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Drug addict Ian Connell found guilty of strangling father-of-three to death in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester | UK News

A drug addict is facing life in prison after being found guilty of murdering a father-of-three.

The decomposing body of Donald Prentice Patience, 45, was discovered inside a duvet cover at the bottom of his stairs after officers were called to a suspected burglary at his home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.

A postman had called police on the morning of 22 August last year after he saw Ian Connell, 39, climb through the rear kitchen window of the end-of-terrace property.

When police arrived Connell was found nearby with Mr Patience’s white labradoodle, Layla, on a lead.

Homeless Connell lied to officers that his “dear friend” was in Scotland and had given him permission to break into his property so he could walk the dog, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mr Patience, who was known to family and friends by his middle name Prentice, had been strangled at least a day before.

Donald 'Prentice' Patience.
Donald Prentice Patience was murdered in August last year. Pic: Greater Manchester Police

The prosecution said Connell attacked his victim after probably rowing over money.

Michael Hayton KC told jurors the killer had preyed upon the good nature of Mr Patience, who had access to cash from a family property.

He said the defendant used Mr Patience as an “open wallet” to obtain thousands of pounds since they met in 2020, and accused Connell of losing his temper when he was refused cash for the first time to buy more drugs.

Police officers outside a property on Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, Bury, where Greater Manchester Police said officers were called to at around 10.30am on Tuesday to reports of a burglary, with a white labradoodle dog being taken. The officers found Donald "Prentice" Patience, 45, dead at the property. Three men were arrested on suspicion of murder, and two, aged 27 and 41, have since been released on bail. Police said a 39-year-old man remains in police custody. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday August 25, 2023. See PA story POLICE Labradoodle. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police officers outside Mr Patience’s home. Pic: PA

Killer ‘panicked’

Giving evidence, Connell said he had “never raised my hand to that man” and claimed he was asleep upstairs in a spare room, and under the influence of heroin and crack cocaine, when someone else strangled Mr Patience.

He said he “panicked” after he said he eventually discovered the body and went on to tell lies to police at the scene and in his initial interview with detectives.

He said he had used heroin and crack cocaine from about the age of 19, and claimed Mr Patience allowed him and others to use drugs in the house.

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The jury heard Connell visited Mr Patience’s home on the evening of 19 August and stayed in and around the address until police discovered the body.

Following the unanimous verdict, Connell told trial judge Mrs Justice Ellenbogen: “I know I’m not supposed to speak out of turn but I’m not guilty of this offence.”

Connell, from Bolton, will be sentenced on 6 March.

Sainsbury’s to cut 1,500 jobs in cost-cutting plan | Business News

Sainsbury’s have made plans to cut around 1,500 roles as it attempts to save £1bn, the company has announced.

The supermarket said it plans to make the savings over the next three years.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

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Leeds fan taken to hospital after falling from top tier of stand at Chelsea while celebrating goal | UK News

A Leeds United fan was taken to hospital after falling from the top tier at Stamford Bridge while celebrating a goal against Chelsea.

The two sides met in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night, with Chelsea coming out on top in the final minute of the game to win 3-2.

But it was the Yorkshire club that opened the scoring through Mateo Joseph in the eighth minute in west London.

Amid the celebrations in the away end – where visiting teams are given a bigger-than-usual allocation in the FA Cup – Leeds United confirmed an “incident” took place.

Stamford Bridge. Pic: PA
Stamford Bridge. Pic: PA

“Leeds United can confirm an incident involving a Leeds United supporter occurred in the Shed End of Stamford Bridge during the first half of tonight’s FA Cup game,” it said in a statement.

“The incident is being investigated and is in the hands of the emergency services.”

Chelsea issued an identical statement.

Footage shared on social media appears to show a Leeds fan fall from the top tier of the corner of the Shed End.

The person seen in the footage falls onto empty seats, with no other Leeds fans near enough to be in danger.

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A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Sky News the supporter’s family has been informed.

“Officers, alongside paramedics and staff from Chelsea FC, responded to an injured man in the away end during the match with Leeds United on Wednesday, 28 February,” the force said.

