Detectives swoop on Camelon streets

A 40-YEAR-OLD man appeared in private at Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (Wednesday) charged with the alleged murder of a Camelon taxi driver.

Edward Berry, Hamilton Street, Camelon, was accused of allegedly murdering Lindsay McNie on Tuesday, September 19.

He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody for further examination.

He is expected to make his second appearance next week.

Berry s court appearance followed the discovery of Mr McNie s body shortly before 1 a.m. on Tuesday in Hamilton Street.

The father-of-two lived with his wife Elizabeth at 50 Carmuirs Drive.

A taxi driver for a number of years, Mr McNie (36) was known to family and friends as ''Sammy .

He had worked for several taxi firms and latterly was with Five Star Taxis, which he is believed to have helped set up.

Boss Brian Arthur, who also owns B.A. Taxis, said he was stunned when he learned of the death of the popular driver.

''I knew Sammy for almost 15 years and, when I heard what had happened, I was walking about in a daze, Mr Arthur told The Falkirk Herald this week.

''One of our customers from the Camelon area said a taxi driver had been murdered and I couldn t believe it when it was confirmed who it was.

''There are a lot of shocked drivers and controllers who knew him.

Another former colleague, taxi driver John MacKintosh, said: ''It was always a pleasure to see him.

''He was a happy guy who always had a smile and a joke for everybody.

''All the drivers are devastated at the news of his death.

Yesterday, the blinds were closed at the family home and a man who answered the door would only say relatives were too upset to talk.

Residents in Hamilton Street and neighbouring Brown Street were stunned to wake up on Tuesday morning and discover police officers combing the neighbourhood.

Both streets, which are close to the Mariner Sports Centre, were cordoned off to traffic, causing an early morning headache for drivers.

Several neighbours reported hearing a disturbance in the early hours of the morning, but most knew nothing of the tragedy on their doorstep until breakfast time.

Police had worked under lights through the night to sift for evidence and as daylight broke their investigations continued with door-to-door inquiries.

Forensic staff were joined by members of the police search team who by late morning were carrying out a fingertip search of the area.

The investigation is being led by Acting Detective Inspector Ian Scott, who is heading up a full-time team of 12 officers in CID. They have been backed up by uniformed officers and the forensic squad.

Mr Scott has issued an appeal for witnesses to come forward to help the police in their inquiries.

"We d like to hear from anyone who was passing the Glasgow Road/Brown Street area of Camelon between 11.30 p.m. on Monday and 1 a.m. on Tuesday,." he told the Herald yesterday.

One resident, who watched the drama unfold, said: ''The police were searching everywhere.

''They looked through gardens, in buckets and even down drains.

Brown Street was eventually opened to traffic by lunchtime, but it was not until late afternoon that the barriers to Hamilton Street were brought down. The police incident caravan was finally removed almost 24 hours after Mr McNie s body was discovered.

Last night a solitary bunch of white carnations had been placed by the Hamilton Street kerb.

No funeral arrangements have yet been announced.