• Mentorn Media's programme Witness: The Schoolboy Assassin, due to transmit on the Crime & Investigation Network at 10pm on Monday, 23rd July, will feature an exclusive interview with Eddie Ross, father of convicted murderer Michael Ross.

    For the first time Eddie Ross speaks in depth on camera, standing by his original story and by his son, who was just 15 when he shot dead an Indian waiter in the main Orkney town of Kirkwall.

    Eddie Ross also reveals a conversation he had with his son after he failed in his dramatic escape bid from a Glasgow court after being convicted of murder. "He said to me he was just going to head for the hills," says the father. "As a serviceman, if you are in a sticky situation, you use escape and evasion tactics."

    The documentary, part of Mentorn's four-part Witness series, looks into the case of the murder of Bangladeshi waiter, Shamsuddin Mahmood, 27, in June 1994..

    Mahmood was a waiter at Orkney's only Indian restaurant and was shot dead while serving customers.  It was the first murder in Orkney in more than 25 years.

    Fourteen years later in 2008, Michael Ross, by then a serving soldier with the Black Watch who had performed a heroic rescue in Iraq, was convicted of the murder. But after hearing the verdict, Ross leapt over the dock and raced down a corridor towards a fire exit before being stopped by court officials.

    Police found his car, parked in a Glasgow superstore car park, contained three hand grenades and a Czech-made Scorpion machine pistol, fully loaded and capable of firing at a rate of 840 rounds per minute. There was also a rucksack filled with Army survival equipment.

    Eddie Ross tells the documentary makers: "I knew nothing about that until sometime later when it became apparent that he had this stuff in the car. He had never mentioned anything to me in relation to that. I do not believe - regardless of what he had in his car - that he was intending to do anything other than look after himself.

    "As far as I see, it's got nothing to do with that case against him. He certainly knows that he made a mistake - and had I known that such a thing was occurring I would certainly have turned him the other way as it were."

    Eddie Ross was deeply involved in the case from the start. An ex-Army sniper, an expert on guns and ammunition, in his 20 year police career he served in the Special Branch, carrying weapons on Royal protection duty. He owned 11 guns, including four 9mm pistols, similar to the one used to kill the waiter in the Indian restaurant.

    Eddie Ross was tasked with checking all the guns in Orkney, to see if any could have fired the fatal shot.

    In 1997 he was charged with hindering the murder investigation after failing to disclose important information to police investigators. At his trial, his son, Michael, was named the prime suspect. Ross Sr served two years of a four year sentence.

    When asked about his thoughts when his son was originally considered a suspect in 1994, Eddie Ross said: "I was watching, shall we say, because of what was being suggested and alleged for anything that I saw that was out of the norm for him. And he was just his normal self - a 15 year old boy - plain and simple, certainly not someone who could walk into a packed restaurant and gun down a young man."

    Eddie Ross admits that when police initially searched his house in December 1994, police found a notebook belonging to Michael Ross which contained Nazi insignia.

    "There were swastikas in some of his note pads and such like, yeah. I don't think it indicates that they are racist.

    "I think also he had music posters on his wall for Megadeath and Iron Maiden, and this was made quite a bit of by the police.

    "I didn't think anything about a swastika being here or there. We didn't sit down at the dinner table and talk about stuff like that."

    Michael Ross received a minimum 25 year sentence for the murder and escape plot. In 2012 judges turned down Michael Ross' appeal, saying the conviction was safe.

    Talking of his son now, Eddie Ross says: "And how is Michael dealing with this? Himself, he's fine, physically and mentally; he's quite a laid back chap. He gets on well with the staff and inmates. He's married... he has two young girls and they're growing up."

    Abdul Shafiudin, a lawyer who is the brother of the murdered waiter, tells the programme: "It was a purely racist attack. We lost our brother, whatever happens, we won't get him back."

    Witness: The Schoolboy Assassin, is on Crime & Investigations Network at 10pm on Monday, 23rd July.

    For further information please contact Sally Kent at Plank PR on 0202 8995 3936 or sally@plankpr.com

  • The organisers of the London 2012 Olympic Games have signaled a retreat to the BBC's Free Speech programme, over Adidas-only trainers at an event involving 2,000 schoolchildren.

    A spokesman for LOCOG has confirmed to Free Speech, to be transmitted on BBC Three at 8pm tonight, that new guidance is being issued to children so that they will not be turned away if they turn up wearing rival brand trainers such as Nike or Reebok.

    Responding to a question from FREE SPEECH asking if children will be barred if they wear rival brand trainers, Claire Bishop, of LOCOG, told the programme: " Children will not be stopped from taking part. We have just issued them with guidance."

    The new guidance followed an online outcry after it was confirmed by LOCOG that it's guidance was that Adidas trainers or non-branded trainers only should be worn by 2,000 children from 250 UK schools chosen to form a guard of honour for Olympic athletes as they approach the stadium for the official opening of the Games.

    Adidas is one of the Tier One sponsors of London 2012 Olympics, with an investment estimated at around £100million.