“The man was taken to hospital for treatment. We await an update on his condition. His family has been informed.”

Leeds United and Chelsea have a historical rivalry, which is seen by some as an embodiment of the north-south divide.

Vape ads on social media ‘need to stop’ as regulator announces crackdown | UK News

Vape ads across social media platforms “need to stop” and advertisers pleading ignorance is not an excuse, the advertising regulator has warned.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) – which regulates non-broadcast adverts – launched a crackdown on e-cigarette advertisers, warning the law prohibits them from marketing vapes containing nicotine that are not licensed as medicines on most social media.

It is currently illegal for retailers to sell disposable vapes to under-18s and the devices can not be displayed across almost all media or targeted at children.

Therefore, brands or retailers cannot promote them in paid-for posts or in non-paid-for posts on non-private accounts, such as on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.

Vape ads will be permitted online in limited spaces like company websites, provided they do not target or appeal to children. They can only contain factual claims about the products.

CAP said it had sent enforcement notices to vape manufacturers and retailers with clear rules and underlining that ignorance was not an excuse, adding it would not hesitate “to apply sanctions” against those “unwilling or unable to comply”.

Advertisers have until 28 March to fall in line with the rules.

After this, CAP said it would carry out enhanced monitoring and would take action if it found ads that were breaking the rules.

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Pupils ‘can’t last a lesson’ without a vape

Last year, the regulator issued an enforcement notice to e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers requiring them to stop paid promotions on TikTok.

Using AI-assisted monitoring, CAP found that the companies promoting vapes or incentivising others to do so through social media were “typically small traders” who were “most likely in ignorance” of the rules and the law.

CAP secretary Shahriar Coupal said: “Our enforcement notice leaves traders in no doubt about their obligations under both and makes clear that e-cigarette promotions through social media channels need to stop.

“For those that fail to do so, we and our enforcement partners won’t hesitate to sanction them.”

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The crackdown comes ahead of a spring budget in which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is considering a “vaping products levy” which would be paid on imports and by manufacturers of vapes to make the habit unaffordable for children.

Rishi Sunak announced plans to ban disposable vapes amid concerns about their growing use among children, especially following reports of nicotine dependency in school.

The Scottish and Welsh governments will also ban single-use vapes, which is set to be introduced by the end of 2025.

‘British Airways killer’: Man who killed wife Joanna Simpson with claw hammer loses bid for freedom | UK News

A man who killed his wife with a hammer more than 13 years ago has lost his bid for freedom.

British Airways captain Robert Brown bludgeoned 46-year-old Joanna Simpson to death in their family home in October 2010 as their two young children cowered in a playroom.

Brown then dumped the 46-year-old’s body in a makeshift coffin in Windsor Great Park.

The killing was the subject of a new ITV documentary The British Airways Killer.

Who is the ‘British Airways killer’, Robert Brown, who killed Joanna Simpson?

Robert Brown. Pic: PA
Robert Brown. Pic: PA

Brown’s High Court challenge against a government move to block his automatic release from prison was dismissed by Mr Justice Ritchie today.

He had claimed “political motivation” amid a media campaign against his release improperly contributed to a decision to refer his case to the Parole Board.

His lawyers argued at a hearing in London earlier this month that Justice Secretary Alex Chalk’s referral was unlawful.

Brown was cleared of murder after a trial, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, with a psychiatric report saying he suffered from an “adjustment disorder”.

Brown was sentenced to 24 years for manslaughter and a further two years for an offence of obstructing a coroner in the execution of his duty.

Aged 47 at sentencing in 2011, Brown believed he was “stitched up” by a prenuptial agreement and was affected by stress linked to his divorce, a judge was told.

He was due to be automatically freed on licence halfway through his sentence in November last year, but Ms Simpson’s friends and family urged Mr Chalk to intervene.

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Brown ‘a danger to anybody he came in contact with’

Referral overrides automatic release

In October last year, Mr Chalk used new powers to have Brown’s case reviewed by the Parole Board.

Brown’s lawyers argued the referral was “an obvious attempt to seek to reverse engineer justification for a decision that was in reality prompted and obtained through conscious or unconscious political bias”.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) rejected his allegations, arguing the minister “in no way seeks to ‘go behind’ or ‘disapply’ or ‘fail to respect’ the sentencing court’s decision”.

