There were no shortage of shock tales for the Tele to repot in 2019.
As previously mentioned, our courts were full to the brim in Tayside and Fife, with some bizarre tales including a couple given a dressing down for kissing in the dock, while another man tried to escape justice by running from Dundee Sheriff Court while in handcuffs.
We also reviewed some of the quirkier stories from last year, including a man who stockpiled enough pasta to fill a room in his Dundee home – then began leaving packets on people’s doorsteps
Some City of Discovery residents were shocked to find there was a sex club a stone’s throw from the centre of town – which had some 160 members back in July.
Here, we take a look at some of the bigger or more serious tales which made the pages of the Evening Telegraph in 2019.
Hero taxi driver drags unconscious neighbour from flat blaze, surrounded by five-foot flames – then goes back to work to finish his shift
In January, taxi driver Alan Rafferty nipped home to his flat on Cardross Place after dropping off a fare on nearby Sandeman Street just before 7pm.
When he arrived, he heard an alarm sounding in his neighbour’s flat.
He went into the flat through the front door and was confronted by five-feet-high flames in the living room.
Alan opened the door to find his neighbour unconscious on the settee just a foot away from the flames.
Alan said he dragged the man from immediate danger before trying to find the kitchen, to get some water to fight the blaze.
After calling the emergency services, Alan said he was back on the taxi rank near The McManus on Albert Square by 8pm.
The brains behind the Download, Reading and Leeds music festivals eye up an open-air event in Dundee in 2020
Festival Republic submitted an application to Dundee City Council seeking permission to stage a three-day music festival at Camperdown Park in May 2020.
The firm said it hoped to host the as-yet-unnamed festival all day long on May 22, 23 and 24, packing the park with four stages, bars, food stalls and funfair rides.
The firm was not seeking permission to allow people to camp – suggesting a similar set-up to the Carnival Fifty-Six festival hosted at Camperdown in 2017.
Dundee loses a legend of the local music scene as Groucho’s owner Alistair ‘Breeks’ Brodie passes away
Tributes flooded in for the owner of iconic music store Groucho’s following his death aged 65 in July.
Alastair Brodie’s family said the legendary shop owner, who ran Groucho’s for nearly half a century, would be sorely missed by not only his loved ones but also his loyal customers.
The 65-year-old had run the business from a number of locations including its current site at the foot of the Nethergate.
A number of tributes were paid to the record shop boss, whose shop mainly bought and sold second-hand vinyl and CDs – but also sold musical equipment such as turntables.
Dundee United fan ‘Breeks’ was even honoured with a minute’s standing ovation during the Tangerines’ match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Family of Brian Fox speak out about the tragedy of his death following an incident in a Dundee taxi rank
The family of Brian Fox say they knew “something was wrong” from shortly after he died on New Year’s Day – but faced a two-day wait to have their worst fears confirmed.
His sister Isobel described how she had sent him a text message to wish him a Happy New Year – and grew concerned when he didn’t reply.
Brian Fox, 62, died in the early hours of January 1 2019 after hitting his head on the road at the taxi rank in Nethergate.
He was punched by 20-year-old Wes Reid, who was acquitted of culpable homicide on the grounds of self-defence at the High Court in Edinburgh in November.
Statue could ‘kelp’ local tourism – but Dundee City Council says ‘no’
In July, we revealed Dundee turned down the opportunity to commission a statue by the artist behind the world-famous Kelpies.
Scottish steel sculptor Andy Scott has confirmed he made a pitch to Dundee City Council to create a life-sized sculpture of a Bowhead whale and its calf.
Under his proposal, the statue would have taken pride of place at the Waterfront next to V&A Dundee, celebrating the city’s renowned historical links with the whaling trade.
However, Andy’s attempts to speak with council bosses came to naught – he claims his pitch was altogether “ignored”.
A council spokeswoman said at the time: “We appreciate Andy Scott’s interest in the Waterfront and on this occasion consultants working on our behalf responded directly to Mr Scott to say that we will not be taking his proposals forward.”
Administration councillor quits SNP over claims of ‘institutional transphobia’ in party
Dundee councillor Gregor Murray, who was set to appear before a standards commission in May, stepped down from the SNP group on the eve of the hearing.
Councillor Murray, who represents the North East ward, resigned from the SNP.
The councillor claimed to be leaving the party because of “institutional transphobia” following clashes with senior party MPs over trans-rights.
The former children and families service convener is Scotland’s only openly trans elected politician.
Councillor Murray hit the headlines again just last month, when Harry Potter author JK Rowling waded in on a row between Murray and Maya Forstater.
The children’s author lent her support to researcher Forstater on Twitter, after the worker lost a landmark employment tribunal case for making “intimidating, hostile” comments about trans people.
Rowling – who sometimes authors books under the male nom de plume Robert Galbraith – wrote: “Call yourself whatever you like…but force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya.”
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
In response, councillor Murray said: “The intervention of people such as JK Rowling is unhelpful at best. Using her nearly 15 million followers to whip up yet more hysteria against trans people is absolutely unacceptable, and she should be ashamed of herself.
“On a personal note, as someone who grew up with the Harry Potter books, I am absolutely gutted to see her spread such malicious messages.”
Dundee’s substance misuse woes were laid as bare as ever in June, when it was revealed one person a week was dying due to a suspected drug overdose
A staggering 53 people died in Dundee in 2018 as a result of taking drugs – two more than in 2017.
The figures published in the Tayside Drug Death Review Group’s annual report show there were 78 drug deaths across the NHS Tayside region, compared to 73 the previous year.
The board described the increase as “a significant public health concern”, while drugs charities say authorities are not “getting it right” in tackling addiction.
The average age of someone dying from overdose was 40 and three times as many men succumbed to overdose than women.
The front page of the Tele highlighting the issue has even been nominated for regional front page of the year by the journalism website Hold The Front Page. (Click link to vote).
The death of much-loved Arbroath oil worker Steven Donaldson rocked the whole of Tayside and beyond
The murder of popular Angus man Steven Donaldson rocked the communities of both Arbroath, where he lived, and Kirriemuir, where he was lured to his death in June 2018.
The community of Kirriemuir rallied round, with shops and businesses in the Angus town closing their doors as a mark of respect as a motorcycle ride in memory of Steven made its way through the town.
The commemorative event took place on July 20, three days before what would have been the oil worker’s 29th birthday.
Thousands of people gathered to pay an emotional and poignant farewell, with around 1,000 bikers made the journey between Arbroath and Kirriemuir in memory of Steven.
As the bikes roared across the county, thousands of other motorcyclists lined the 20-mile route.
Steven’s sister Lori said her family had been “overwhelmed” by the event and the number of people who wanted to pay their respects to her brother.
She said: “The bike run massively exceeded our expectations.
“As a family we are completely overwhelmed by the turn out.
“This was such a fitting tribute to Steven and he would have been very proud.”
Steven Dickie and Callum Davidson were found guilty of Mr Donaldson’s murder, while Mr Donaldson’s ex-girlfriend Tasmin Glass was convicted of culpable homicide for luring him to Peter Pan playpark where the two men began their attack.
Steven Dickie was found dead in his cell in HMP Perth in November – the day Tasmin Glass and Callum Davidson’s sentence appeals were rejected at the High Court in Edinburgh.