Suzanne Pilley murder trial: David Gilroy guilt betrayed by own hands
WHEN Suzanne Pilley was reported missing in May 2010, it did not take police long to suspect foul play.
Nothing about the life she had left behind suggested that she had gone willingly. While the numerous police appeals that went out in the subsequent days were headed “missing person”, investigators increasingly feared they were dealing with a murder inquiry.
Stephen McGowan, district procurator fiscal for Edinburgh, said: “The first thing we looked at was Suzanne’s home address.
“It looked like a normal house – nothing missing, nothing disturbed.
“There was money in the house. If she had disappeared in another way it might have disappeared too. There was medication that, if she had disappeared for a period of time, she would have to take. “She was in very close contact with her family and friends and that stopped abruptly. She had a number of pets, a cat and some fish, she always made arrangements if she was going away so they would be looked after. She didn’t make any arrangements.
“None of her bank accounts have been touched. Her passport is still in the house, she never applied for a duplicate, same with her driver’s licence. She was planning. She had sent her mother a text message in relation to her new relationship. Her last message was to her father, asking if she could borrow his mobile phone because there was a special deal on at the cinema.”
David Gilroy had until recently been Ms Pilley’s boyfriend and so was always going to be an important witness, but he very quickly became much more.
Despite never finding her phone, police were able to get access to her records and found Gilroy had sent her 400 text messages in the month leading up to her death. After she disappeared, the texts stopped.
“That was because he had the phone and he knew she was dead,” Mr McGowan said.
The day the search for Ms Pilley, 38, began in earnest, Gilroy, 49, who might have been expected to stay and help, went on a business trip of “no consequence” to Lochgilphead.
Police believe he had Ms Pilley’s body in the boot of his car.
Conversations with staff at Infrastructure Managers Limited (IML), where they both worked, gave an insight into the kind of man Gilroy was.
Detective Superintendent Gary Flannigan, the senior investigating officer, said: “What we learned from IML was that he was a very controlling individual. He was very highly regarded as a problem solver and quickly rose through the ranks.”
However, it was when he was interviewed by police on 6 May, two days after killing Ms Pilley, that he became their number one suspect.
It happened after a police photographer noticed he was wearing make-up on his hand.
“The fact that he tried to conceal the injuries on the back of his hands was the turning point in the investigation and the point when I went public and said it was a murder investigation,” Mr Flannigan said. The hunt for Ms Pilley’s body focused on Argyll. In particular, police became interested in the area around Rest and Be Thankful.
Mr Flannigan said Gilroy made a “couple of attempts to take us away from Rest and Be Thankful”, which raised suspicion. “He was signposting that there was something suspicious about that part of the journey,” he added.
But despite this, Ms Pilley’s body has never been found.
Without it, police sought to build a water-tight case around her disappearance. They traced her journey to work on 4 May.
They contacted and ruled out anyone else seen on CCTV in the area at that time and they traced Gilroy’s movements from leaving work that day to when he arrived at the police station.
Through his calculated planning in the face of a horrendous crime, Gilroy marked himself out as a “cold personality” in the minds of prosecutors, but he met his match in the meticulous attention to detail of police.
Eventually, there was only one possible explanation.
Mr McGowan said: “The case against Gilroy is devastating. On the morning of 4 May, Gilroy and Pilley went to the basement. He killed her there and placed her body in a recess in the car park. He went home to get his car, brought it back. He spent the lunch hour buying air freshener.
“He put the body in the boot, took her home, and the next day took her to Argyll.” He added: “David Gilroy was in a jealous and possessive state of mind.
“His actions before Suzanne’s disappearance, and after, suggest she was murdered by him.”
Police hope Gilroy may yet tell them where Ms Pilley’s body is.
Mr Flannigan said: “For most victims of crime they know what has happened, they can bury their loved ones.
“This has not been available to the Pilley family.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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