Lawyers for the department said Mr Chalk believed Brown “would pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public if released on licence”, adding the offender had “persistently refused to engage in the rehabilitative elements of his sentence”.

Mr Chalk’s referral overrode Brown’s automatic release.

‘He must be kept in prison’

Ms Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes, who was made a CBE in December for services to vulnerable children suffering from domestic abuse and domestic homicide, said the decision was the “right one”.

She added: “Brown committed the most horrific crime against my loving and caring daughter, Jo. He must be kept in prison.”

Iain Packer found guilty of strangling sex worker Emma Caldwell before dumping her naked body in a ditch | UK News

A man has been convicted of murdering sex worker Emma Caldwell in 2005 after he was finally brought to justice despite major police failings.

Former sign fitter Iain Packer, 51, was found guilty of what the jury heard was the “execution” of the 27-year-old.

Emma, who spiralled into a life of heroin addiction after the sudden death of her sister, was lured from Glasgow’s red-light district, driven to remote woods 40 miles away, strangled and dumped naked in a ditch.

Iain Packer. Pic: BBC
Iain Packer. Pic: BBC

Packer was a habitual user of sex workers in Glasgow in the 1990s – and admitted to police in the initial 2005 investigation that he had previously paid to take Emma to the forest for sex.

He was not arrested or charged for 17 years as officers wrongly focused on a group of Turkish men.

Packer faced 36 charges involving offences against 25 women and denied all the allegations against him at trial.

Emma’s mother, Margaret, told Sky News: “I feel as if I can breathe again that this man is gone.

“I hope he gets long enough [in jail] that he cannot harm anyone else.

“I did once ask them [the police] if they were biased because of what Emma did and they said it was like any other case. But they just wanted to get it over, put it in a drawer and forget about it.”

Limefield Woods, where Emma Caldwell was murdered in 2005. Pic: PA
Limefield Woods, where Emma Caldwell was murdered. Pic: PA

The 76-year-old is still haunted by the moment she learned her daughter had been killed after desperately trying to get her clean from drugs in the weeks before her death.

She said: “It is absolutely devastating. The pain… you felt like someone was punching you in the chest. Someone had actually taken your child’s life. It was awful.

“It is my daughter, and I am going to stand up for her. It didn’t make any difference to me what she did.”

Margaret Cardwell
Margaret Caldwell said she was determined to stand up for her daughter

A fresh set of cold case detectives re-examined the case in 2015 and they finally began to close in on Packer.

Sky News has learned other sex workers at the time raised concerns that Packer was sexually violent years before Ms Caldwell was killed.

The women, who have now rebuilt their lives, say they were ignored. One survivor was even arrested for prostitution after reporting Packer had attacked her.

They say police have “blood on their hands” and could have halted Packer in his tracks to block him from killing Ms Caldwell.

Emma Caldwell. Pic: Family handout
Pic: Family photo

Asked if she agreed that the former sex workers had come to the right conclusion about the police’s handling of the case, Margaret said: “If it’s true that they know about Iain Packer and didn’t arrest him and didn’t deal with him, then yes.

“The first police investigation had gone wrong. I think they knew who it was quite early on in the investigation. And then it was shelved and nothing else was done about it.”

Margaret’s husband died from cancer before seeing justice for his daughter. He urged his loved ones to get to the truth in the moments before he passed away.

“I go on for Emma and my husband because he asked me to. They would both be urging me on and saying: ‘Well done mum,'” Margaret said.

Emma Caldwell. Pic: Family handout
Emma was savagely killed. Pic: Family photo

The family and their legal team are now pushing for the police officers involved in their original botched investigation to be brought back and questioned as part of an inquiry.

Following Packer’s conviction, Police Scotland issued an apology.

Assistant chief constable for major crime and public protection Bex Smith said: “Emma Caldwell, her family and many other victims, were let down by policing in 2005. For that we are sorry.

“A significant number of women and girls who showed remarkable courage to speak up at that time also did not get the justice and support they needed and deserved from Strathclyde Police.

