TWO prostitutes who robbed a post office of £11,000 in a fake hostage heist have been jailed.
Linda Brown, 25, and Kelly Urquhart, 30, claimed they were “bullied and coerced” into the raid by their now-dead pimp.
Brown pretended to be a customer looking for stamps when Urquhart and gang-leader Adrian Brosnan burst through the door and threatened to harm the pretend customer.
He and Urquhart demanded money from the terrified post-office worker, Alexander Brydon, who was looking after the shop for his ill brother.
They made off from the Edinburgh post officer with thousands of pounds in cash, but were caught driving towards the Forth Road Bridge after witnesses alerted police.
Jailing Brown for 10 months and Urquhart for a year at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday (Thurs), Sheriff William Holligan said prison was “unavoidable.”
The pair, both mothers from Aberdeen, fully admitted their involvement in the November 12 raid at Blackhall post office.
The shop’s phone lines were cut ahead of the raid, which Sheriff Holligan previously deemed as “clearly pre-meditated.”
Stand-in postmaster Alexander Brydon was cashing up at the Marischal Place post office when Brown entered and asked for some stamps.
Depute fiscal Alasdair MacLeod said: “At that point Brosnan entered the shop wearing a balaclava and headed straight for Brown.
“Urquhart then held the door open in case there was an automatic lock, while Brosnan held Brown in a headlock.
“He indicated that she would come to harm if Mr Brydon didn’t hand over money, at which point Brown began to scream.”
They took the money and ran from the shop to a waiting Mitsubishi Colt car, while the fake hostage Brown calmly walked out after them.
The shocked shopkeeper pleaded with her to stay to give evidence to police, but she ignored him and caught up with her gang.
Onlookers called police after spotting Brosnan putting the cash into a pouch in his jacket pocket before leaving in the getaway car.
Police set up a trap on the A90 on Cramond Brig and stopped, searched and arrested all involved.
Brosnan was never traced or charged before his death, a suspected suicide, in May this year.
Mr MacLeod added: “Miss Brown told police she had met Brosnan just a week before the robbery and that she and her friend Urquhart worked for him as prostitutes and owed him a drug debt.
“Mr Brydon, the man who was running the shop, was left shaken by this robbery, the post office is blaming him for the loss of the money as there is no CCTV.
“All this while his brother is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.”
Both Brown and Urquhart claim they didn’t gain any money from the robbery.
Brown’s defence agent Ross Gardner said: “She intends to use the time in custody as usefully as possible.
“Her period in remand meant she was able to see where her life was leading here.
“There have been a number of low points in her life but she doesn’t seem to be wallowing.
“She has a tragic background herself, as a mother of three children who are in care.”
Urquhart’s agent, Peter Shepherd, added: “She became involved with a now deceased person who bullied her, insulted her and coerced her into involving herself in this.”
Sheriff Holligan previously told them: “This was very clearly a pre-meditated robbery, although there appears to be an unfortunate history for both.”
Jailing the pair yesterday, he said: “These are serious matters – to be involved in a robbery – and in my view a custodial sentence is unavoidable.”