Two on trial accused of murdering Margaret Fleming 19 years ago

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Margaret Fleming
Image caption,
It is alleged that Margaret Fleming was abducted and murdered

Two people have gone on trial charged with the murder of a woman nearly 20 years ago.

Edward Cairney and Avril Jones pleaded not guilty to abducting and murdering Margaret Fleming at Seacroft, Inverkip, between December 1999 and January 2000.

It is alleged the pair tied up the 19-year-old, cut her hair and bound her arms with tape.

They are also accused of fraudulently claiming £182,000 in state benefits by pretending she was alive.

Margaret Fleming was reported missing in October 2016 from her home in Inverkip but has allegedly not been seen since December 1999.

The couple are alleged to have concealed her remains while they told the Department of Work and Pension, social workers and police that Ms Fleming - who would now be aged 38 - was still living.

Separately, Mr Cairney, 77, is alleged to have assaulted Margaret Cruickshanks by strangling her at the house in November 1997.

It is claimed he threatened Miss Cruickshanks with violence and spat on her.

Miss Jones, 59, is alleged to have contacted a witness while on bail last November.

The final charges facing both accused include stealing electricity and trying to flee to London with £3,500 in order to collect a further £27,000 from a safety deposit box in the city.

The pair deny all the charges against them.

The first witnesses in the case at the High Court in Glasgow are expected to testify on Friday.

The trial, before Lord Matthews, is set to last five to six weeks.