“Police Scotland launched a reinvestigation of the case in 2015 after instruction from the Lord Advocate.

“It is clear that further investigations should have been carried out into Emma’s murder following the initial enquiry in 2005.

“The lack of investigation until 2015 caused unnecessary distress to her family and all those women who had come forward to report sexual violence.

“It is the courage, resilience and determination shown by Emma’s family, in particular her parents William and Margaret, and all those who survived Iain Packer’s horrific catalogue of offending that got us to where we are today.

“William is, sadly, no longer here to see this day, but I hope this verdict gives Margaret and all those affected by this case, the justice they deserve.”

Mobile phone customers face ‘lose-lose’ situation as bills go up | Business News

Mobile phone customers face either a “huge” mid-contract price rise or a “crippling” exit fee from April, according to a watchdog.

Which? says Virgin Media and O2 are expected to hike prices by up to 8.8% in April – the highest increase in percentage terms among major providers.

The alternative is a potentially “exorbitant” exit fee, with its analysis suggesting their customers could face a combined cost of up to £692.37 if 12 months were remaining on their contracts.

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Pic: iStock
Pic: iStock

Which? calculations suggest an in-contract Virgin Media customer could see their annual broadband bill increase by £39.14 – or be charged an exit fee of £403.91 if they were to leave their contract a year early.

Since the companies merged, Virgin Mobile customers have been migrated to O2 and the providers have begun offering bundled deals.

Media regulator Ofcom is currently reviewing inflation-linked, mid-contract price rises but is yet to publish its final decision on its proposals to ban the practice.

Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha described a “lose-lose” choice for Virgin Media and O2 customers as “few would have anticipated such steep price rises when they signed up”.

She added: “Ofcom has clearly stated that the practice of inflation-linked mid contract price rise terms can cause substantial consumer harm.

“Telecoms firms must do the right thing and immediately scrap these rises, rather than cynically taking the opportunity to cash in one last time at the expense of their customers before new rules take effect.”

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Ofcom’s latest figures show Virgin Media is the most complained-about broadband, landline and pay TV provider and received just one star for customer service in Which?’s annual broadband provider rankings.

Meanwhile, the average O2 SIM-only mobile customer faces a £26.44 annual price hike, the highest increase of any network by percentage but slightly less than Vodafone, which has higher prices overall on average.

Virgin Media O2 said customers faced increases of “up to” 8.8%, because the additional 3.9% increase on top of RPI (Retail Price Index) would not be added to the bills of “millions” of customers, and it only applied price increases to customers’ airtime plans, not their device plans.

The average effective mobile price increase would be 5%, not 8.8%, it said.

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Inflation holds steady

A Virgin Media O2 spokesman said 2023 was a “record year for traffic” on their networks and that the firms are “investing heavily” to ensure they continue to “provide fast and reliable connectivity”.

The amount received from price increases is “greatly outweighed” by the £5m they invest “every single day” to upgrade networks and services, he added.

The spokesman added: “Which?’s own analysis shows that we continue to offer excellent value, with cable customers paying an average of just 10p more per day, and mobile customers facing an effective average increase of just 5p a day, for services they’re using almost constantly.

“This is further backed up by recent independent analysis which found that the cost of telecoms services has fallen by a fifth since 2017, while at the same time speeds and usage have increased significantly.”

Mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son says she caned him because Bible allows it, court hears | UK News

A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son has claimed she used a bamboo cane to beat him because the Bible told her she could “chastise her child”, a court has heard.

Christina Robinson, 30, called the emergency services to her home in Bracken Court, Durham, in November 2022 and claimed Dwelaniyah had gone limp while eating a cheese bun.

But Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court the boy had suffered a serious, fatal head injury after being shaken violently by his mother.

The prosecution said the child’s legs were heavily bandaged, hiding burns which covered up to 20% of his body and would have caused excruciating pain for several weeks prior to his death, having been forcibly and deliberately scalded in the bath.

Jurors were shown paramedics’ body-worn footage as they tried to save the boy at the house, where Robinson said the youngster had hurt himself in the shower but she had not thought he needed hospital treatment.

