Emma Faulds murder: Ross Willox jailed for killing friend and hiding her body in Galloway Forest

A former prison officer who murdered his friend and hid her body in a remote Scottish forest has been jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Ross Willox killed Emma Faulds after arranging to party with her at his home in Monkton, Ayrshire, on Sunday, April 28 2019.

Ms Faulds was reported missing by her family on April 30 2019, two days after she was last seen.

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Her body was found about six weeks later in Glentrool Forest, in the Galloway Forest, Dumfries and Galloway, after a major search involving specialist officers and search dogs.

Ross Willox.
Ross Willox.

Ross Willox, 42, had denied the charges but was found guilty of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow in May.

He was sentenced to life with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 20 years when he returned to the court for sentencing on Tuesday.

Judge Lord Mulholland told him: “You have been convicted of murdering a young woman, Emma Faulds.

A search was launched after Emma Faulds went missing

“Only you will know what happened in your house that night that led to you killing your friend.

“Having murdered her you created an elaborate scheme to cover up your crime.”

He said that Willox placed the body of Ms Faulds in a shallow grave and covered it up and tried to ensure it would decompose more quickly by placing it in a wet area.

The judge said: “You hoped it would never be found and her devoted family would have to spend the rest of their lives wondering where she was and if she was alive or dead.”

Police in Galloway Forest in Dumfries and Galloway where the remains of Emma Faulds were found.

After Ms Faulds was reported missing, Willox told police he had been partying with her at his flat but said they then went in her car to her flat in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, where he claimed he left her fit and well.

However, police became suspicious about his movements when they found CCTV footage that showed a man driving her car back to her street.

They then found CCTV footage of Willox driving his Mercedes jeep through Girvan on April 29 towards the Galloway forest area, a region where he had previously worked building wind farms.

He was also captured on CCTV in Ayr before his trip to the forest going to various shops buying bottles of bleach, rubber gloves, shower curtains, tins of outdoor disinfectant and waterproof trousers.

Police said that, put together circumstantially, this painted a suspicious picture of Ross Willox in relation to the disappearance of Ms Faulds.

The Galloway Forest covers an area of about 700 square miles, however, by using specialist techniques, police were able to focus on a search area.

Using cell site analysis from Willox’s phones, overlaid with CCTV analysis and time and distance runs with cars, officers were able to narrow down the search area to 10-15 square miles and the missing woman’s body was recovered on June 12 2019.

Willox, who became friends with Ms Faulds when they both worked at HMP Kilmarnock, was arrested on May 8 2019 and later charged with her murder.

Detective Inspector Peter Crombie, deputy senior investigating officer on the investigation, described Willox as a “selfish, arrogant monster” and said no motive for the crime has been identified.

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