Margaret Fleming killers being pursued over 'fraudulent benefits' totalling £182,000

Edward Cairney and Avril Jones are said to have claimed benefits fraudulently for almost 20 years before their arrest over Margaret's death. Picture: PA
Edward Cairney and Avril Jones are said to have claimed benefits fraudulently for almost 20 years before their arrest over Margaret's death. Picture: PA
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The two carers found guilty of murdering missing woman Margaret Fleming are being pursued for £182,000 by prosecutors.


Eddie Cairney, 77, and Avril Jones, 59, have been served with Proceeds of Crime notices as the Crown Office looks to recover benefits cash they are said to have fraudulently accrued over the 17 years Margaret was missing, prior to their arrest.

READ MORE: Margaret Fleming: Carers found guilty of murdering missing woman

The pair were given notice of prosecutors' intent to recover the significant sums of money just minutes after the guilty verdict was returned by the jury on Friday afternoon (June 14).

The Crown is looking to recoup a total sum of £182,000, the amount both were initially charged with defrauding from the state at the start of their trial.

Jones was convicted of fraudulently claiming the money but the charge against Cairney was dropped.

However, prosecutors served the Proceeds of Crime paperwork on both at the conclusion of the seven week trial.

The sums being pursued relate to a four-figure cash amount found in Jones' handbag as the pair tried to board a late-night train from Central Station in Glasgow to London just before their arrest in 2017.

It also includes £25,000 which was stored in a safety deposit box at the Metro Bank in London's Tottenham Court Road.

During the murder trial Cairney admitted to being at the location, claiming he was there to visit and meet with Margaret, who would now be 38.

Despite checks of security cameras around the Tottenham Court Road area, no footage was ever recovered that showed the missing woman, although Cairney was caught on camera close to the bank where the cash was found.

Jones and Cairney were convicted of killing Margaret, 19, between December 1999 and January 2000.

Jurors also found them guilty of trying to defeat the ends of justice.

Margaret's has never been found, although senior police officers have now urged the pair to tell them where she is.

Background reports are currently being prepared on Cairney and Jones, who are awaiting sentencing.

They will both receive life sentences, with the minimum term each will serve behind bars to be set when they appear again next month.

A spokesman from the Crown Office said: "POCA notices were served on both of them on Friday.

"There will be a POCA Hearing on 9 September 2019 at the High Court in Edinburgh.

"People have had POCA proceedings taken in all sorts of cases involving an element of financial benefit.

"This includes drug dealing and even animal welfare cases."