Young mum Jill Pirrie killed during Edinburgh police pursuit

Old Dalkeith Road has been closed near Aaron Lodge. Picture: Courtney Cameron
Old Dalkeith Road has been closed near Aaron Lodge. Picture: Courtney Cameron
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A YOUNG mum has been knocked down and killed by a car which was being chased by the police as she walked home from her work as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary.

Four people, all believed to be young teenage boys, have been detained by police following the death of Jill Pirrie, 33, who was run down when a silver Ford Ka mounted the pavement on Old Dalkeith Road. The boy suspected of driving the car is believed to be aged just 14 and being treated for serious injuries at the hospital where she worked.

Jill Pirrie. Picture: Contributed

Jill Pirrie. Picture: Contributed

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The car was being pursued by a marked police car when the accident happened, close to the Aaron Lodge guest house, at around 8pm on Thursday.

Police watchdog the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has begun an investigation into the incident.

Ms Pirrie, 33, who is understood to have a five-year-old son, was treated by paramedics at the scene but later died in the hospital where she worked as a theatre nurse.

This is such tragic news. I know it’s a busy road but hearing something like this happen is a real shock to the community.

Liz Stewart

READ MORE: Driver of car that killed mum Jill Pirrie aged 14 – reports

Her family have paid moving tribute in a statement released through the police, saying: “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, earlier posted a link to a report of the accident on Facebook, saying: “Please share. This is my sister that died. She was on her way home from work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She has a young son.”

Police Scotland said a force vehicle was following a Ford Ka after it failed to stop when signalled to do so by officers.

The police car’s blue lights and siren were being used in the pursuit, the force said. Three males were detained over the crash early yesterday and the fourth was detained by officers last night.

Colleagues of Ms Pirrie have paid tribute to a popular and talented medic and spoken of their immense shock at her death. Jim Crombie, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, 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, and that will continue over the coming days and weeks.”

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.”

Yesterday, part of Old Dalkeith Road, was cordoned off until 3pm. Forensics officers were seen investigating the scene while police guarded the area.

Ms Pirrie is understood to have lived in the Slateford area of the city before recently moving to Craigmillar. One former neighbour 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 Ms Pirrie 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.

Locals who live near the scene of the incident told how they heard “a bang” at the time of the incident.

Tomasz Curylo, 42, who 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: “I heard this big thud. I went round the corner and down to the bottom of the road.

“There was a grey car. There were two boys lying outside the car on the ground both bleeding and the car was right against the wall, smashed up.” Last night 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 and when arrests were made.

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 inquiry. 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.”