Royal Mile Siege: Pharmacy boss hails duo sentence

Peter Tinkler welcomed the sentences following the incident in May. Picture: Scott Louden
Peter Tinkler welcomed the sentences following the incident in May. Picture: Scott Louden
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A ROYAL Mile shopkeeper who feared he would die during a three-hour siege today welcomed the sentenced slapped on his hostage-takers.

Peter Tinkler applauded the decision to jail Russell Irvine, 32, and Helen Paterson, 33, for a total of 11 years after the pair held the pharmacist and five other people, including a pregnant woman, at knifepoint during a stand-off on May 15.

Police were forced to break into the Royal Mile Pharmacy and stun Irvine using two tasers to end the ordeal.

The prison terms – a six-year spell for Irvine and five for Paterson – were handed down yesterday by judge Lord Doherty at the High Court in Aberdeen. Both offenders will spend a further five years on licence once they are released.

Mr Tinkler, 51, watched in horror as Irvine poured isopropyl alcohol on to his floor and threatened to set the shop ablaze if police came near.

Irvine, who had consumed a cocktail of heroin, methadone and cocaine, held a Stanley knife to Mr Tinkler’s throat, warning the store owner he would die if he tried anything.

Irvine and Paterson later pleaded guilty to abduction, assault and robbery.

Mr Tinkler said today that he was happy with the ruling. He added: “They pleaded guilty, so I think going to the upper end of the mid scale in terms of sentences was appropriate.

“We’re glad that the process is over, but one of my members of staff is still not back at work and still remains very distressed by the incident.

“The behaviour of two individuals is not going to deter me from my job, which is to provide a service to the general public.”

Paterson swallowed as many as 30 morphine tablets and swigged vodka during the siege. At the height of the stand-off, Irvine, who also took tablets, started picking up items inside the pharmacy and smashing them.

Lord Doherty told the pair: “This was a terrifying and 
prolonged ordeal for those whom you abducted and assaulted. A major police operation had to be implemented to deal with the emergency which you created. There is no escaping that you have each committed a very grave crime.

“Those who work in pharmacies must be able to carry on their work without being subjected to violence or threats of violence. Their safety and the safety of ordinary members of the public using pharmacies has to be protected.”

Chief Inspector Bob Paris said: “I sincerely hope all of those who were detained within the pharmacy can now put the matter firmly behind them.”