Mum’s suicide fears over woman on gun charges

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THE mother of a young woman charged in connection with three gunpoint robberies in the Meadows today spoke of her fears that her daughter would commit suicide while in prison.

The 23-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was detained by officers who swooped on the area after reports of the armed hold-ups.

The 47-year-old mother said that her daughter suffers from a bipolar disorder, and had recently been taken off her medication on doctor’s orders.

She is being held on remand at Cornton Vale Prison in Stirling after being denied bail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Her mother has pleaded for her daughter to be transferred to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and put under psychiatric care after claiming she was being bullied by other inmates and had threatened to take her own life.

She said bosses at the jail had now placed her daughter on suicide watch, but she remained “terrified” that she would be unable to cope.

Police were called to the Meadows at around 12.30am on Thursday after being alerted that groups of passers-by were being threatened with a gun and robbed.

The victims had cash and mobile phones stolen from them during the three alleged robberies, which took place in the space of around half an hour.

The officers later discovered that the weapon used was a replica.

The mother-of-two, who lives in Edinburgh and works as a nurse, said: “My daughter is bipolar but her doctor suggested she come off her medication at the beginning of March. I could tell she was starting to slip back and wanted her on a new prescription, but we were told on Wednesday that she couldn’t get an appointment until April 12.

“I had seen her on the Wednesday and she seemed quite happy. If she has been involved in these robberies then it’s completely out of character.

“I only found out on the Friday when one of her friends texted me to say she had been arrested. I was shocked when I discovered what for. I went to the sheriff court that afternoon and her lawyer asked for bail, but it was opposed by the Crown.”

The mother said her daughter, who lives in East Lothian and had studied to become a vet, has suffered from bipolar disorder since she was 17. She tried to commit suicide with valium around six months ago.

She added: “My daughter will not be able to cope in prison. Her friend visited her on Monday and my daughter told her she was being bullied and was talking about killing herself.

“Her lawyer is still applying for bail but that could take another week or two if it happens. Meanwhile, I’m terrified that she will commit suicide.

“I’m going to visit her at Cornton Vale today but I just want her moved to the Royal Edinburgh where she can be monitored.

“I’m not condoning what she may have done, but she needs help not prison.”

A police spokesman said: “Police arrested and charged a 24-year-old man and 23-year-old woman in connection with three alleged robberies that happened in the Meadows in the early hours of Thursday. They both appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court the following day, and were remanded in custody.”