    FREE SPEECH is presented by Jake Humphrey from the Troxy Theatre in London's East End. A studio audience of 120 local young people will question a panel that includes Education Minister John Hayes MP, Labour MP Rushanara Ali, Olympic bronze medal hurdler Tasha Danvers and Haringey youth worker Symeon Brown.

    FREE SPEECH is a Mentorn Media production for the BBC.

    BBC Three's fully interactive, live debate show, Free Speech, is serving up an Olympic Special from the host city of London on Wednesday, 18th July at 8pm. Follow the debate on @BBCFreeSpeech #FreeSpeech

    BBC Three's Free Speech is a co-commission from BBC Three, BBC Learning and BBC News and Current Affairs.

    For further information please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • Despite London being the 2012 Olympic city, the majority of British 16-25-year-olds say it has not inspired them to take part in more sport according to a poll conducted for FREE SPEECH on BBC Three tonight, Wednesday, July 18, at 8pm.

    Most (61%) agree that they are excited about the Olympics, but almost three-quarters (74%) say the Olympics has not inspired them to take part in more sport.

    ComRes surveyed 500 16-25-year-olds in Great Britain by telephone between 2nd and 12th July 2012. Respondents were sampled and weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults aged 16-25.

    The vast majority of British 16-25-year-olds also say that they do not believe that the London 2012 Olympics will make them better off financially. Eighty-six per cent of 500 16-25-year-olds disagree with the statement: "Overall, I think that the London 2012 Olympics will make me better off financially"; 10% agree and 4% don't know.

    Sixty-two per cent agree that money spent on the London 2012 Olympics would have been better spent elsewhere and 57% believe the Olympics will mainly benefit London and not the rest of the country; 41% disagreed with that view while 2% didn't know.

    Two thirds of young people from Scotland and the North (65%) say that the Olympics will mainly benefit London and not the rest of the country - a view shared by more than half (51%) of young people in the Midlands, East & Wales, and by 54% of young people from the South.

    However, 73% agree that the Olympics will benefit the British economy and 71% agree that the Olympics make them feel proud to be British. Most 16-25-year-olds - 61% - agree they are excited about the Olympics.

    ComRes comments: "Generally young people are positive towards the Olympics - they are excited about it, it makes them proud to be British, and they agree that there will be financial benefits to the country as a whole. However, young people do not think that it will benefit them personally in a financial sense, nor do they particularly think that it has encouraged them to take up more sport."

    FREE SPEECH is presented by Jake Humphrey from the Troxy Theatre in London's East End. A studio audience of 120 local young people will question a panel that includes Education Minister John Hayes MP, Labour MP Rushanara Ali, Olympic bronze medal hurdler Tasha Danvers and Haringey youth worker Symeon Brown.

    FREE SPEECH is a Mentorn Media production for the BBC.

    Follow the debate on @BBCFreeSpeech #FreeSpeech

    Notes to Editors

    ComRes surveyed 500 16-25-year-olds in Great Britain by telephone between 2nd and 12th July 2012. Data were sampled and weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults aged 16 to 25. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at comres.co.uk

    BBC Three's Free Speech is a co-commission from BBC Three, BBC Learning and BBC News and Current Affairs.

    BBC Three's fully interactive, live debate show, Free Speech, is serving up an Olympic Special from the host city of London on Wednesday, 18th July at 8pm.

    For further information please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's Traffic Cops tonight looks into the increasing trend of 'crash for cash' incidents involving charlatans, who feign whiplash in order to cheat the insurance companies.

    The growth in this type of fake injury is costing not only money in false insurance claims but also hours of wasted police, fire and ambulance time. When a neck injury is reported at the scene of an accident the emergency services must treat any suspected spinal injury as if it could be life threatening - nothing can be ruled out until X-rayed. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible, even for a doctor, to diagnose or disprove whiplash.

    In Thursday's episode the traffic cops come across a suspicious accident on an empty motorway slip road that bears all the hallmarks of a 'crash for cash', while on the busy M1 more suspected 'have-a-go' claimants have to be cut out of their accident damaged vehicles by the fire brigade. The fire services, when attending a crash where a driver or passenger is complaining of neck problems, prefer to extract them from their vehicle by taking the roof off as it is the safest way to move them without risking further possible injury.

    Traffic Cops call this type of call out 'Bash Cash' and one of them, at the scene of a suspicious accident, states: "What annoys us and gets on our nerves more than anything is the inconvenience [caused] to every innocent person passing and also the cost of three emergency services plus a helicopter plus the highways agency plus everything else...just for a bit of compo"

    "It's a waste of time and society needs to change. It needs to change this injury claim [culture], 'I'm going to get one up on you, everything I'm doing is going to pay out'. Because you don't pay out, you end up paying more for your insurance."

    Traffic Cops airs on tonight, Thursday 12th July at 20.00

    For further information please contact Sally Kent at Plank PR on 020 8995 3936 or sally@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Derby on Thursday, July 5th.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the East Midlands City which sees Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP; former Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP; Conservative MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire Louise Mensch; Sunday Times and Independent columnist Dominic Lawson, and John Lydon, former lead singer of the Sex Pistols and founder of the band Public Image Ltd., face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in the audience you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com