Police cleared over Royal Mile siege tasers

Officers move in at the end of the siege in May. Picture: Jane Barlow

Officers move in at the end of the siege in May. Picture: Jane Barlow

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POLICE use of Tasers to end an armed siege at a chemist shop on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile has been backed following a review.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc), Professor John McNeill, said officers were justified in using the weapons to control and disarm a 32-year-old man.

The incident on 15 May brought chaos to the city centre. A drug-abusing couple staged a raid at Royal Mile Pharmacy taking staff and customers hostage at knifepoint after the woman’s baby had been placed in care.

Russell Irvine, 32, and Helen Paterson, 33, both took morphine tablets and drank vodka in the shop, the High Court in Edinburgh heard earlier this month.

They admitted abducting and assaulting pharmacist Peter Tinkler, employees Diane Keenan and Sandra Carr and customers Kaya McQueen, who was five months pregnant, Paula Gordon and Mahinder Singh-Landa, and robbing the premises of medication. They will be sentenced after reports have been compiled.

Police spent three hours trying to persuade the couple to release their hostages, but Irvine became increasingly agitated. Armed officers then entered the premises and fired two Taser shots at him. He suffered no after-effects.

Prof McNeill said: “Following my independent investigation I consider that the use of the Tasers was proportionate and justified.”

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