Kilmarnock attacks: Two women and a man die in linked incidents
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Kilmarnock attacks: Two women and a man die in linked incidents

media captionThree people dead after linked incidents in Kilmarnock

A mother and daughter have been killed in linked attacks in Ayrshire before a man died in a road crash.

Emma Robertson Coupland, 39, was found injured in the car park of University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock at 19:45 on Thursday.

Around 20 minutes later the NHS worker’s daughter, Nicole Anderson, 24, was fatally stabbed on Portland Street, about two miles away.

Steven Robertson, 40, died in a road crash south of the town, at 20:30.

Police Scotland said officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incidents – which led to a three-hour lockdown of the hospital – and there was no ongoing threat to the public.

Ch Supt 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.”

He urged anyone with information about the incidents, which unfolded over a 45-minute period, to come forward.

Ch Supt Hussain added: “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.”

image copyrightPA Media

image captionAn officer guards the scene of the stabbing on Portland Street, Kilmarnock

Ms Coupland was treated in the hospital car park but died at the scene.

Her daughter was attacked about 20 minutes later and was taken to University Hospital Crosshouse but later died from her injuries.

The fatal road crash occurred on the C50, a minor road between the B7036 and the A76, about 12 miles south of Kilmarnock.

Mr Robertson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ambulances were diverted to University Hospital Ayr as police dealt with the unfolding events until the three-hour lockdown was lifted shortly before 23:00.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionPolice maintained a presence at the hospital on Friday

image copyrightPA Media

image captionPolice forensics check drains in Old Kirk Place, near Portland Street in Kilmarnock

image copyrightPA Media

image captionPolice at the scene of the fatal road accident

A statement from Ms Coupland’s colleagues read: “Emma was a valued member of the NHS, a wonderful friend, colleague and loving mother. We are all deeply saddened by the loss.”

On Friday morning, the hospital’s A&E department and main entrance were open and running as normal while two police vans full of officers remained outside with police tape around part of the car park.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, the medical director of NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said police had confirmed the risk to patients, staff and visitors to the hospital was minimal.

John Burns, the health board’s chief executive, acknowledged the professionalism of those who responded to the attacks.

He said: “This was a particularly challenging incident, and our staff reacted with care and compassion.”

Mr Burns added that the car park at the physiotherapy department will remain closed until police have concluded their investigations.

Rev Jim McNaughtan, of St Andrew’s and St Marnock’s Parish Church, said the reaction in the town has been one of disbelief.

He told BBC Scotland: “The staff at Crosshouse Hospital have been working hard this wee while dealing with the Covid outbreak.

“For something like this to happen in the grounds of the hospital is tragic and shocking and there is great concern for all involved.”

image copyrightPA Media

image captionFlowers were left outside the hospital

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. Please continue to follow @policescotland advice.”

During the Scottish government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said his thoughts were also with the family and friends of those who died.

He added: “A tragedy like this would be impossible to understand at any time but, after the events of the past year, it is particularly shocking that such an incident has taken place at an NHS hospital.”

Downing Street said Boris Johnson also offered his sympathies.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “The prime minister’s thoughts are with all those involved and he thanks the police and the healthcare staff for their response.”

East Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Reid said he was “shocked and saddened” by the tragic events.

He added: “In East Ayrshire we are proud of our community spirit and community resilience, but I know the events of last night will have had a devastating impact on several families in our communities and our heartfelt thoughts go out to them this morning.”

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