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Security for Nicola Sturgeon stepped up after online death threats

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon1 s personal security has been beefed up in the wake of a torrent of online threats hurled at the country s political leaders.

It is understood a police2 officer is now responsible for driving the SNP3 leader to events in an unmarked police car . Until now, the First Minister’s security has been minimal and she has been driven around by government civilian drivers.

In March, the Sunday Herald revealed that Police Scotland was investigating a catalogue of online abuse aimed at Sturgeon4.

The hate speech, based on hundreds of tweets, included threats of violence and sexualised insults.

One troll wrote: A f**king hate Nicola Sturgeon, wish someone would shoot the daft jock b*****d .

Another Twitter user wrote: Nicola Sturgeon needs a kick up the c**t .

Scottish Labour5 leader Kezia Dugdale and Tory counterpart Ruth Davidson6 have also been targeted online.

Sturgeon and her Ministers have until now been ferried about by pool drivers in the Government7 Car Service, but this newspaper has learned that security around the First Minister has been stepped up.

A police officer now takes the lead on driving duties and a second officer sometimes accompanies her on visits.

Stuart Crawford, a former military officer who is a security and defence consultant, said: Every public figure, whether political or not, is at risk to a certain extent . It is a case of trying to make an informed judgement of how great that risk is.

I have met Nicola on the train from Edinburgh8 to Glasgow9 and chatted to her, and that is one of the great things about the politics of the Scottish Parliament10 .

You can walk down the Royal Mile and meet MSPs and Ministers, and engage with them.

But you have always got the nutter scenario – the John Lennon scenario .

So it seems to be sensible for her to have that police driver and escort, so long as it doesn t divorce her from the public.”

He added: People who might be on the receiving end of some sort of physical threat have just got to be wise to it.

The shift mirrors security changes when Alex Salmond11 was First Minister between 2007 and 2014.

His government driver doubled up as a body guard and a police officer was later drafted in to act as a personal security adviser.

John Buchan was based in the former First Minister’s private office as a “security liaison officer and was tasked with scoping out potential threats.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: We do not comment on the First Minister s security arrangements.

References

  1. ^ Nicola Sturgeon (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ police (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  3. ^ SNP (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  4. ^ Sturgeon (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  5. ^ Labour (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  6. ^ Ruth Davidson (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  7. ^ Government (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  8. ^ Edinburgh (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  9. ^ Glasgow (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  10. ^ Parliament (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  11. ^ Alex Salmond (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)

Thieves attack Tesco security guard in Loughborough before …

Two thieves involved in attacking a security guard and brandishing a large kitchen knife outside a store, were later caught when staff recognised them on Facebook, a court heard. Ben Rowland punched the victim so hard it knocked him to the ground and caused multiple fractures to his eye socket. Co-accused, Luke Parker, then frightened other members of staff, causing them to flee by waving a large kitchen knife at them, Leicester Crown Court1 was told.

Rowland (27), of Alpine Drive, Thurmaston, Leicester, was jailed for a total of two years.

He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on July 1. Read more: Man found dead in grounds of Leicester Royal Infirmary
2 Parker (25), of Manor Road, East Leake, who admitted possessing an offensive weapon, was given a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work and was told to pay 1,000 court costs.

Both admitted joint theft of a bottle of whisky from a branch of Tesco in Loughborough3, which resulted in the violence.

‘He punched him hard to the face, knocking him over’

Thieves Attack Tesco Security Guard In Loughborough Before ... James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said the defendants were attempting to leave the store, after Parker concealed the whisky down his trousers. Parker became aggressive when security staff attempted to detain him but he ran out of another exit and was seen to put something in the back of a car, which was driven a short distance.

Mr Bide-Thomas said: “Parker and Rowland walked after the car and a security guard took hold of Rowland who punched him hard to the face, knocking him over and causing pain and a nosebleed.” Read more: Police seize cannabis plants from house in West End, Leicester4 The guard suffered multiple fractures to his orbital bone.

He was treated in hospital and had to take time off work.

‘He waved a knife at other members of staff’

Mr Bide-Thomas said: “Parker intervened to assist Rowland and produced a large carving knife, about 12 inches long, and waved it at other members of staff, who were afraid they were about to be hurt and retreated into the store. “Both defendants were later identified by staff using Facebook.” Rowland, who appeared in court via a live video link from HMP Leicester, also admitted common assault upon three women at a house party he was refused entry to, in March last year, and accepted the offending put him in breach of a suspended sentence for an earlier theft.

