Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming trial: Police search dog 'found decomposing scents'

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

A police dog found two "decomposing scents" in the garden of two carers accused of murdering a woman they were looking after.

PC Ryan Galloway was part of a dog unit searching the home of Edward Cairney and Avril Jones.

The two were looking after Margaret Fleming who has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

Mr Cairney, 77, and Ms Jones, 59, deny murdering Miss Fleming between December 1999 and January 2000.

Police search adviser Sgt Niki Jemmet, 49, was part of the investigations team at Mr Cairney and Ms Jones' house in Inverkip.

She told the High Court in Glasgow: "There was no evidence of Margaret living there.

"We were given an area to search at a bus stop as it had possible sightings but it came to nothing."

Specially-treained dog

PC Galloway, 42, said his black labrador Ollie found two possible decomposing scents in the garden close to the River Clyde.

This was in two cup-sized holes dug 18ins (46cm) apart and 24ins (61cm) deep.

PC Galloway said: "The dog's reaction was quite clear as his behaviour changed and he became more focused.

"He tilted his head back and started to bark.

"He is only trained to identify pig and human flesh."

Earlier, Robert Paterson - an acquaintance of accused Edward Cairney - said he spoke to him about Margaret Fleming's disappearance.

Mr Paterson, 80, knew Mr Cairney through a shared interest in weightlifting and scuba diving.

Millennium Dome

Mr Paterson, a marine engineer, said: "Eddie told me he had been walking back with Margaret from Wemyss Bay and it started to get dark and they heard sirens and saw lights flashing and Margaret ran away.

"I asked if she came back and he said quite regularly from time to time for money."

Mr Paterson said Ms Jones and Mr Cairney at one time went looking for Margaret in London back in 2000.

He said: "He told me that Margaret was interested in the Millennium Dome and they went down to look for her.

"They came back and were in a cafe in Greenock and Margaret walked in."

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 trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.

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