Kilmarnock Attacks: Community in shock as mother and daughter killed in linked incidents
The two women have been named locally as NHS worker Emma Robertson Coupland, 39, and her daughter, Nicole Anderson, 24.
The 39-year-old was found injured in the car park of the University Hospital Crosshouse, near Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire, at around 7.45pm on Thursday, but died at the scene shortly after.
In a second incident just 20 minutes later on Portland Street in the town centre Ms Anderson was found stabbed.
Emergency services attended the scene and she was rushed to the hospital at Crosshouse by paramedics, but the 24-year-old was pronounced dead.
Then, at around 8:30pm, 40-year-old Steven Robertson was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash on the C50 – a minor road between the B7036 and the A76 south of Kilmarnock.
It is understood he was the former partner of Ms Robertson Coupland.
The relatives of all those involved have been informed.
Police have insisted that there is no ongoing threat to the public, adding that the incidents are not being treated as terrorist-related.
Officers also confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attacks.
Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain said: “A number of locations remain cordoned off as officers continue to conduct inquiries.
“We are working to confirm the full circumstances of what has happened.
“If anyone has any information which could assist our inquiries, please do contact us.
“Understandably, people will be shocked by what has happened.
“We are still in the process of establishing the full circumstances, however I would like to reassure people that there is no wider threat to the community.
“Officers will be on patrol and anyone with any concerns can approach these officers.”
Several roads in Kilmarnock town centre remained closed yesterday, including Portland Street, West George Street and Garden Street via Hill Street.
There were also diversions in place at the site of Mr Robertson's fatal crash.
In a statement, East Ayrshire Council told the public: “Following on from the tragic incidents in and around Kilmarnock last night, our thoughts are with all the families and individuals affected by these events.
“We know our communities will be shocked and saddened by these events, but we wish to reassure them that there is no risk to the general public at this time and we are supporting our colleagues in NHS Ayrshire & Arran and Police Scotland wherever we can.
“As this is an ongoing police matter, we need to keep a number of roads in Kilmarnock town centre closed and diversions are in place here, and on the A76, to allow the investigation to continue, and we thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Political reaction to the killings was swift.
Soon after news of the attacks broke, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Dreadful news. My thoughts are with the bereaved.
“Thinking too of everyone at Crosshouse Hospital, already dealing with the tough circumstances of Covid.
“I’m also grateful to our emergency services.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The Prime Minister’s thoughts are with all those involved and he thanks the police and health care staff for their response.”
And ahead of the daily Scottish Government coronavirus briefing at lunchtime yesterday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney called the events “dreadful” and “impossible to understand.”
He added: “After the events of the past year it is particularly shocking that such an incident has taken place at an NHS hospital.
“An investigation is of course ongoing, however Police Scotland have confirmed that the site at Crosshouse Hospital is secure and it is safe for patients and staff to go there.
“For now I simply want to thank the police officers and all of the medical staff who were involved in the response to this incident for all that they contributed and to express my sympathy to the staff of the hospital for the trauma to which they are having to come to terms.
“And again I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and the friends of those who have been killed.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman echoed Mr Swinney’s comments and said “immediate support” has been offered to NHS staff.
On Friday, floral tributes and messages were left at the hospital by colleagues and wellwishers.
One message read: “Emma, NHS angel, now Heaven's angel.”
“Thinking of our dear colleague and her precious daughter,” read another, while a third read: "Nicole, RIP angel, thoughts with all the family.”
Police officers locked down the University Hospital Crosshouse campus after the first incident for more than three hours on Wednesday evening, only lifting the security measures at around 10:30pm.
By Friday morning, the hospital’s A&E department and main entrance had reopened and were running as normal, while two police vans full of officers remained stationed outside, and a police cordon was in place around part of the car park.
Later, forensics officers were seen working at the scene.
John Burns, Chief Executive of NHS Ayrshire and Arran, described the events that unfolded on the hospital grounds as “terrible” and paid tribute to the “care and compassion” of the staff caught up in them.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with all those involved,” he said.
“We have increased the staff care support available to our staff, and we are encouraging any members of our staff who have been affected to take advantage of the support available – whether that is by calling our helplines and speaking to a member of the staff care team, or attending the staff wellbeing hub.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the professionalism of the staff who were involved in the incident. This was a particularly challenging incident, and our staff reacted with care and compassion.”
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