Suzanne Pilley killer David Gilroy denied appeal

THE killer of Edinburgh book-keeper Suzanne Pilley has been denied an appeal to the Supreme Court, but her family fear their torment is no nearer an end.

Scottish judges refused permission to David Gilroy to mount a challenge against his conviction in London, and although the ruling is a blow to him, he can still try to make a direct application to be heard.

Roberts and Sylvia Pilley, Suzanne Pilley’s parents, expect Gilroy to pursue any avenue open to him.

“It’s a day out for him. It puts us through hell,” said Mr Pilley as he left the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

“Justice has been done,” his wife added, welcoming the ruling that leave to appeal to the Supreme Court had been refused.

The couple rejected any notion that the decision would help bring them closure.

“We will never move on. We are just in the same place,” said Mrs Pilley.

“You are like Jekyll and Hyde - you put on a brave face for your friends,” said Mr Pilley.

Their daughter’s body has never been found, and they refused to even consider appealing to Gilroy to reveal its whereabouts.

“I would not give him the satisfaction. We will never appeal to him,” said Mr Pilley.

Mrs Pilley stated: “He will never admit it.”

The couple said they could never thank enough the officers of Lothian and Borders Police and the Crown Office team led by prosecutor Alex Prentice, QC, who had secured Gilroy’s conviction.

Gilroy’s family, including his wife, Andrea, attended the hearing and later issued a statement. They said: “We were devastated about the outcome of the original trial and the appeal. We continue to believe that David is not guilty of the crimes he was charged with.

“We regret the judges’ decision not to support his application for leave to appeal to the United Kingdom Supreme Court. We appreciate the work that David’s defence team are doing to appeal the conviction and bring about the chance to put right what we believe is a major miscarriage of justice.”

Gilroy, looking thinner than at his trial a year ago, showed no emotion as he was led back to the cells.

Ms Pilley, 38, had ended a relationship with Gilroy, 50, shortly before she disappeared on 4 May, 2010, as she arrived at the office in Edinburgh city centre where they both worked.

At last year’s trial, Gilroy was found guilty of murdering Ms Pilley by unknown means, and was ordered to serve at least 18 years of a life sentence before he could apply for parole.

Her body has never been found, but it is suspected Gilroy buried it somewhere in Argyll.

An appeal was heard and rejected by judges in Edinburgh last December.

One of the submissions was that the trial judge, Lord Bracadale, had been wrong to allow evidence which had been obtained from Gilroy without his being cautioned by the police.

Gilroy had made three statements to the police before his status was formally changed from a witness to a suspect. As merely a witness, he had not been warned that he need not say anything.

He made no incriminating replies to questioning, but the prosecution at his trial led evidence to contradict things he had said, such as the nature of his relationship with Ms Pilley and whether a journey for his work to Lochgilphead, Argyll, the day after she vanished had been prearranged or unexpected.

Gilroy’s lawyer, John Scott, QC, argued that, in a circumstantial case, any adverse impression of Gilroy could have made it easier for the jury to accept the Crown’s contentions.

The appeal judges held that the statements had been admissible, and even if they had been excluded, there remained a compelling and irresistible case against Gilroy.

In the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr Scott re-raised the issue of the statements.

However, Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice-Clerk, and Lords Brodie and Marnoch, said they considered that granting leave to appeal would “simply involve an academic exercise.”