9am Briefing: YouTube Scotrail passenger denies fare dodging

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A TEENAGER at the centre of a YouTube sensation after he was filmed being thrown off a train has insisted he was not a fare dodger.

Sam Main, 19, a student at Heriot-Watt University, was chucked off the train at Linlithgow station by a burly commuter, to the applause of other passengers, after he became involved in a shouting match with a conductor who told him his ticket was not valid.

But today he was reported as saying: “I had been out celebrating after an exam and I was half asleep on the train. I did have a ticket but I must have handed over the wrong one.

“The next thing I know this big guy is manhandling me to the door and throwing me off. I landed on my face and I have cuts all over my cheek and my legs.

“I couldn’t believe it when the footage turned up on YouTube.”

* SEVERE winds of up to 70mph are expected to batter the Lothians during rush hour.

Forecasters advise that strong gusts and snowfall over higher ground could hit travel between 6pm and 9pm today amid warnings that trees weakened from last week’s storm could topple this time round.

A MET office spokesman said Lothian would see high winds with heavy sleet and snow showers that could cause problems on higher roads just outside the city.

* FIREFIGHTERS led three people to safety following a blaze at a flat in Wester Hailes.

Crews used a hose reel and four breathing kits to tackle the fire that sparked in a cooker of a Wester Hailes Park property at around 11.20pm last night.

No one was seriously injured in the fire though a man and a woman were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

* A NEW poll today shows support for independence at 38 per cent - up three points since a similar poll in August, while a majority - 57 per cent - say Scotland should remain part of the UK, down three points since August.

The Times MORI poll also found almost two-thirds of voters want the SNP’s promised referendum on independence to be held before 2014 despite Alex Salmond’s insistence it will take place in the second half of the parliament

* A DEDICATED domestic abuse court is to be piloted in the Capital to try to improve the way allegations are dealt with.

The scheme will be piloted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with the first case due to call on February 7.

Specialist prosecutors, police liaison officers, advocacy workers and sheriffs will combine to deal with all domestic abuse prosecutions from the south and east of the city.

The court expects to deal with approximately 20 to 30 cases of abuse a month.