Whisky no more as thief plunders the world’s oldest malt

By Cara Sulieman & Shaun Milne

A RARE limited edition bottle of the world’s oldest whisky has been stolen at a prestigious European trade fair.

The precious malt – worth £385 a nip – was one of the main attractions at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival which was held in Stockholm last weekend

Shocked exhibitors discovered the vintage Mortlach 70 Years Old was lifted from a table by a thief when no one was watching.

The attractive looking 20cl decanter was simply taken from the tasting table of Swedish importers Symposium at the weekend.

It was reported to local police, but so far no trace has been found.

Distillers Gordon and MacPhail behind the classic ‘Generations’ range of whisky revealed it will be almost impossible for anyone to sell the bottle on because it is so rare.

The thief also left behind vital packaging and certificate, a must for any serious buyer.

One of just 162, it was part of a limited number of bottles made by the company under their “Generations” range. Continue reading

Tokens of diplomatic thanks up for auction



By Cara Sulieman

THEY were symbols of thanks for preventing two countries from going to war over a drunken misunderstanding.

And now the silver punch bowl, cup and salver given to the American admiral who saved the day are going under the hammer in Edinburgh.

Russia and Britain almost went to war in 1904 over the Dogger Bank incident, where a nervous Russian fleet opened fire on British fishing vessels in the North Sea.

But the Americans stepped in and negotiated a truce between the two nations, who were so grateful that they sent gifts.

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Blast from the past on Scottish golf course

Hickory Open By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTLAND played host to a PGA World Open Championship yesterday – with a twist.

Ditching their high-tech modern equipment, amateurs and pros alike donned plus-fours and wooden clubs to play the game like it was played in the 1930s.

With a £12,500 prize up for grabs, almost 150 competitors flocked to Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian for the PGA World Hickory Open Championship.

Players from all corners of the globe were represented, with Hickory champs from Germany and Sweden up against former PGA winners, including former Italian Open winner Dean Robertson.

Lionel Freedman, chairman and founder of the World Hickory Open, said that golfers were welcoming the opportunity to play the game as it was played 100 years ago. Continue reading

MSPs to look into blood donations after hearing schoolboy’s petition

Alness Academy Pupils

From left to right: Gorgon Mokwa, Andrew Dannet, Ben Jones and Aiden McKenzie from Alness Academy

By Cara Sulieman

THE Scottish Parliament is to investigate the best way to raise awareness of the need for blood donors – after a schoolboy urged MSPs to start paying people for donations.

The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament dismissed the idea to reward blood donors with cash.

But the move has spurred them into finding out just how else they can increase the number of donors.

Andrew Dannet, 16, submitted the original petition to the committee calling on them to do something about the low numbers of donors in Scotland.

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Mother’s bid for truth takes her to Salmond’s front door 061

By Karrie Gillett

THE GRIEVING mother of a Swedish woman found dead on a Scottish beach has urged the First Minister to launch an official murder hunt into her daughter’s death.

Guje Borjesson has always maintained that her 30-year-old daughter Annie was murdered and yesterday she visited Alex Salmond’s official residence to hand over a letter demanding a fatal accident inquiry be opened.

And the Swedish woman – who has travelled to Scotland four times in a quest for answers since Annie’s body was found on Prestwick beach in December 2005 – said she warned Salmond there was still a killer on the loose.

Mrs Borjesson and Annie’s best friend Maria Jansson went to the Bute House residence in Edinburgh hoping to personally submit a letter to the First Minister.

But the 54-year-old said she was overwhelmed when he asked them to come in and listened to their case for more than 30 minutes.

Last night she said she felt the SNP leader was really interested in the case and had said he would help with her pursuit for justice.

Mrs Borjesson said: “He did say that he couldn’t make any promises but I assured him of how I was 100 percent certain that Annie had been killed.

“I am her mother and I know that something very awful must have happened to her. I told Mr Salmond that I was sure there was still a killer out there because justice has never been done.

“We went into a big room and he sat down and just listened to what we had to say. I told him about Annie, her life, how she absolutely loved Scotland and about her case.

“I am grateful that someone has finally listened to me.”

However, the mother-of-four who travelled from the small Swedish town of Tibro said they would continue their “two-woman murder hunt” until the truth was revealed.

And Miss Jansson, 40, described how yesterday had been a real challenge for the two women who have already written to five procurator fiscals and campaigned endlessly to the crown office and police.

She said: “We were never expecting to actually meet with Mr Salmond so we are extremely grateful to actually be invited into his house.

“However, optimism is not allowed for us. We can not start to think we have made any progress until we have the promise of an FAI. “

Miss Jansson and Annie’s mother have been staying in Scotland for almost one month and have been speaking to anyone who saw her in the days before her body was discovered on the Ayrshire beach on December 4, 2005.
She revealed how Annie had “fallen in love with Scotland” and returned for her third stint of working here.
She described her friend – who had been working at the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre on the Royal Mile – as “beautiful and intelligent with long blond hair”.

It is thought she was making her way to Prestwick Airport for a flight to Sweden when she died.

A postmortem examination determined she had drowned, and a police report read that she had either taken her own life or died as the result of an accident.

But the two women both claim she had many so many plans and was looking forward to carving a career for herself in Scotland.

Recently, they were given three CCTV images taken the day before Annie’s body was recovered. And her friend Maria points towards a red and white fleece shown in the pictures as proof that she came to an untimely end at the hands of someone else.
She said: “Annie was wearing the fleece in these pictures but then it is not found on the body the very next day.
“I believe that someone was definitely with her when she died and that they could have this fleece.”

The family are now appealing for anyone with information to visit their website http://www.annierockstar.com/

A spokesman for the Crown Office said there was still no evidence that a crime had been committed.
A statement said: “”It is entirely a matter for the Lord Advocate as to whether or not a Fatal Accident Inquiry should be instructed.  This case is not one in which it would be appropriate to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry. 
There has been a very detailed and thorough investigation, there is at present no evidence that that a crime has occurred. Any new information that is made available to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will be given consideration. Annie’s family have been kept informed of the situation, and will continue to be informed of any developments.”
But her mother last night pleaded in a letter to Mr Salmond: “Annie loved Scotland and I can see why.
“This is a beautiful country with lovely and caring people. Please do not leave them and our family with all these unanswered questions. All we want is an FAI into Annie’s mysterious death.
“Please let us know why Annie had to die in the country she loved.”