Neighbours heard whimpering at night but did not know the source of the sound, the prosecution said.

Dwelaniyah, whose heart had stopped beating, was taken to hospital but could not be saved.

Bruises on his body showed he had been hit by a cylindrical object and tests on a bamboo cane found in the house showed traces of his blood and skin, the court heard.

Mr Wright told jurors: “The defendant admits that she hit him with a weapon but says that she was allowed to do so because the Bible tells her that she should chastise her child.”

A post-mortem revealed he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained several non-accidental injuries, the jury was told.

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The prosecutor said: “The defendant now asserts that beating a child with a cane so that she drew blood was consistent with her being an adherent of the teachings of the Bible.”

Robinson denies murdering Dwelaniyah and child cruelty.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday.

Rishi Sunak struggling to maintain voter coalition that delivered 2019 victory, according to Sky News voter panel | Politics News

Rishi Sunak is failing to hold together the voting coalition that delivered Boris Johnson a decisive victory in the 2019 general election, according to The Voters Panel on Sky News – launched today. 

A profound unhappiness with the state of the country and exhaustion at years of Tory chaos means 2019 Tory voters will flock to at least four rival parties or stay at home at the next election.

Some describe themselves as swing voters, while others say they have backed the Tories all their lives, and this is the group Conservative headquarters and campaign chief Isaac Levido believes is key to the next election.

We found just over a fifth of Tory voters will switch directly to Labour and there is a grasp of what Labour stands for among participants in The Voters Panel, the Sky News-YouGov digital community group launched today reveals.

Rishi Sunak. Pic: PA
Pic: PA

However, the depth of despair in the governing party means the relationship between the party and many voters has shattered and they are looking for a new home.

For the next two weeks, including through the budget next Wednesday, Sky News will be regularly interrogating The Voters Panel – an online group of at least 33 people from all corners of Great Britain.

Of the 33 submitting answers so far, nine say they will likely stick with the Conservatives, seven will go to Labour, five to Reform, two to the Lib Dems and one to Green.

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Eight say they aren’t sure, although three of these rule out voting Conservative. This echoes the latest polls.

The last YouGov voting poll suggested of those who voted Tory in 2019, 33% would stick with the party, 20% would switch to Reform, 13% to Labour, 3% to Lib Dem and 1% would go to the Green Party.

Some 29% say they don’t know or would not vote. This suggests that The Voters Panel looks very reflective of the national picture and will be used in the coming days to dig much deeper into voters’ views.

Here are the words people used to described Rishi Sunak – the bigger they are, the more commonly used they were

The headlines, drawn from dozens of videos and written exercises by the panel of 2019 Tory voters since Friday, include:

A despair at the state of public services. Katrin, who will vote anyone but Tory next time, says schools are “struggling”, the NHS is “underfunded” and needs a cash injection and the economy is “failing”.

Helen, who is unsure where to take her vote now, says: “I am quite worried about the state of the country at the moment. It’s not just me that I need to think about, I’ve also got two young children.”

Michael, who will stick with the Tories, says: “The government doesn’t seem willing to back down to the doctors to give them a decent pay rise.”

Michael says the government seems to be unwilling to give doctors a 'decent pay rise'
Michael says the government seems to be unwilling to give doctors a ‘decent pay rise’

Concern about the cost of living isn’t matched by demands for tax cuts. Several of The Voters Panel have brought up the cost of living, and the pressures this brings, although there is an appreciation this is in part the consequence of COVID and the war in Ukraine – both out of the government’s control. However, this does not translate into spontaneous demands for tax cuts, beyond a tiny number of people already sticking with the Tories.

There is a desire to punish the Tories. The anger felt towards the political chaos of recent years does not appear to have softened and was brought up spontaneously by a majority of panellists. Snezzana says the party she voted for in the last election is “destroying the country and the economy” and she will switch to Labour.

Snezzana says the Tories are "destroying the country and the economy" and she will switch to Labour.
Snezzana says the Tories are “destroying the country and the economy” and she will switch to Labour.

