Suzanna Pilley trial: Suzanne ‘in hotel row with murder accused’

A BUSINESSMAN has told a court that he witnessed the man accused of murdering Suzanne Pilley arguing with the book-keeper in a hotel room.

Steven Kavanagh, 41, told the High Court in Edinburgh that he saw David Gilroy having a row with Ms Pilley in her room at Crieff Hydro, where they were all attending a corporate function in October 2009.

The company director told prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice, QC, that the alleged confrontation took place as he was using the bathroom in Ms Pilley’s room. He said that Gilroy demanded to know what he was doing in Ms Pilley’s room.

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“The gist of it was that he thought I was intending to sleep with Suzanne,” Mr Kavanagh said. “He was upset, angry.”

Gilroy, 49, denies murdering Ms Pilley at Thistle Street, Edinburgh, or at another location in Scotland on 4 May, 2010.

He also denies four charges which allege that he committed a series of criminal acts across Scotland between August 2009 to June 2010. In one charge, Gilroy, of Silverknowes, Edinburgh, is alleged to have committed a breach of the peace by shouting at Mr Kavanagh at the Perthshire hotel on 9 October, 2009.

Yesterday, Mr Kavanagh said he had a number of conversations with Ms Pilley, 38, during the evening while they took cigarette breaks at a corporate function. He said Ms Pilley had told him she had been in a relationship with Gilroy, but it had ended some time before.

They made their way to their rooms, when Ms Pilley discovered her door lock was broken. Mr Kavanagh waited with her until hotel staff unlocked the door, then asked if he could use the bathroom because he was “desperate”. From inside the bathroom, he heard “raised voices” coming from the main room. When he walked out, Mr Kavanagh said he saw Gilroy, who was “clearly unhappy.” Mr Kavanagh said: “He said something like ‘what are you doing in my girlfriend’s room?’ He wasn’t happy. He was shouting.”

The court also heard that 24 hours after Ms Pilley went missing, Gilroy visited a school in Lochgilphead, Argyll. His employer, IML, was involved in the construction of the building.

Meanwhile, police in Edinburgh were investigating the book-keeper’s disappearance. Pc Alexander Grant said he was part of the Lothian and Borders team searching for Ms Pilley. He told the court he went to her office in Thistle Street and spoke to her colleagues, who told him about her relationship with Gilroy. Mr Grant called Gilroy, who said he was in Lochgilphead.

Gilroy told the constable that he had last seen Ms Pilley on Monday, 3 May, when he agreed to end his relationship with her.

Mr Grant said he arranged to interview Gilroy on his return to Edinburgh, adding that he was a “significant witness” because at that point he was the last person to have seen Ms Pilley alive. During their interview, Mr Grant said Gilroy was calm. “He seemed fine,” he told the court.

The trial continues.