Category: Bo’ness

Referency Library – Scotland – Falkirk – Bo’ness

How to get free alcoholic icecream at Bullring Birmingham this weekend

People in Birmingham are to be among the first to try a new alcoholic ice cream for free.
Birmingham was voted as one of only three cities that will get to have FREE Strongbow Dark Fruit ice cream for one day only.
A special ice cream truck will be at …

Horror smash that killed two lorry drivers on Aberdeenshire road was caused by trucker falling asleep at the wheel

Road tragedy

The driver of the Warburtons lorry veered into the opposite lane and smashed head-on with another vehicle

A HORROR crash that claimed the lives of two lorry drivers was caused after one of them fell asleep at the wheel, a sheriff has…

Murder accused denies throwing man into canal

A murder accused denied that he flung 27-year-old Russell Robertson over a bridge into a canal.

HGV driver Mark Munro, who was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow, claimed that he was trying to help Russell – known as Smeegs – and that it was his co-accused James Robertson who flipped him over the bridge.

Munro (31), from Denny, and Robertson (27), from Pitlochry, deny murdering Russell from Falkirk, by pushing him over bridge railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk, on May 29, last year, and causing him to fall into the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Defence counsel Tony Graham, representing Robertson, accused Munro of lying and said he had given a different version of events in court and in a prepared statement through his lawyer and during a police interview.

Munro said: “The solicitor didn’t want details just basics. He must misheard me.”

He claimed he got confused when speaking to police because he had had no sleep for 40 hours.

Mr Graham said: “You are making up a lie, a complete lie and it’s difficult to remember what you’ve said,” and Munro replied: “I’m telling the truth.”

The defence counsel then said: “You put that man over the bridge,” and Munro responded: “No.”

Mr Graham added: “We will never know why you did it, but you did it,” and he said: “No.”

Munro denied a suggestion from Mr Graham that Robertson had left the bridge before Russell went over the railings.

Earlier, Munro told his QC Derek Ogg that he grabbed at 27-year-old Russell’s left arm as he went over railings on a bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Munro told the jury: “If I hadn’t done that he would have gone straight into the water.”

Mr Ogg asked Munro: “Did you see Russell Robertson going over,” and he replied: “Yes, his whole body went over and I grabbed his left arm. It was more his clothing at the shoulder to stop him going in the water.

“I swung him over to the banking. He nearly pulled me over and I smashed my arm against the wall.”

He was asked if he managed to keep his grip on Russell and replied: “No, I lost my grip.”

Munro said he did not hear a splash and thought Russell was in bushes.

Mr Ogg asked: “Did you look,” and Munro replied: “Yes, I saw him lying there. He was sitting there on his bum. I shouted ‘Are you alright.’ I heard aaah and thought he was saying aye.”

Munro claimed that seconds before Robertson was fighting with Russell and he had to separate them.

He added: “James tried to push him over the railings. He flipped his legs up. He pushed him right over the fence.”

The jury heard that Munro fainted when police told him on May 29, 2016 that Russell was dead. When asked why he had done this, he replied: “I was shocked.”

Munro has still to be cross-examined by prosecutor Alan Cameron.

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.

Homeless HGV driver discrimination claims

A homeless HGV driver and instructor has said the system is discriminating against him because he is employed and has mental health issues.

Roger Filston has been trying to find a home for eight months following the break-up of his marriage, but due to his circumstances he cannot afford the supported and assisted accommodation Falkirk Council has offered him.

The 48-year-old has battled problems with alcohol and depression due to the pressure of the split which, coupled with knee problems and owning a dog, has meant properties he has been eligible for haven’t been suitable.

Mr Filston said: “The council offered me accommodation at the Castings, but my doctor wrote a letter to them stating it wouldn’t be beneficial for me.

“Because I work, it would also have cost me over £700 per month which I simply cannot afford. The other assisted accommodation they offered in Grangemouth would have cost me even more.

“These places also do not accept dogs, neither does other places I looked at in the private sector so I couldn’t get any of those.

“I have bid for around 20 houses but haven’t got any of them. I think that if I was jobless I would have something by now. I’ve been without a house for eight months now, sleeping on friends’ couches or in a cheap hotel when I can afford it and it’s really taking its toll. I just feel the system is against me.

“I work hard and just want somewhere I can call home.”