Paul, who will switch to the Greens, won’t back the Tories again after the “chaos since Boris was in charge”. Jyoti will not vote Tory again “because Brexit and COVID were all disasters” and while more recently unlikely to back Labour, could go to either end of the political spectrum and back Reform or Lib Dem.

• There is uncertainty about Sir Keir Starmer and Labour. Emma, who doesn’t know how to vote next time, says: “Starmer is someone that sits on the fence quite a lot.” Tom – who says he will vote Labour – says Sir Keir has moved Labour to the centre but “is not a 100% sure on what their manifesto will contain”, adding: “Is he a capable leader? I don’t know, we’ll find out.”

• Sir Keir is “indecisive” and “unbelievable”. Mr Sunak “rich” “unelected and “untrustworthy”. The words used to describe the leaders of the two main parties are largely unforgiving by our participants. Mr Sunak is also weak, disconnected; though seen as competent and intelligent. Sir Keir is known to be a lawyer but “hypocrite” looms large.

• Some, but not many, key messages from the parties, are getting through. David, who is switching to Labour, is one of the few to acknowledge Sir Keir “from a not-as-well-off background. He’s had family problems”.

Paul, who is sticking with the Tories, mimicked Mr Sunak’s slogan by saying “My worry is now…. the Labour Party will get in and we’ll be back to square one” and says “we need to stick with them, see this plan through”.

 David will switch to Labour
David will switch to Labour

• Not everybody thinks it’s ‘time for a change’. After 14 years, a minority think that it is not time for a change. All three who suggest this are sticking with the Tories.

• Cut-through moments matter. Widely shared moments on social media are shaping perceptions. Paul, who will vote for the Greens, referenced the bet between Mr Sunak and Piers Morgan as evidence of Mr Sunak’s wealth, suggesting it means he is “obviously rich and I think that puts him a bit out of touch with people. The recent interview where he bet the interviewer a thousand pounds, was a bit not nice to see. Makes him out of touch, especially when people are going paycheck to paycheck”.

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The results of this community group – with so few directly switching Tory to Labour – may lead some Tory supporters to conclude that the next election is not lost, arguing Labour has not sealed the deal with the electorate. There are some glimmers of hope for the Tories. However, direct Tory-to-Labour switching may not be the decisive factor in the result.

The 1997 Labour landslide was driven, in part, by Tories staying at home rather than a surge of enthusiasm for Tony Blair.

Here is a similar so-called ‘word cloud’ for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

In 1992, John Major got more votes than any leader at any election ever and a big drop in turnout – from 77.7% to 71.3% in 1997 – was a big part of Blair’s 179 majority. Jeremy Corbyn lost almost 3 million votes between 2017 and 2019, and that was instrumental in the Tory majority of 80.

This community group still suggests less than a third of Conservative voters would stick with the Tories in an upcoming election. This remains an existential challenge for the prime minister.

Murder investigation under way after man shot dead while walking dog in Aberfeldy | UK News

A murder investigation is under way after a man was shot dead while walking his dog.

Brian Low, 65, was gunned down in the Pitilie area on the outskirts of Aberfeldy at around 8.30am on Saturday 17 February, Police Scotland said.

Emergency services attended, but Mr Low, of Aberfeldy, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are treating the death as murder following a post-mortem examination.

The force said Mr Low’s family are being supported by specialist officers and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Macdougall, of the major investigation team, said: “Our thoughts are with Brian’s family at this very difficult time and we are doing all we can to get them answers.

“We have been carrying out extensive enquiries since Brian’s death and detectives are working alongside uniformed officers to establish the full circumstances.”

Mr Low was walking his black Labrador along a remote track when he was shot.

DCI Macdougall is urging anyone with information about the incident, including photographs, CCTV or dashcam footage, to come forward.

He added: “Please do not assume that the police already know the information you have.”

An online portal has been set up for members of the public to submit information in regards to the case.

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Local Area Commander Greg Burns added: “I understand this is an extremely concerning incident for this small, rural community.

“I want to take this opportunity to reassure people that we are working round the clock to find out what happened to Brian.

“We will have additional high-visibility patrols in the area and you will see significant police activity over the coming days.

“Anyone with any concerns can approach these officers at any time.”