THE DRIVER of a stolen car being chased by police which crashed into and killed a nurse walking home from work is believed to be aged just 14.
At least four boys are understood to have been driving a Ford Ka being pursued by a marked police car when it crashed into nurse Jill Pirrie in Edinburgh.
Police said three males were being detained in relation to the incident and that officers are looking for another male.
Police watchdog Police Investigations and Review Commissioner announced it has begun an investigation into the incident which happened just after 8pm on Old Dalkeith Road on Thursday.
Ms Pirrie, who has a five-year-old son, had just finished work as a theatre nurse at the city’s Royal Infirmary when she was struck by the car while walking home.
She was treated by paramedics at the scene but later died in the hospital where she worked.
Last night her family paid tribute to the nurse in a statement, they said: “Jill was a loving mother, daughter, partner and friend who will be hugely missed by the many who knew and loved her.
“She was well known for her great sense of humour and no words can express the void that is left as a result of this tragedy.”
Her brother, Keith Pirrie, posted on Facebook: “This is my sister that died. She was on her way home from work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She has a young son.”
Jim Crombie, Chief Officer of Acute Services at NHS Lothian, said staff were “shocked by this truly tragic incident.
He said: “Jill was a talented, well liked and respected member of our theatres team and her colleagues and friends are devastated.
“The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is a close-knit community and this has sent shockwaves through the site. We have been providing support to relatives and staff, that will continue over the coming days and weeks.”
And Unison’s Scottish health chief Tom Waterson said: This is extremely sad, it is particularly sad that someone in the caring profession who had just finished a shift at work was killed this way. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to her family, including her young boy.”
Miss Pirrie is understood to have lived in the Slateford area of the city before recently moving to Craigmillar.
Last night former neighbours said they were shocked by the news.
One said: “Her little boy had only just started at his primary school here and then they moved away to a new place. To think that a young life could be taken away like that, in a split second, it’s tragic. I just can’t get my head round it.”
Another neighbour, Jane Flemming, 36, said: “What an absolute tragedy. I used to see her and her little boy walking around together.
“She was always smiley and made sure to say ‘hi’”.
Just hours before she was struck by the car she had posed for photos with her work colleagues to celebrate International Nurses Day.
It is believed she had recently bought the family home from her father, and last month she uploaded a photograph on social media showing her refurbishing the house.
Locals who live near the scene of the incident told how they heard “a bang” on Wednesday at the time of the incident.
Tomasz Curylo, 42, was out cutting his grass, said: “I heard a big crash and bang, then shortly after the ambulance and police came along the road.”
Another neighbour said she had seen a woman lying on a pavement and some “boys” lying injured nearby.
Last night a nurse told the Scotsman that two of the boys who were in the silver car, including the driver, were being treated at the Royal Infirmary for injuries sustained in the crash. Eyewitnesses say one of them had “gone through the windscreen”.
Police say the Ford Ka was being chased by a police car, which had its blue lights and siren on, after the driver of the car failed to stop when signalled to do so while travelling on Old Dalkeith Road.
Chief Superintendent Kenny Macdonald, Edinburgh Divisional Commander, said: “We reported this collision to the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, who have instructed the PIRC to carry out an independent investigation.
“PIRC are instructed to investigate deaths following police contact or involvement, and we will cooperate fully with their enquiry.
“Our sincere condolences are with the family and friends of the woman at this tragic time and we will utilise all resources at our disposal to investigate this collision.”
A PIRC spokeswoman said: “A police vehicle was following a silver Ford Ka when the Ka was involved in a collision which resulted in the death of a 33-year-old woman in Edinburgh. Pirc investigators attended the scene in the early hours of the morning and a report will be submitted to the Crown Office in due course.”
Police said inquiries into the incident were ongoing and appealed for witnesses. They said the ages of the males involved would only be confirmed if arrest were made.