Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming murder accused 'swore at detectives'

Margaret Fleming
Image caption Margaret Fleming was reported missing in October 2016

A carer allegedly involved in the murder of a missing woman did not want police in his home, a court has heard.

Det Sgt Neil Martin said Edward Cairney swore after he arrived at the house in Inverkip, Inverclyde, to speak to him in October 2016.

The officer was giving evidence at the trial of Mr Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, at the High Court in Glasgow.

They deny murdering Miss Fleming between December 1999 and January 2000.

Mr Cairney and Ms Jones had become carers for her after her father died.

Margaret - who would now be 38 - has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

Jurors heard how police asked during the meeting for a recent photo of Margaret but were told she "did not like her picture taken".

'Very irate'

Det Sgt Martin called at the property on 28 October, 2016 after a colleague was "quite concerned something was not right".

The visit was in connection with the claiming of benefits.

Det Sgt Martin recalled: "On entering, I spoke to Mr Cairney who became very irate."

The officer said the accused swore at him and asked him to leave.

Ms Jones was also there, but was said to have allowed Mr Cairney to "do most of the talking".

The detective told how they were trying to find out if Margaret was staying at the house.

Det Sgt Martin: "Avril Jones made us aware there was a birth certificate and a bank book from 1997."

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC asked the officer: "This was 2016... anything more recent offered to you?"

He replied: "We did highlight that was a number of years ago... but nothing was offered whatsoever.

"We were told that Margaret kept her belongings with her at all times and did not like her picture taken."

'Evasive'

The detective added he found the pair to be "very evasive".

Police were shown a bedroom that Mr Cairney said was Margaret's.

But, on being quizzed about Margaret again, Mr Cairney allegedly swore once more and told them to leave.

Edward Cairney and Avril Jones also deny defrauding £182,000 in benefits and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by claiming Margaret was alive.

The hearing ended earlier on Monday due to Mr Cairney's ill-health.

His QC Thomas Ross told jurors that he had fallen out of his wheelchair on Sunday, and the judge adjourned the trail until Tuesday.

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