A man has appeared in court charged with stealing a car belonging to a jeweller who was found dead.

A man has appeared in court charged with stealing a car belonging to a jeweller who was found dead.

Police are investigating the “suspicious” death of Balbeggie man Alan Gardner, and had appealed for help finding his blue Toyota Rav car.

After the car was recovered in Perth city centre, Bulgarian national Nikola Zhulev was charged with stealing it.

The 30-year-old is alleged to have taken the car on 20 April, the same day Mr Gardner was found dead by police.

Zhulev, of Perth, who was on bail at the time of the alleged offence, made no plea or declaration during a private hearing at Perth Sheriff Court.

He was remanded in custody by Sheriff Fiona Tait, who continued the case for further inquiry.

Police are also continuing their inquiries into the death of 49-year-old Mr Gardner.

AL Intro times just right click next style Al Intro Times Rag Right click next style A former university lecturer who founded his own church and called himself “The Prophet” was found guilty of sexually molesting members of his own flock.

Walter Masocha (51), “Archbishop” of the Stirling-based Agape for All Nations Church, groped a young deaconess while he was supposed to be praying for her stomach complaint, and put his hand down the trousers of a schoolgirl saying he was trying to remove demons.

The deaconess, a 32-year-old mother-of-four, was also told that “The Prophet” had been “trying to remove ‘something’ from her genitals”.

The schoolgirl, aged 15, was left in tears after Masocha “pinged” her knicker-elastic and pinched her bottom claiming she had ants or demons in her pants.

Both were targeted between April 2012 and January 2014 at Masocha’s �500,000 seven-bedroom mansion, Coseyneuk House, near Stirling, where the Zimbabwe-born churchman received a steady stream of followers.

On Monday (27 April) after a six day trial, a jury of seven men and seven women at Falkirk Sheriff Court took less than 30 minutes to find Masocha guilty of sexually assaulting the deaconess and sexually touching the underage girl. The verdicts were by majority.

Masocha, in a hand-made suit with velvet collar, stood completely expressionless in the dock as the verdicts were announced.

On the public benches his wife Judith - styled The Prophetess within the church - appeared to dab her nose with a tissue.

Sheriff Kenneth McGowan ordered that Masocha’s name should be entered on the sex offenders’ register and deferred sentence, continuing bail, until 19 May for reports, to include an assessment of the risk Masocha poses to other women and girls.

During the trial, the schoolgirl, now 16, said she regarded Masocha as her “spiritual father”, and like many people in the church called him “dad”.

She said in late 2013 she was with four other girls in an upstairs games room when Masocha came in.

Giving evidence by video link she said she had been wearing “stretchy trousers”.

She said: “He waved me over. He placed his hand round my lower back, and moved his hand down until he got to my underwear, and he sort of pinged my underwear.

“He repeatedly pinged my underwear, ran his hand down my bottom, and grabbed and pinched my bottom.

The Stirlingshire secondary school pupil said she felt violated and later asked Masocha why he had done it. He replied that he had seen “demons and things that shouldn’t be there” in her pants and he was clearing them away.

She said: “I just broke into tears because I thought I had been doing things wrong without realising. I felt like I had been bad.” Mascocha said he would pray to remove the “demons” and left the room.

In another incident, when she was 13 or 14, she said Masocha had been sitting down at his home, very close to her, advising her about school when he suddenly said, “You’ll always be mine”, and kissed her on the lips.

She said at the time she was happy, because members of the church had been taught that anything they received from Masocha was a blessing from God, but now she felt disgusted.

The deaconess said Masocha had hugged her “very intimately”, caressing her back and kissing her round the neck, and saying “receive my love”. She said she could feel his manhood against her.

On another occasion said she had once gone to his office for prayer with a stomach complaint.

She said: “He said he was going to pray it away. He touched my tummy, then his hand went down my body, onto my private parts.” Weeping, she said: “It was like he was feeling me. I was so shocked. At that time I saw him as somebody who could never do any wrong, because that was what he used to teach us.

“He used to teach us his hugs were anointed.” She told her husband, a devoted member of the church, from whom she has since separated. He told her: “The Prophet is seeing something in your genitals that needs to be removed, so he was removing that.” The woman, a trained nurse, later fled her matrimonial home with her children, and spoke about what had happened to her brother, and others.

She said: “Suddenly, my eyes were opened.” She began an online blog to expose the activities of the church, which she called “a cult”.

In other incidents, she described how as part of her involvement with the church, she had to undergo an all-night “deliverance” after her husband told her she had to be delivered from demons, and shortly before she left the organisation for good, church members called an ambulance to a service she was attending in England and tried to get her sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Paramedics declined to act, concluding the call had been an “act of public humiliation”.

Mascoha denied the allegations.

Defence advocate John Scullion QC subjected the deaconess to five hours of cross-examination, claiming she was at the centre of a conspiracy to bring down Masocha and the church after he postponed publication of a church magazine that she had been working on.

After the verdicts, Mr Scullion said imprisonment was “not inevitable”, and said he would reserve his submissions in mitigation to the sentencing hearing.

Masocha was earlier found not guilty of two other charges, alleging that he engaged in sexually activity with another girl, then 13, by inducing her to massage his half-naked body with oils, after she retracted her claims. Allegations that he had acted in a similar way on various occasions towards her then 16-year-old sister had been dropped by the prosecution before the trial began.

Asked by a reporter if he had any comment to make on the verdicts, Masocha remained expressionless. His wife shook her head.