SNP election candidate for Falkirk North David Alexander has represented Mr Filston in meetings and says he has “major issues” with how it has been handled.

He said: “I am very concerned indeed by the manner in which Mr Filston’s case has highlighted major issues within the homeless and allocations processes within Falkirk Council. What the outcome has been is the demonstration of the lack of openness and transparency within that process.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are sympathetic to Mr Filston’s situation however we must stress that we have made several offers of supported and temporary accommodation that have been declined.

“We have asked that he widen his choices a little to see if other properties in the area match his needs. He has also been given advice about renting in the private sector. We will continue to offer our support if required.”

Jackknifed lorry closes off road

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Court hear East Dunbartonshire man was ‘foaming at the mouth’ at the wheel

An East Dunbartonshire man is facing jail after driving 20 miles along busy motorways while out of his mind on a Japanese designer drug.

Christian Calderwood had to be forced to a halt by other drivers who surrounded him with their vehicles and then took his keys.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told today (Tuesday, March 7) that Calderwood (42) appeared to be almost unconscious behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Astra and was foaming at the mouth and barely able to stand by the time police arrived to help.

The court heard he was first spotted driving erratically on the M80 west of Stirling at about 5pm one Monday last May, at the start of the evening rush, and was speeding up and slowing down and veering from lane to lane.

Lindsey Brooks, prosecuting, said that other motorists were so concerned about the way he was driving that they began to follow him, and saw that he then joined M9, heading north.

At about 5.30pm, a trucker on the M9 who was doing about 55 miles per hour in the inside lane watched in horror in his mirror as Calderwood’s Astra came up behind him, almost hit him, then overtook, just missing the rear of the lorry, before drifting onto the hard shoulder and back again onto the motorway.

As they passed junction 10, for Stirling and Callander, the lorry driver saw the Astra drift into the acceleration lane meant for traffic joining the motorway, and assumed the driver must be unwell and was pulling up, but then it drifted back onto the main carriageway.

Mrs Brooks said: “All this time the car seemed to be speeding up and slowing down erratically.”

The concerned trucker then decided he would try to bring the car to a halt, and about 150 feet before Keir Roundabout at the Perthshire end of the motorway he slowed to a halt, forcing the Astra to stop behind him, while motorists in cars stopped alongside him, “effectively blocking him in”.

One witness took the keys out of the Astra’s ignition.

Mrs Brooks, the depute fiscal, said: “The witnesses spoke to the accused, who seemed to be confused and foaming from the mouth.”

Calderwood staggered out and went to his boot, saying he was looking for his keys.

Police, called by other drivers, arrived after a few minutes and found Calderwood still standing at the boot.

Mrs Brooks said: “The police noted he was unsteady on his feet, unaware of his surroundings, where he was, or what he was doing.

“There appeared to be white powder round his mouth and the officers said they were having difficulty keeping him awake.”

He was told to take a roadside breath-test, but did not appear to understand what he was being asked to do.

Mrs Brooks said: “The police couldn’t smell alcohol, and formed the opinion he was impaired by some other drug.”

He was arrested and taken to Falkirk Police Station, where a police surgeon confirmed the officers’ opinion and took a blood test which, on analysis, showed high levels of a drug called Etizolam.

The drug, prescribed for insomnia and anxiety by Japanese and Indian doctors in carefully-controlled doses, is abused in the west and known as “e-tizzy” for its “unsubtle” effects.

It is described on one website as “a black out ride down a highway to coma”.

Calderwood, single and unemployed, of Townhead, Kirkintilloch, pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs in the incident on May 23, 2016.

Defence agent Peter Farrell said it had been the first time that Calderwood had taken Etizolam, and shortly after he had done so he had got a call from his girlfriend who was staying in a caravan somewhere near Stirling and wanted him to come and collect her.

Mr Farrell said: “When he left Glasgow he thought that he’d be all right.”

Sheriff Richard McFarlane deferred sentence for four weeks for reports, disqualified Calderwood from driving in the interim, and praised the lorry driver and the other motorists, who were not named, for their actions.

He told Calderwood: “The journey described significantly compromised the safety of other road users.

“The lorry driver, and the other drivers, are to be commended for bringing you up to a halt.

“From the description I have, you were hardly fit to stand, let alone drive a vehicle.”

He added: “This was a significant infringement of the law.”

Calderwood, who could be jailed when he returns to be sentenced, laughed and joked he left court with a friend.