Glasgow & West Scotland

Margaret Fleming killers face paying back £182,000 as legal action begins

Edward Cairney and Avril Jones
Image caption Cairney and Jones spent 20 years pretending that Ms Fleming was still alive

Lawyers are taking legal action against Margaret Fleming's murderers to recover £182,000 they claimed fraudulently.

Crown Office prosecutors began proceedings on Monday against Edward Cairney,77, and 59-year-old Avril Jones at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The two were jailed for at least 14 years each for killing Margaret, 19, between December 1999 and January 2000.

Jones then continued to claim £182,000 in benefits until it emerged she was missing in October 2016.

Image caption Margaret Fleming was last seen when she was 19

Police suspected they took Margaret's life at their cottage in Inverkip, Renfrewshire. However, her body has never been found.

Judge Lord Matthews told them: "Only you two know the truth. Only you know where her remains are. Margaret Fleming was a vulnerable young woman with evident difficulties.

"She was in your care and you breached the trust placed in you."

Now Cairney and Jones may have to pay the funds to the Crown as proceeds of crime proceedings are launched.

Cairney's advocate Frances Connor told judge Lord Pentland that it would take six weeks for his legal team to prepare their responses to Crown demands.

Jones's lawyer John McElroy also said he needed time to prepare the case.

Lord Pentland then continued the case. It will next call at the High Court in Edinburgh in mid-October.

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