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18-year sentence for Pilley murder

A man has been jailed for at least 18 years for the murder of his former lover, whose body has never been found.

Suzanne Pilley, 38, disappeared nearly two years ago after making her usual journey to work in Edinburgh city centre. The book-keeper, described as a devoted daughter and an exemplary colleague, never arrived at her desk, having been killed at her workplace that morning, on May 4, 2010, by colleague David Gilroy.

The 49-year-old - said by prosecutors to be a "deceitful and controlling" individual - returned to the High Court in Edinburgh where he was jailed for life and told he must spend a minimum of 18 years behind bars before he can be considered for release.

In a legal first, part of the hearing was filmed for television. Following an application by broadcaster STV, the camera recorded judge Lord Bracadale as he told Gilroy his fate.

It was the first time in the UK that TV news cameras have been allowed to film a sentencing in a criminal court for broadcast on the same day.

Driven by jealousy, the killer, who maintained a front of normality and embarked on a series of chilling acts to cover up his crime, later took her body to a secret grave, believed to be in remote Argyll. Married Gilroy, who protested his innocence since the day Ms Pilley vanished, was convicted of murder by a jury following a four-week trial last month.

The disappearance of the popular divorcee sparked a major missing person inquiry and a groundbreaking police investigation. Lothian and Borders Police collected more than 1,100 statements and viewed CCTV from 250 separate locations.

Jurors convicted Gilroy of murdering Ms Pilley by "unknown means" on May 4 2010. He was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding her body and driving it to various locations in Scotland. He had no previous criminal record.

Following the verdict the victim's parents, Sylvia and Robert Pilley, said their ordeal would continue until her body was found. They can now only hope that Gilroy will one day disclose its whereabouts, meaning they can finally lay their daughter, who was a "proud Scot", to rest.

Police have pledged to pursue any new information which could help recover the body.


From Belfast Telegraph