Read more: ‘Callous’ burglar stole from two elderly women – aged 96 and 87
5

‘You’ve been habitually violent’

Judge Nicholas Dean QC told Rowland: “You assaulted a security guard when he was carrying out public responsibilities, stolen from Tesco with Parker. “You’ve been habitually violent in the past and your record is very poor. “You have difficulty controlling your temper even when provoked in a relatively mild way.

“I’ve read a letter from your partner which shows there’s another side to you. Sentencing Parker, the judge said he recognised that he had moved to a different area to escape negative influences, had put offending behind him and was settled into full-time employment. Read more: Man bludgeoned in hammer attack tells of ‘calculated cruelty’ which nearly killed him6

He said because of Parker’s recent progress he would suspended the sentence in his case.

In mitigation, defence counsel said both men now displayed a greater level of maturity and intended keeping out of future trouble.

References

  1. ^ Leicester Crown Court (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  2. ^ Man found dead in grounds of Leicester Royal Infirmary (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  3. ^ Loughborough (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  4. ^ Police seize cannabis plants from house in West End, Leicester (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  5. ^ ‘Callous’ burglar stole from two elderly women – aged 96 and 87 (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  6. ^ Man bludgeoned in hammer attack tells of ‘calculated cruelty’ which nearly killed him (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)

Rolf Harris protected by masked security guards as he arrives home after he’s sneaked out of prison

Rolf Harris was flanked by three plain-clothed security guards as he returned home after being released from jail in the middle of his latest sex abuse trial. One of the bodyguards who helped Harris get out of a blue Ford car outside his home had his face covered with a mask. The entertainer, 87, avoided reporters as he slipped out of Stafford Prison in the early hours of Friday morning but was photographed as he arrived at his 5m property.

Harris – wearing eyeglasses, a denim jacket and blue jeans – exited the car and slowly walked up a set of stairs towards his home by the river Thames in Berkshire. Clear plastic bags containing personal belongings – including an Australian stamp collection, toothbrush, letters and papers – were carried into the house.

Harris is accused of using his celebrity status to molest three young fans A masked bodyguard helps Harris out of a blue car outside his home Three bodyguards escorted Harris into his 5m property Personal belongings are carried into the entertainer’s home

Harris returned home to be by the side of his sick wife, Alwen, 85, who was said to be in failing health in recent weeks. A source recently said that Harris wanted to be reunited with his wife as soon as possible .

Neither his wife nor their daughter, Bindi, 53, was seen outside the home when he arrived. Harris is on trial accused of using his celebrity status to molest three young fans, aged 13 to 16, between 1971 and 1983.

Harris will appear in person when his indecent assault trial resumes Harris, of Bray, Berkshire, denies four charges of indecent assault Harris was granted bail following his release from prison A clear plastic bag containing letters and papers

On Thursday Judge Deborah Taylor told jurors Harris would be granted bail after his release from Stafford Prison. He had been appearing in court via video-link but will now attend the rest of the trial in person.

Harris s trial was not sitting on Friday so he will attend Southwark Crown Court, South London, when it resumes on Monday morning.

A box is carried into Harris’ home after he was released from prison Two of the bodyguards who helped Harris as he returned home Harris’ bodyguards carried his belongings into his home

Meanwhile, one of his accusers insisted she was not driven by money as she gave evidence yesterday. The woman claimed Australia-born Harris twice sexually assaulted her when she was 16. She alleged Harris squeezed her breast after he appeared on ITV show Star Games in Cambridge in 1978, telling her: You re a little bit irresistible.

Harris and his bodyguards were not accompanied by the entertainer’s family Journalists gathered outside Stafford Prison as they waited for Harris to be released Harris slipped past journalists after being released in the early hours

The artist also groped her in the back seat of a car, she claims. Jurors have heard she later described him as groper Rolf and a dirty old man . Asked if she had lied, she said: I absolutely have not .

One of the reasons perhaps it was easier for me to tell police is because I have told people over the years.

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She added: I cannot imagine how anyone would conceive of doing this for any sort of kick. Harris, of Bray, Berkshire, denies four charges of indecent assault. The trial continues.