Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming 'bought Mars bar then fled' claimed murder accused

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

A man accused of murdering a woman he looked after claimed they went to Wemyss Bay to buy a Mars bar on the day police came looking for her.

Edward Cairney said Margaret Fleming ran away when she saw a flashing blue light outside their home at Seacroft, Inverkip, on their return at 17:30.

Mr Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 58, deny murdering Margaret Fleming between December 1999 and January 2000.

Margaret has allegedly not been seen for more than 19 years.

The High Court in Glasgow heard a major police investigation was sparked on 28 October 2016, after a benefits claim submitted by Jones on Margaret's behalf raised concerns about her well-being.

After Margaret's father died in October 1995, her mother could not cope and Mr Cairney and Ms Jones looked after her.

'No sign'

Margaret would now be 38 years old.

Sgt Alison Jarvie, who co-ordinated the collection of CCTV images, told prosecutor Iain McSporran QC that footage was taken from Bay Newsagents, a butchers, the ferry terminal and train station in Wemyss Bay and also from Sainsbury's in Inverkip.

She said that the images were viewed to see if Margaret or Mr Cairney could be identified and said: "At no point was there any person who matched the description of Margaret Fleming. We were also unable to identify Edward Cairney."

Image caption The trial is taking place at the High Court in Glasgow

The jury heard that Mr Cairney told police he and Margaret had gone by bus to Wemyss Bay because she wanted to buy a Mars Bar.

Footage from buses going from Shore Road to Wemyss Bay was also examined and there was no sign of the two.

Det Con James Mitchell told the court that CCTV footage from five buses was examined and nothing was found.

He was asked by defence QC Thomas Ross, representing Mr Cairney: "You claim that the footage covers from 12:40 to 17:20 is that correct," and the officer replied: "Yes."

The detective was then taken through all the footage seized but then admitted it did not cover the entire period.

Not seen in shop

The court also heard that there were two other buses on the route which did not have CCTV cameras on board.

DC Mitchell was asked if footage of the return journey was seized and replied: "No."

Witness Jody Davis, 28, who worked at Bay Newsagents in Wemyss Bay, then told the murder trial that police asked her if she had seen Margaret or Mr Cairney in the shop on 28 October, 2016.

She said she had not.

Miss Davis was asked by prosecutor Iain McSporran QC what description she had been given of Margaret and replied: "Dressed in a chequered shirt, 5ft 10in and in her 30s."

She was then asked: "Do you remember serving someone like that?" and replied: "No."

Mr Cairney and Ms Jones are also accused of defrauding £182,000 in benefits and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by claiming Margaret was alive.

They deny all the charges against them.

The trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.

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