Prisoner goes on the run in Holyrood Park

A YOUNG woman was car-jacked during morning rush hour in the centre of Scotland's capital after a prisoner escaped from custody.

The 24-year-old man went on the run as he was about to be put into a Reliance security van to take him to court from St Leonard's police station in Edinburgh.

He fled to Holyrood Park, with two guards giving chase, where he stood in the middle of the road, causing morning rush-hour traffic to grind to a halt.

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Catriona Perry – the daughter of a city councillor – pulled up in a black Ford Fiesta and was threatened by the man.

She got out of the car and he drove off in the direction of the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

The car crashed into one of the Reliance officers who had given chase, a 29-year-old man, near the entrance to Edinburgh University's Pollock Halls of residence. He suffered leg and chest injuries, but no breaks, and was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The suspect then drove off. Police say he was driving above the speed limit but were unable to say exactly how fast.

He drove through Holyrood Park on to Queen's Drive and through Lochend Road before he finally crashed into a bollard and overturned the car after turning into Primrose Street in Leith at 8:30am.

Confused motorists were diverted for more than two hours as the roads in Holyrood Park were closed between 8:35am and 10:45am while detectives carried out an investigation of the crime scene.

Edinburgh city councillor Ian Perry said his 24-year-old daughter Catriona had been shocked but unhurt. "It was a very traumatic experience for her," he said. "But she did the right thing – as soon as he got in the car, she got out. She's fine now, she's recovering.

"She's in shock. There's a delay period until you realise that something serious happened there."

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He added: "He was walking in the middle of the road. Cars were stopping all over the place.

"She drew up and he got into the car. When she realised what was happening, she got out of the car straight away."

The man was not believed to have been armed.

He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment for minor facial injuries and was to be discharged into police custody.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman was unable to say how many police officers and vehicles had been involved in the operation.

Police said the man also caused minor damage to other vehicles, such as broken wing mirrors, which he passed as he was trying to escape.

Officers investigating the incident are appealing for witnesses or anyone with any information to come forward.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman said: "Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time, and who may have witnessed what happened, to contact them directly on 0131 311 3131, or through the charity Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.

"Investigations are continuing and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."