty, who works at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, stands to win a cool ten grand and a chance to become a cover star of the saucy magazine if she wins the coveted title.

The gorgeous phlebotomist from Lochgelly, Fife, is “delighted” to have made the final and is hoping to “make her home town proud of her”.

She said: “I can’t really believe I’ve made the top ten. I’m just so grateful to everyone who voted for me in the last round.

“The whole town really got behind me because I said I wanted to put Lochgelly on the map.

“I’m just the girl-next-door, really down to earth, but if I win that’s what I’ll try and do.”

The stunning blonde mum-of-one was entered into the sexy competition by a close friend who wanted to surprise her.

Kirsty said: “I would never have had the guts to enter myself, but when my friend heard about the High Street Honeys they sent off some pictures of me.

“Hopefully, I can now go all the way.”

And the Scots stunner has revealed she is so popular at the hospital where she works that some of the admiring doctors have taken to putting her image on their phones.

She said: “Yes. It’s true some of the doctors have put my photo on their phone, but it’s all just a bit of fun. I’m quite flattered by all the attention really.