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Suzanne Pilley's killer in bid to launch fresh appeal

David Gilroy, 56, is serving a life sentence for killing his former lover Suzanne Pilley.

Murderer: David Gilroy was convicted of killing Suzanne Pilley.
Murderer: David Gilroy was convicted of killing Suzanne Pilley.

A murderer whose victim's body was never found wants to launch a fresh appeal against his conviction.

David Gilroy, 56, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum jail term of 18 years in 2012 over the murder of his former lover Suzanne Pilley.

Ms Pilley, 38, disappeared on her way to work in Edinburgh in May 2010 and detectives believe Gilroy hid her body somewhere in Argyll and Bute.

Gilroy previously failed to overturn his conviction and has now given a phone interview to crime podcast Body of Proof, in which he protested his innocence.

He said he would "fight until my dying breath" to clear his name.

His lawyer was said to be preparing another application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission later this year.

Journey of 'no importance'

Gilroy's killed bookkeeper Ms Pilley in the basement of her office before hiding her body in a recess. He then moved her body to a secret grave, believed to be in a remote part of Argyll.

Prosecutors argued during his trial that the lack of calls and texts from Gilroy after Ms Pilley went missing suggested he knew she was already dead.

Gilroy also went on a journey of "no importance" the day after she had disappeared instead of "assisting the police inquiry".

He declined to give evidence in his own defence and was convicted of murder by a jury.

First appeal

Gilroy first applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission in November 2014 to appeal his conviction.

Following a 20-month investigation, the commission issued a 168-page statement explaining why they did not believe there had been a miscarriage of justice.

In February 2017, Gilroy's solicitors lodged further submissions, but three months later the previous conclusion was reiterated.

Michael Walker, head of casework at the commission, said: "In terms of the relevant legislation, the commission is not entitled to issue publicly its statements of reasons.

"We are unaware whether Mr Gilroy made the statements of reasons in his case available to the makers of the podcast."

Campaign for Suzanne's Law

Following Gilroy's conviction, Ms Pilley's family has campaigned for a change in the law to stop killers from ever being freed without revealing where they hid their victims.

The parents of Ms Pilley and Arlene Fraser have united in a bid to bring in Suzanne's Law, which would mean more severe punishments for criminals who deny families the right to bury loved ones.

Murderer: Nat Fraser was convicted of killing his wife Arlene.
Murderer: Nat Fraser was convicted of killing his wife Arlene. STV

Mrs Fraser, from Elgin in Moray, went missing 21 years ago after seeing her two children off to school.

No trace of her has ever been found, however her husband Nat Fraser was convicted of her murder.

Fraser also refuses to disclose the location of her body.

The families have secured the backing of MSP Gordon MacDonald, who has had "constructive talks" with the Scottish Government.

A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Pentlands MSP said: "Constructive talks with the Scottish Government are ongoing and we - Gordon and the Pilley family - are looking into the possibility of introducing the failure to disclose the location of a body as a statutory aggravation.

"This would be in addition to a murder conviction.

"This move could be through the 'defeating the ends of justice' criminal offence. Much like the way statutory aggravations already work to protect victims who have been targeted on the basis of hatred of their race.

"In a case where an assault has been motivated by racial hatred, the offender will be liable to a higher sentence to reflect the aggravating circumstances of the offence.

"Gordon and the Pilley family remain determined to pursue this and any other possible options until we find the best way forward for victims' families."

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